Morgan Dale had to work hard for his rum at the 21st St. Croix International Regatta (SCIR), held November 15 to 17 out of the USVI’s St. Croix Yacht Club (SCYC). In fact, it came down to a tie-breaker before the St. Croix sailor at the helm of his Melges 24, Boogaloo, knew he had won his weight in rum.
“We ended up tied with Dark Star, a well sailed J-105 from Puerto Rico. Luckily the tie breaker went our way,” says Dale. “Racing the Melges 24 is always a blast. It’s a very physical and responsive pocket rocket. We enjoyed a good spread of conditions from very light to moderate over the three days.”
New this year, organizers offered two formats designed to give sailors the option of racing one day, two days or all three days. Friday featured the single-day Commodore’s Race, in which 22 boats competed. The traditional SCIR, with the rum prize, was raced on Saturday and Sunday with 26 entries. The format not only accomplished its flexibility objective, but also led to some excellent sparring between boats competing in both the Commodore’s Race and SCIR.
For example, Jonathan Lipuscek’s Dark Star won the Commodore’s Regatta before finishing second to Boogaloo in the SCIR. Similarly, St. Croix’s Stan Joines, driving his J/36, Paladin, won the Non-Spinnaker class in the Commodore’s Race and then was beaten to first by St. Croix’s Dave Tomlinson’s J/24, El Shaddai II, in the SCIR.
“Our deeper keel proved decisive for pointing and the blade the other boats carried up (wind) had no power downwind,” explains Joines, who is a high school music teacher and sails with his students and six-year-old son as crew. “We paid a handicap to have a second, larger sail for downwind. Our Commodore’s Race win is proof that Paladin had a nimble and eager crew!”
Five of the SCYC’s Rhodes 19s competed in a one-design class. St. Croix’s husband-and-wife team of Chris and Debbie Schreiber won both the Commodores and SCIR aboard Chrys.
“Toro Goodrich aboard Rhode Runner started strong leading all the way around the first race, only for us to nip him out at the end. After that, we won the next three races in convincing fashion,” explains Chris Schreiber of their Commodore’s Race win. “In the SCIR, we led in the lighter eight to 10 knot breeze the first day. The next day, there was heavier air and a short, steep chop that made it difficult. We won two races that day to win the class.”
The Richard Newick Perpetual Multihull Award was another new addition this year. The win going to St. Croix’s Joe San Martin aboard the 23ft Newick trimaran, Piglet.
“Piglet was the only Newick boat in the regatta. Dick (Richard) was a good friend of mine and I really wanted this trophy badly,” explains San Martin. “The whole class was fast, but the short courses favored a boat like mine.”
Sailor’s response to the SCIR’s new format change proved positive.
“We really liked the format. Friday’s regatta served as a warm up for the weekend series,” explains Rafi Martinez, who crews aboard Dark Star. “Since we took the time to sail over from Puerto Rico, we really enjoyed having three days of racing. Although there were separate events, it feels that you are racing a three day event.”
St. Croix’s Schreiber agrees. “The two day format is a good option for those who can’t commit to the full three days. Both BVI boats came over on Friday; had they done a three day regatta they may not have come at all. I think it’s a great idea and accommodates those who can’t take the extra time. Plus, it allows for more winners, which is always a good thing!”
Charlie Fischer, regatta director and commodore of the SCYC, says, “We’re growing with more entries this year than last. Therefore, we’ll continue this format next year as well as keep our dates the same or in the middle of November.”
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