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IC24 Column – Opportunities to Sail

“Try it. You’ll like it.” This phrase has certainly applied to the IC24. Seasoned and senior sailors like the boat’s highly competitive yet easy-to-sail quality and newcomers to the sport enjoy the learner-friendly feature. If you own an IC, would like to crew or even try the boat out for the first time, here are some opportunities coming up over the next few months in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

U.S. Virgin Islands

Home of the IC24, and where many sailors from surrounding islands got their first experience on this boat, the St. Thomas Yacht Club is again hosting Friday Night racing. “Racing will be from 5 pm to 7 pm through July,” says club manager, Bill Canfield. Newcomers are welcome.

Some of the best sailors in the world will get to test out an IC24 when St. Thomas hosts the Tag-Heuer Nations Cup Regional Final, June 8 to 11. This event features match racing in the Charlotte Amalie harbor. At the end of the event, only one open and one woman’s team will be selected to sail in the grand final in Ireland. Top women’s teams competing will include Sally Barkow (USA) and Paula Lewin ( Bermuda) ranked #3 and #26 in the world, respectively. The open division pre-race favorite is Brian Angel (USA), ranked #64, but teams from both the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are expected to be very strong due to extensive experience in the IC24. St. Lucia’s Mike Green will be another force to watch due to his extensive match race experience

Prior to the regatta, on June 6 and 7, there will be a match-racing seminar for all teams. Many of the Caribbean island teams are planning to advance their match racing skills with input from some of the world’s best racers, judges and umpires.

For more information, Email: manager@styc.net

British Virgin Islands

BVI sailors have become among the best IC24 sailors in the region due to their dedication to regular weekly racing. “At least six boats, if not more, come out to race every Friday evening. We sail out of Nanny Cay. There’s even a yacht club bar now at Peg Leg’s where we go after racing to talk about how we did and give each other pointers.”

Folks in the financial services sector can come out and compete in the 2 nd Annual Financial Services Challenge for the International Finance Center Cup, which will take place June 24 and 25. The event is open to teams of up to 5 people (collectively weighing between 700 and 850 pounds) from any financial services company registered in the BVI. Each team must be made up of company staff members or their spouses, but may include staff from the company’s non-BVI offices as well.

Registration, skippers’ briefing and weigh-in will be held at the Royal BVI Yacht Club on Friday June 23 at 5:30 p.m. The entry fee/boat rental for the regatta is $850.00 per team and includes five event t-shirts and a half-day IC rental from Racing in Paradise on Friday, June 23, for practice. The regatta will be set up with a qualifying round of three races to be held on the morning of June 24. This round will determine a Gold Fleet and Silver Fleet. These fleets will then race in a round robin format. Boats will be rotated throughout the racing.

For more information, Email: iym@surfbvi.com

Junior sailors from throughout the Caribbean will get to sail IC24s for the 9 th Annual Chief Minister’s Cup, set for July 7 to 10. Teams, consisting of six junior sailors ranging from age 10 to 18, along with a coach and chaperone, from over a dozen Caribbean islands from the Caymans to Trinidad are expected to compete.

Organizer Tom Gerker says, “We encourage all teams to come and participate despite skill level. If the kids can get around the buoys, they are qualified to attend. The skill level of the less experienced kids increases exponentially throughout the two days of racing anyway.”

This event is hosted by the Rotary Clubs of the BVI, whose members welcome the kids, transport them, feed them, house them, supply them with boats and fix the boats when they break. Many Rotary Clubs in participating team’s home islands sponsor the junior sailors airfare to Tortola.

For more information and to register, Email: tom@partsandpower.com.

Puerto Rico

The first two of Puerto Rico’s new IC24s, Orion and Catimba, raced the Heineken Culebra International Regatta in March, yet the fleet is still too small for regular weekly racing or class events in Puerto Rico, says Efrain “Fraito” Lugo. “I left my IC in Tortola after the BVI Spring Regatta and my crew and I fly up regularly to race. However, we’re working on the third and fourth IC for conversion here now in Ponce and should be launching them by early summer.” Gary Fink and Fernando Irizarry own these latest IC24 converts.

Lugo says he expects to have six IC24s converted and launched by this fall, in time for a one-design class at the Discover the Caribbean Series. This series takes place over three weekends in November. Over 60 boats take part in this regatta. For information, contact the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club at Email: nautico@coquinet.com

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