The Carlos Aguilar Memorial Match Race Championship has been set for December 5 to 7, 2008 by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, U.S. Virgin Islands. Bill Canfield is co-organizer of the event along with Aguilar’s widow, a keen woman match racer, Verian Aguilar. In announcing the new event in January, the organizers said it will offer a high-caliber format, including international umpires, highly competitive IC24s, and clinics leading up to it led by America’s Cup sailor and native Virgin Islander, Peter Holmberg.
“Carlos was a great sailor and had a deep love of match racing,” said Holmberg. “I know he’d be happy to see this event happen. Match racing is dear to me too, and I would love to see it grow in the Caribbean. This match racing event is a great start for a great cause and I’ll be making every effort on my part for it to be successful.”
“Carlos was fascinated by match racing, both as a spectator and as a competitor,” said Canfield. He was heavily involved in helping our women’s team and junior sailors to hone their match racing skills in the absence of Henry Menin and Peter Holmberg, when these two men were away participating in the last America’s Cup campaign.”
Match Racing teams from both within and outside of the Caribbean are invited to submit their resumes. Slots are available for up to eight teams in the Open Division and up to six teams in the Woman’s Division.
IC24s, equipped with competitive sails, will be available. The IC24, which stands for Inter-Club 24, is a converted J24 equipped with a Melges 24-style deck mold that is wider than the original design, has no traveler, and is capable of carrying five sailors. There is an inside track for a genoa, but no spinnaker or bow pulpit and the transom is closed. Stanchions are lower and covered for comfort. The design was innovated by two St. Thomas Yacht Club sailors in the early 2000s.
“We’ve applied to make the Carlos Aguilar Memorial Match Race Championship a Category 3 event,” says Canfield, “with on-the- water umpiring.”
The event’s NOR (Notice of Race) will be available on the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s website (www.styc.net) as of March 1.
The St. Thomas Yacht Club is not new to hosting world-class match racing events. The Club organized the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race – the first Grade One international match race to be held within the Caribbean – in 1997 and again in 1998. More recently, in 2006, the Club hosted the TAG-Heuer Nation’s Cup Regional Final. In 2009, the Club will host the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championships.
According to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the sport of match race sailing has grown spectacularly during the last decade. Ten years ago, only a handful of match race regattas were held around the world, and a ranking system had yet to be established. By 1989, a ranking system was implemented and has been administered ever since. Points are awarded to skippers for first through tenth place finishes in match racing events. The events are ranked as well, giving added weight to major regattas.
For more information about the Carlos Aguilar Memorial Match Race Championship, contact Bill Canfield at [email protected] or 340-775-6320.
Announcement submitted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club