International Opti Regatta, Clinic & Team Race Kicks Off The Week

Optimists on the beach at the St. Thomas Yacht Club ready to launch for the International Optimist Regatta. Credit: Dean Barnes

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The International Optimist Regatta (IOR) – one of the largest and longest held junior sailing events in the Caribbean – celebrates its 23rd year. The IOR takes place June 19 to 21, prefaced by the Sea Star Clinic June 15 to 17 and Sea Star Team Race on June 18.

“We are pleased to host nearly 90 8- to 15-year-old sailors from Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Puerto Rico, St. Barths, St. Lucia and all three U.S. Virgin Islands,” says Ann Nicolosi, who is co-directing the regatta with St. Thomas Yacht Club’s committee chair of junior sailing, Margo Lynch. “This regatta is a wonderful opportunity for our sailors to host a week long clinic and regatta which continues to attract the top sailors from the USA and Caribbean. We are thrilled to share our beautiful island and great sailing conditions with all the competitors.”

The BVI’s Rayne Duff, who won the 2014 IOR, will be back. In addition, USA National Team members Zane Rogers, whose brother Wiley won the IOR in 2013, Luke Arnone, Stephan Baker, Isabella Casaretto, Julia Johansson and Ella Marsden who will represent the USA next month at the IODA (International Optimist Dinghy Association) North American Championships in English Harbour, Antigua, will also compete.

These sailors will be up against tough competition from Team ISV, whose members are St. Thomas’ Teddy Nicolosi and Mia Nicolosi, St. John’s Mateo DiBlasi and St. Croix’s Lake Sanford and Atlee Kohl. These five sailors will represent the USVI in August at the Optimist World Championships in Dziwnów, Poland. Teddy Nicolosi, who finished second overall in the 2014 IOR, has a good shot at being the first USVI sailor ever to win the IOR. In the last twelve months, Nicolosi has won the Optimist New England Championships, Optimist Midwinters, Orange Bowl Regatta and finished second overall at the Optimist South American Championships in April.

Other talented Caribbean sailors set to compete in the IOR include Antigua’s Rocco Falcone, the BVI’s Nathan Haycraft, Curacao’s Cas Van de Klok, Puerto Rico’s Jose Arturo Diaz, St. Barths’ Alice Pru and St. Lucia’s Danny Dillon.

The Sea Star Clinic, which starts Monday and is run by top international coaches, will drill sailors on starts, tactics, and strategy.

Sixteen teams are expected for the Sea Star Team Race. Entry fee is $160 per team of 4 sailors. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on June 18th.

Final registration for the IOR takes place June 18th. The entry fee is $250 and includes an event T-shirt, registration ‘goodie’ bag, and all meals from Thursday June 18th’s Welcome Party through Sunday’s Brunch.

Shore side activities include an opening Parade of Nations and Welcome Party, Caribbean Night celebration that includes fire dancers, and Beachside Brunch and Awards Ceremony on June 21st.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the top female sailor. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors on the winning team racing team.

This year’s event marks the fourth year that the IOR has taken part in Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program. This program, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, encourages regatta participants to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle provided in goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all lunch bags and wrapping out of the water and pick up any trash on shore and accept drinks without straws.

For more information, call (340) 775-6320; fax: (340) 775-3600, or Email:
[email protected] Or, for the Notice of Regatta, Registration Forms, information on hotel discounts and other information, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club web site at www.styc.net or www.regattanetwork.com

Please also visit the International Optimist Regatta on Facebook!

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