On Friday December 8, those looking out across the Sir Francis Drake channel will see a sight normally most common around April. No, we are not talking about migrating Humpback whales we are talking about IC24s being towed or sailed up the channel from both Puerto Rico and the USVI. Melges sailors will argue that there isn’t much difference between an IC24 and a Humpback whale, but—like them or loath them—the IC24 is the hottest one-design keel boat class in the entire Caribbean; and the Quantum IC24 ‘Worlds’ is the defining regatta of the year.
This will be the third year that Quantum has sponsored this event and Kevin Wrigley, the Tortola Quantum loft manager explains “we have been 100% behind the IC24s since production started in the BVI. We have helped develop sail shapes by working with the best sailors in the region and have come up with a set of templates to allow any sailmaker to make IC24 sails. This year we will be flying spinnakers for the first time—it’s going to be a great regatta.”
There you go, you heard it here first, the IC24 Worlds, December 9 & 10, 2006 will be using Spinnakers. Poor Chris Rosenberg isn’t best impressed with that, he always envisioned the IC24 to be an entry level race boat without spinnakers. The trouble is spinnakers are a lot of fun, they keep the crew busy, they keep the photographers happy, and they get ripped all the time so that keeps Quantum happy. The Tortola fleet has been using spinnakers for a while now for their regular Friday night racing and the consensus is “let’s fly kites!” Just for one event at the moment.
Last year Chris Curreri from the USVI won the regatta with Robbie Hirst second. Chris Rosenberg won 2 years ago and he would have beaten Chris Curreri and Robbie last year if it hadn’t been for a bit of course confusion. Race officer Chris Haycraft set both windward and leeward gates allowing him to choose between a regular windward mark with offset followed by a leeward gate, the green course… and the more interesting ‘choose your windward mark’ pink course where the entire fleet spurts out between the two windward marks before heading downwind.
By moving the regatta from July/August to December the RBIYC is hoping for a bumper turnout. The racing will most likely take place off Nanny Cay with a lunch break ashore. The RBVIYC now has a satellite bar ‘The Protest Room’ on the beach at Nanny Cay. The Yacht Club staff will be cooking up a storm to keep the trophy hunting racers well fed.
There could be some IC24s available for charter but this is primarily an owner’s event; one major reason the IC24 class is so buoyant is that the owners love to race.
Who would you put your money on? Well, USVI sailors have dominated this event but are they ready for spinnakers? With the racing set off Nanny Cay will there be a local advantage for the Tortolan helms? If you are looking for a dark horse put no more than $10 on Chris Haycraft with his new for 2006 Latitude 19’. He will be sporting a brand new set of Quantums and is already working on a core crew. And another helm still waiting for his first ‘major’ is Andrew Waters and the Conch-Querer . Will the new silver spray job carve through the fleet like a silver bullet? Don’t forget Mark Plaxton, Fraito Lugo, Mike Masters, John Holmberg, Taylor Canfield, the Fresh Produce girls…there are so many potential winners out there. If all IC24s built to date attend this regatta there would be 34 on the start line—quite mind boggling, really.
Remember, December 8, 9, & 10, 2006, the Quantum Design Group IC24 International Regatta hosted by the Royal BVI Yacht Club. Big courses, big prizes and big fun with kites.
Information provided courtesy of RBVIYC Quantum IC24 International Regatta.