Perfect conditions with 12 to 15 knot breezes and sunny
skies set the scene for keen competition at the Cruzan Open One Design Regatta,
sailed out of the St. Croix Yacht Club, May 28 and 29. Nearly 40 sailors
hailing from all three U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands
competed in seven classes and completed a total of 14 races each.
In the Optimist
class, the largest of the regatta with 16 boats registered, St. Croix’s Jae
Tonachel was the victor overall and also in the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet.
In the 11- to 12-year-old Blue Fleet, and hot on Tonachel’s heels for the
overall honor, was Billy Gibbons, also of St. Croix. Both Tonachel and Gibbons
are among five junior sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands that will compete in
the Optimist World Championships later this summer in Switzerland. St. Thomas’
Ian Barrows won the age 10 and under White Fleet.
expectations, USVI Olympian Tim Pitts dominated the Laser class. Pitts specifically
came home to St. Croix for the regatta and to coach some of the island’s local
sailors. His former mentor and training partner, Beecher Higby, placed second
in the Laser Class, while Tortola’s Bryshaun Scatcliffe ended third. Racing
along with the Lasers were the Laser Radials, which is the same type of boat
with a smaller sail for lighter sailors. The BVI’s Bob Phillips won this class,
with Crucians Sydney Jones second and Christopher Schreiber third.
The kids weren’t
the only ones having fun on the water. The weekend’s racing saw the parents
take over the two-man 420 Class. Four boats raced in this class, each of which
was crewed by at least one parent of a child competing in another class. These
teams raced as much for the fun of being on the water as for the competition.
Normally, these parents only get to watch their kids sail! In the end, the team
of St. Croix’s Felice Quigley and St. Thomas’ Sue Cilliers won, with the
Crucian team of Debbie Schreiber and Karen McCoy placing second, and St.
Croix’s Ivan Diaz with St. Thomas’ Karen Rice finishing third.
St. Croix’s Kurt
Walcott won the Sunfish Class, with fellow Crucian Shane Ryan-Bataller second
and Alan Mallory third, both pushing Walcott all the way.
Chris Schreiber says, “Although the competition was tight, the friendships and
camaraderie were evident throughout. Most of the racers ranged in age from 8 to
18, and the fun of interacting with friends from other islands was as important
as the racing.”
A Hawaiian Luau at
the Yacht Club on Saturday night gave everyone time to socialize and dance,
with music by St. Croix’s popular Thaddeus Toad.
Tyler Rice (STT)
Mayumi Roller (STJ)
Billy Gibbons (STX)
Morgan Bryan (STX)
Christopher Cilliers (STT)
Beecher Higby (STX)
Sydney Jones (STX)
Christopher Schreiber (STX)
Felice Quigley/Sue Cilliers
Debbie Schreiber/Karen McCoy
Shane Ryan-Bataller (STX)