The end of hurricane season heralded perfect racing weather for the 20th St. Croix International Regatta, held November 9th to 11th and hosted by the St. Croix Yacht Club. Twenty-four boats from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico competed in four classes, with two of these having seven or more entrants, meaning their skippers were vying for their weight in the Caribbean’s quintessential favorite – rum!
One skipper earning a seat on the scales was St. Croix’s Jack Bishop. Bishop drove his J/100, Bad Girl, to a first in the highly-competitive Spinnaker Class with a four and five point lead over St. Thomas’ Paul Davis’s J/27, Magnificent 7 and St. Croix’s Morgan Dale’s Melges 24, Boogaloo, respectively.
“We were behind by two points the first day, ahead by five points on day two and started day three with a fifth place by being over early. We ended the regatta with a first and second to win,” Bishop explains. “Magnificent 7 and Boogaloo both gave us a good fight, but when Boogaloo’s lifeline broke and the whole crew went for a swim, our lead increased. Also, our junior sailor crew performed well and having Peter Holmberg coaching and calling tactics rocked.”
The seven-boat one-design Rhodes 19 class was equally competitive. St. Croix’s Peter Stanton aboard his 19ini took the lead from the start and became the second skipper of the regatta to win his weight in rum. Yet, there was some close and exciting racing in this class.
Stanton describes, “On the second day’s first race it came down to the last boat length of the race. Chris Schreiber (Chrys) beat us across the line, but he hit the committee boat and had to do a penalty turn and then finish. We won the following races that day until the last, when Cece Castruccio (Rhode Hard Barb) beat us by sound tactics. The third day, we had the regatta pretty much locked up, though the first race we were over early and ended up fourth. All in all most races were relatively closer than the point spread shows.”
St. Croix’s Jim Kloss, sailing his S2 7.9, Ambivalence, handily won the six-boat Cruising Class with a five-point lead over Dedrick Luiken’s Creekmore 30, Aryeto. The win, however, wasn’t without some drama. The clew ring on the genoa broke just as Kloss and his team was setting it before the first day’s start. They jury rigged but it proceeded to tear, so the crew changed to a 1999 vintage North 110% jib that they used for the rest of the regatta.
“The challenge the last day was steering into Christiansted Harbor with the spinnaker up and a following sea. The last few minutes going past Fort Louise Augusta were a little scary,” says Kloss. “We don’t get many opportunities to fly a spinnaker. Having my son Alec down from Minneapolis to trim the chute and call tactics was a big help.”
Finally, St. Croix’s Llewellyn Westerman came out of a seven-year race retirement to win the three-boat Multihull class aboard his 37’ Mongoose trimaran, Charis.
“We won all of our races until the last when we doused the spinnaker and it got caught around the mast. That’s when Moose (George Silver; Bold Venture II) beat us,” Westerman explains. “Even though I haven’t raced for a while, I sail to Buck Island every day on charters and know the wind and waters well.”
Finally, the regatta’s move back to its roots in the fall proved successful. As 19ini’s skipper Stanton says, “It was a good warm up and shake down for the upcoming sailing season.”
For full results, visit: www.stcroixyc.com/regatta
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.