Rum adds to the fun of every island regatta. This quintessential Caribbean libation figured in an especially big way at the 24th St. Croix International Regatta. In fact, it was Scott Stanton’s podium finish in the event’s most competitive class, the Rhodes 19s, that landed the St. Croix sailor on the scales to earn his weight – five cases – in Cruzan Rum. Stanton’s 19ini was one of 19 boats from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that competed in the St. Croix Yacht Club-hosted event, held in November.
Stanton kicked-off his winning streak by besting the nine-boat Rhodes class in the one-day Captain Nick race, named for St. Croix International Regatta founder Nick Castruccio. After four windward-leeward races, Stanton settled the tiebreaker with Morgan Dale’s Rhode Runner by finishing first in the last race. Stanton kept an eye on Dale, as well as fellow islander, Manuel Gutierrez, driving Chrys, during the next two days of racing, going into the final day one point behind leader Gutierrez and two points ahead of Dale.
“The last day started out windier than the previous two days. We knew we had to sail well to beat Manuel. We ended up getting firsts in all three races,” says Stanton, who credits good teamwork between himself and crew Joseph Noel and Chelcie Goldman as well as pre-regatta help with boat preparation from twin brother, Peter. “My brothers and I started sailing this event when we were around 10 or 11 years old or over twenty years ago. Each of my brothers has won the Rhodes 19 class. This was my first time winning while skippering.”
Stanton’s older brother Chris won the CSA Non-Spinnaker class aboard his Alerion 28, Margaret, in both the Captain Nick race and main regatta.
“The racing started out in lighter winds than most were hoping for, especially us in a 6,000lb cruiser,” says Stanton, who was the rum winning sailor in last year’s Rhodes 19 class. “Racing this boat for the first time was a steep learning curve in the lighter air. As the winds increased throughout the weekend our narrow lead became more comfortable.”
The CSA spinnaker racing class saw keen competition with the BVI’s Chris Haycraft, driving his Sirena 38, Pipedream, to victory.
“We had a fun weekend racing against Bad Monkey (Mike Royer’s Beneteau 10R), and trading firsts with Peter Stanton and his high school crew on the J/24, Crucian Confusion. If the J/24 didn’t have gear failure they would have easily won,” says Haycraft, whose has raced in this event all 24 years. “There was a Melges 32 (Tom Elsen’s Big Trouble), which kept everyone’s pace up and was a good reference tool at the windward mark before they took off at warp speed. One of the highlights of the weekend was realizing our boat was the boat on the regatta shirts! That was a nice touch.”
While the keelboats competed in the Buck Island Channel, twenty-three junior sailors raced Optimists in a simultaneously-held dinghy regatta staged in the protected waters of Teague Bay. It was the BVI’s Nathan Haycraft who topped the scoreboard in the Advanced Optimist Class, a sure sign the 12-year-old is following in his family’s award-winning wake. For his win, Haycraft earned his weight in the sports drink, Gatorade.
“St Croix strives to turn out really good racing by using the absolute best race officers,” say Julie San Martin, who co-directed this year’s event with Karen Stanton. “On shore, the St Croix Yacht Club is unique in the Caribbean; we have a six-acre site with over 1000 feet of sandy beach. Entertainment was on the Heineken Barge tied up to the T dock, so members and guests could enjoy the fire dancers and the music on the beach. We’re already looking forward to and planning for 2017, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the St. Croix International Regatta.”
For full results, visit: www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=2841 and www.regattanetwork.com/event/13356