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16th Annual Scotiabank Caribbean Intl Optimist Regatta set for June 19 – 22

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Boasting a starting line with nearly 100 boats, the Scotiabank Caribbean International Optimist Regatta has grown to be the biggest little regatta in the Caribbean. “I’m excited about this year’s regatta and looking forward to a great turnout,” says regatta director, Cindy Hackstaff. “We’re expecting junior sailors from all three U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Argentina, Germany, Spain and the U.S. mainland.”

A pre-regatta clinic has drawn increasing participation over the years. Scheduled for June 16 to 18, coaches for the clinic will be Optisailor’s Agustin ‘Argy’ Resano, Gonzalo ‘Bocha’ Pollitzer and Manuel ‘Manny’ Resano, as well as Leandro Spina from the No Excuses Sailing Team in Florida.

“The idea of the clinic is too offer high level coaching to a wide range of skill levels, from medium to high level sailors, with a coach to sailor ratio of 8:1,” says Argy Resano.  “The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and we will do two sessions, morning and afternoon. Each session will have meetings before going out and a video briefing after sailing. This way we can set two different goals each day, morning and afternoon.”

The cost of the clinic is $225 for all registrants; $200 for Green Fleet and Virgin Islands’ residents, and includes breakfast and lunch for the three days. Clinic registration closed May 20th.  Final registration takes place June 19. However, those that registered prior to May 20th will have their names entered in a special drawing to win top-notch sailing gear.

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The Sea Star Team Racing Regatta is also scheduled for June 19.

“This isn’t an official team racing event as we’ll have the clinic coaches conducting the umpiring,” says Hackstaff. “But, it should be popular. Last year we had eight teams register and we expect more this year.”

Entry fee for the Team Racing is $125 per team of 4 to 5 sailors. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on June 18.

The three-day regatta will kick-off Friday June 20 and the caliber of racing should be hot. Expected to compete are last year’s Scotiabank champion, Puerto Rico’s Fernando Monllor; the 2006 Optimist North American champion, Puerto Rico’s Ivan Aponte; the 2007 Optimist North American Champion, Puerto Rico’s Raul Rios; and the 2008 Optimist South American Champion, the USVI’s Ian Barrows.

“We’ll keep the Green Fleet closer to shore in Cowpet Bay where they’ll sail windward-leeward courses and we’ll take the Advanced Red, Blue and White Fleets further offshore to sail trapezoidal-shaped courses,” says Hackstaff. “This gives each fleet an area where they feel comfortable and can be competitive.”

Shore side activities include an opening Parade of Nations, Welcome Pizza Party, DJ Night and Caribbean Night festivities that include a firewalker and limbo dancing. The fun culminates with a beachside BBQ brunch and Awards Ceremony on June 22.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five in each fleet and top three overall. Additional prizes include the Commodore’s Trophy and Sportsmanship Award. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors on the winning team racing team.

The regatta entry fee includes an event T-shirt, registration ‘goodie’ bag, all meals from Thursday June 19’s Welcoming Party through Sunday Brunch. The fee is $175 through June 10th and $200 after June 10th.

For more information, contact Cindy Hackstaff at: cindy@styc.net or Bill Canfield at: wkcanfield@gmail.com; Tel: 340-775-6320; Fax: 340-775-3600. Or, for the Notice of Regatta, Registration Forms and other information, visit the regatta web site at www.styc.net

For charter boats, contact Alisa Forester, McLaughlin Boat Works,
1-800-784-6478, 1-423-875-0740, Email: alias@optistuff.com or http://www.optistuff.com

Participating hotels and charter companies for housing include: Anchorage Beach Resort* (1-800-874-7897; www.antillesresorts.com/2anchorage.htm), Bolongo Bay Beach Club (340-775-1800; www.bolongobay.com), Elysian Beach Resort* (340-775-1000), Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort (340-777-7100;), and VIP Rentals (www.viprentals.com).

*Ask for special Optimist Regatta rates.

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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