2009 Caribbean Regattas – Part One

The New Year signals the start of the Caribbean regatta season. From north to south, there are a variety of events both large and small for everything from racers and cruisers, dinghy to big boat sailors. Here’s a preview of 2009’s earliest races and how you can join in on the fun:

January 22-25: 4th Annual St. Maarten-St. Martin Classic Yacht Regatta. Classic yacht owners, captains and crews, along with crowds of spectators, gather to see schooners, spirit of tradition yachts, vintage and classics, workboats and gaff cutters compete. Events this year have moved from Simpson Bay to Bobby’s Marina in Great Bay. Tel: +5995 23 76 71; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.ClassicRegatta.com

January 30-February 3: 16th Annual Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival.
This long-time favorite Southern Caribbean regatta, which offers racing for both production yachts and native workboats, will have two new dimensions this year. First, there will be a new center base for our visiting yachts with world-class marina facilities and dock space due to Camper & Nicholson’s coming on board as new owners of the host Port Louis Marina. Secondly, the regatta offers separate IRC and CSA racing classes. Tel: 473-440 4809/4811; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.grenadasailingfestival.com

February 12-15: Club Nautico de San Juan 8th International Regatta. Competition is stiff at this junior sailing event for Optimist dinghies and Lasers. In past years, Hobie cats and Snipe fleets have joined in the racing, held in San Juan Bay across from the cruise ship port. Tel: 797-722-0177; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.nauticodesanjuan.com

February 14-16: 31st Annual Sweethearts of the Caribbean & 27th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta. Over 50 traditional sloops and classic yachts compete on courses set between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the BVI and St. John in the USVI. There are also divisions for single-handers and Classic Wannabees. Tel: 284-495-1002; Email: [email protected]

February 14-24: 4th Route du Carnival. Cruise with the Transcaraibes Club from Martinique to Trinidad for Carnival, island-hopping through Bequia and the Tobago Cays along the way. Tel: +59006 90 49 45 90; Email: [email protected]

February 20-22: 16th Annual St. Croix International Regatta. New dates for this Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (C.O.R.T.) kick-off are two weeks later than last year. New this year, there will be a second skipper’s weigh-in for prized Cruzan rum for classes other than Racing 1 and 2. The Valentine Optimist Dinghy Regatta is an event within this event for kids. Tel: 340-773-9531; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.stcroixyc.com
February 20-22: Sir John Compton Memorial Trophy and Diamond Dash Race to Martinique & Back. St. Lucia celebrates its Independence Day with a race that remembers a late Prime Minister. The course leapfrogs to Martinique and back to St. Lucia with a party at the conclusion. Tel: 758-452-8350; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.stluciayachtclub.com

March 5-8: St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. A new Budget Marine match race event, sponsorship of the Commodore’s Race by IGY, and a ‘green’ team-up with the non-profit ‘Sailors for the Sea’ are new happenings for this popular regatta known for its ‘Serious Fun’ and top competition. Tel: (+599) 544-2079; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.heinekenregatta.com

March 13-15: Grenada Round-The-Island Race. The island circumnavigation race on Saturday prefaces a Youth Sailing Exhibition and Family Fun Day (think Bath Tub Derby) on Sunday, with the post-race party and prize giving afterwards. Tel: 473-444-4662; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.aroundgrenada.com

March 20-22: Culebra Heineken International Regatta. Costa Bonita is onboard as the host resort, where registration, Customs & Immigration officials, and rooms will be available for those who want to stay ashore. One-design classes, inter-island courses and a new round-the-island route that includes Culebra and Culebrita are on tap this year. The Culebra International Dinghy Regatta offers Optimist, Laser and Laser Radial racing for kids in Ensenada Honda while the big boats sail offshore. Tel: 787-413-7702;

March 27-29: 36th Annual International Rolex Regatta. Organizers expect to offer two or three dedicated IRC classes this year and a Caribbean-based IRC measurer will be available on-site. There will also be one-design and CSA classes. The finishing touch is the awards stage that magically appears over the water on the last day of racing and the presentation of coveted Rolex timepieces to winners. Tel: 340-775-6320; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.rolexcupregatta.com

Coming in our next issue:  Regattas from April onward

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