Six boats – three spinnaker racing and three non-spinnaker racing – competed in the 40th annual Lady Tristram Regatta, one of the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s (STYC’s) longest continually held races. Under sunny skies, light 12 to 14 knot winds and a five-plus-hour course that circumnavigated St. Thomas, less than a minute separate the two lead boats. Ultimately, Rivoli, a J/41 owned by John Gallo and brought to the island in the last few months, won the Lady Tristram Cup with the fastest elapsed time.
The race launched mid-morning with a pursuit start, meaning that each boat began at an individual start time calculated so that all boats would theoretically finish at the same time.
John Haracivet, skippering his Beneteau 38, Tempest, said: “It was beautiful sailing. We had a great 2 ½ hour downwind straight line spinnaker run along the south coast of the island.”
Tempest was safely ahead for much of the race. However, after rounding the west end of the island and sailing east nearly to Red Hook, the boat got caught in light air and a foul current near Thatch Cay.
Wally Bostwick, who crewed aboard Rivoli with other seasoned St. Thomas sailors such as Carlos Aguilar on the helm and Geoff Miles as tactician, explained: “This allowed Rivoli to catch up by about 10 minutes, which set up an exciting final beat and spinnaker run to the finish through current cut.”
Ultimately, Rivoli beat Tempest by only 45 seconds.
The name of the regatta comes from an early STYC member, Colonel John Brindley. Brindley regularly sailed his 46-foot Rhodes yawl, the Lady Tristram, in club races. Though he crossed the finish line first on several occasions, he never won a race once times had been corrected for handicap. Brindley felt so strongly that what really counted was who finished first, that he donated a perpetual trophy and named it after his boat. Since then, the Lady Tristram Trophy is awarded to the monohull that sails around the course in the fastest elapsed time.