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New Classes, New Race Set for St. Thomas International Regatta

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Gunboats and VX One boats are set to sail in first-ever classes at the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 25 to 27, 2016 and hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club. What’s more, organizers will also welcome entries into the ORC (Offshore Racing Club) handicap class, plus invite all sailors to tune-up in an all-new round the island race scheduled for March 24. This exceptional program of serious world class yacht racing continues to earn the STIR the status of ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’.

“We are excited to offer these new classes. It is a perfect fit with our philosophy of giving sailors what they want within the changing trends in global yacht racing. Closer to home, we’ll continue with last year’s introduction of a Non-Rated Cruising Class for boats from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The new one-day pre-STIR race gives visitors and locals alike a chance to tune-up as well as another way to win big,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.

Robert Alexander of Rye, New York is one of the first to enter his Gunboat 60, Fault Tolerant, in 2016 STIR. Alexander has campaigned his sleek-sailing catamaran in several high profile events this summer, including Block Island Race Week where he finished second in the multihull class.

“Fault Tolerant is spending the winter in the Virgin Islands and competing in STIR 2016 is definitely on our calendar,” says Alexander. “We love the event’s mix of great racing and fun parties. And, of course, it’s perfect that our Gunboat friends are planning to join the racing!”

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New, STIR Welcomes up to 18 boats in the one-design VX One Class. Credit: Tim Pitts
New, STIR Welcomes up to 18 boats in the one-design VX One Class. Credit: Tim Pitts

Eleven VX Ones are currently registered to sail in the first VX One Caribbean Cup, of which STIR 2016 is the first leg, including Australia’s Michael James.

“Being able to fly in from Australia and be part of the VX One’s debut in the regatta and meet up with other owners was just too good to miss out on. This regatta will be the biggest fleet of VX’s that I have sailed against and if the competition is as good as it is here in Australia it will take 100 percent concentration to be successful. Plus the parties look like they are going to be great fun,” says James, who placed second in the 2015 Australia Sports Boat Association Mid-Winters aboard his VX One, the Beast.

Tim Pitts, vice president of the VX One Class Association and a native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, anticipates a total of 18 of these swift three-man keel boats on the start line in March.

“The VX One Caribbean Cup, which spans two of the Caribbean’s foremost regattas – the STIR and BVI Spring Regatta, is a huge step for the VX One Class. This series represents the class’ first-ever international event and it has drawn entries from the US, Australia and UK. These boats are perfectly suited to Caribbean racing. We look forward to hot racing and stiff competition as the group of entered VX One racers dance amid an international line-up,” says Nicklaus Fordham, series organizer.

Register Now! No other regatta in the Caribbean offers so many classes and rating rules under which to compete. Teams are invited to enter in Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA); IRC; High Performance Rule (HPR); Multihull; CSA Bareboat; Non-Rater Cruising Class (PHRF-handicap); Beach Cats; and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet.

The 2016 STIR promises challenging courses, professional race management and island-style hospitality.

Discount for Early Registration! Entries received and paid for in full by 5 p.m. AST January 31, 2016 pay only US $250. The registration fee between February 1 and March 22, 2016 increases to US $400 for all boats, except US $250 for beach cats and US $300 for IC24s and Non-Rated Cruising Class boats.

Register online at www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=1502. The NOR is available at www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com. For more information and questions, call Regatta Director Chuck Pessler at (340) 642-3204 or Email stycisv@gmail.com. Check STIR out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/stirvi), Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIR2016

STIR 2016 in sponsored by Cruzan Rum and Presidente, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors; and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

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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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