Performance Cruisers, Racer-Cruisers, Jib & Main and Multihull sailors can test their sailing skills on a new course when competing in the 15th Annual St. Croix International Regatta, set for February 8 to 10, 2008.
“Back in the early 1990’s, we ran the entire 70-boat fleet into Christiansted Harbor,” explains regatta director, Julie San Martin. “It didn’t work. The harbor entrance is too narrow. We had rammings, crisscrossings and even a beach cat that sank, so naturally we discontinued it. But recently, the non-racing boats have asked for a different course and so we’re going to try a harbor race again – but with fewer boats.”
Racing boats will still be able to enjoy competing on traditional courses – windward-leeward with a reaching leg – set in the dependably windy Buck Island channel north of Teague Bay, home of the St. Croix Yacht Club.
Classes for the event will include: Spinnaker Racing, Racer Cruiser, Performance Cruiser, Jib & Main, Large Multihull, Beach Cat and IC24.
“We expect to see several of the IC24 sailors coming over from Puerto Rico,” San Martin says, “They want to compete, or should I say ‘win’ the C.O.R.T. series, which has been dominated by St. Thomas and BVI ICs in past years.”
Also anticipated is a fleet of at least four Melges 24s. These include the 2007 Overall Winner, Devil 3, skippered by St. Croix’s Chris Stanton, as well as Kick ‘em Jenny from St. Maarten. There will be a new boat skippered by longtime Crucian sailor, Morgan Dale, and a Melges sailed by Howard Silverman, of Dover, Massachusetts, who competed last year in the Jib & Main class.
Sue Riley will return to serve as Principal Race Officer, with St. Thomas’ Pat Bailey and St. Maarten’s David DeVries, serving as international judges.
New this year too, the 5th annual Valentines Day Optimist Regatta – an event for junior sailors held simultaneously with the St. Croix International Regatta – was selected as a qualifier for juniors wishing to attend the Optimist World Championships to be held July 14-25 in Cesme, Turkey.
“We’ll have additional on-site activities planned for Opti sailors ashore, both under the tent and on the grounds,” says San Martin. “Also, there will be tables set with immediate carbs – pastas with red or white sauce – to fuel the kids as soon as they hit the beach.”
Ronnie and Babbie Ramon, from Puerto Rico, will run the Valentines Day Optimist Regatta.
San Martin says, “The St. Croix International Regatta is run entirely by volunteers. At least 40 percent of our 500 members are directly involved in the International or simultaneous Opti Regatta.”
Unlike some of the bigger regattas, a small friendly feel hallmarks this event. There are no bareboats or professionally crewed race boats for hire; all entrants are privately-owned mid-size to smaller boats. Second only to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the keen amount and caliber of large multihull action. St. Croix has been home to multihull boat building, and racing, since the 1960s.
ST. CROIX EVENT KICKS OFF C.O.R.T. SERIES
West Marine Signs on as 2008 Series Sponsor
The St. Croix International Regatta is the kick-off for the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle, or C.O.R.T., series, a trio of events that also includes the Culebra Heineken International Regatta, March 14-16, and the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, March 31-April 6.
This year, says Angel Ayala, who simultaneously heads up C.O.R.T. and the Culebra Heineken International Regatta, “West Marine has signed on as series sponsor. First place finishers in each class will receive foul weather gear as well as a $100 gift certificate to West Marine. Second and third place finishers in class will receive gift certificates valued at $75 and $50, respectively, for second and third place.”
C.O.R.T. classes include: Spinnaker Racing A, Spinnaker Racing B, Racer Cruiser, Performance Cruiser, IC24, and Jib & Main.
Registration for the series takes place at the St. Croix International Regatta. The cost is $50. In return, each skipper receives a distinctly-logo’d long-sleeve T-shirt and bag.