The Carlos Aguilar Match Race Regatta (CAMR) is only in its third year and has already become synonymous with the beginning of December for match racers throughout the Caribbean, and even some in frosty northern climes. This year's regatta runs from December 2-5 and registration and practice in the IC24's will be held during the two days preceding the regatta.
Last year, teams from France, Portugal, Brazil, USA and Denmark descended on St. Thomas for the four-day event and pre-regatta practice. More than one team extended its stay to take full advantage of St. Thomas' beaches, warm water, sunshine, dependable wind and hospitality.
Virgin Island sailing and match racing legend, Peter Holmberg and his all Virgin Islands team of Maurice Kurg, Morgan Avery and Ben Beer, along with Claire Leroy and her Mermaid Sailing Team, who were ranked number one in Women's Match Racing from May 2005 through January 2010, spent several days sparring against one another in advance of the regatta, and it showed. Not only did each team win its hotly contested division, but Leroy and her team were nicely tanned and more than acclimated to island life and sunshine before the regatta started.
This year, regatta organizers are sticking with a formula that has proven successful and attracts more spectators every year. The regatta village will be at IGY's Yacht Haven Grande, IC 24's comprise the fleet, and Ulysse Nardin Watch Co. and Trident Jewels and Time are the presenting sponsors.
There is no doubt that the event could not be so successful without the dedicated work of so many volunteers. They do everything. They serve breakfast in the morning, set up the bleachers and tents along the Charlotte Amalie waterfront, keep score, host fantastic parties in the evening and also substitute as crews when absolutely necessary.
The stakes are higher this year so don't expect substitutes. The CAMR is now a qualifier for the World Match Racing Tour's 2011 Match Cup Sweden event meaning that the winner of this year's open division will be awarded a berth to sail in Sweden.
Count on this year's CAMR to pick up where last year's finals left off. No doubt 2008 champion, Taylor Canfield and his team will use every trick in the playbook to reclaim the title from the team that rarely shows a chink in its armor, Peter Holmberg's team. Canfield was on fire this summer and won the US Grade 2 Trifecta, a series of three consecutive US-based ISAF Grade 2-ranked events held in Chicago, Detroit, and New York. In doing so, Canfield also received an automatic invitation to compete at the Grade 1 Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA in March, but there is nothing better than winning the big one in your own backyard against a legend.
Find out more at: www.carlosmatchrace.com
Lynn Fitzpatrick's articles on sailing appear regularly in international publications including AARP The Magazine and Cruising World. She has been a highly competitive Snipe sailor and was the 2008 Sports Information Specialist for sailing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.