Experience and an upbeat spirit earned TortolaExpress the champion title at the 2014 Quantum Sails IC24 International Regatta. Ten boats, nearly double the number from last year, raced in this 10th annual event held out of Soper’s Hole, Tortola, BVI, in late October. Team skipper Colin Rathbun is certainly a familiar figure in the winner’s circle. However, it was the depth of talent competing – from longtime sailors to the young Turks nipping at the forerunners sterns – which may very well give Rathbun a run for his money in the future as it looks like the IC24 Class is on the rebound.
“I’d say we won because we have an amazing team spirit where everyone can stay focused, have lots of fun and are always ready to help out the others, both off and on the water,” says Rathbun.
“Ocean Potion from St. Thomas with Chris Rosenberg skippering started climbing the ranks on the second day. Chris is a very aggressive sailor, and I mean that in a good way. He keeps you on your toes and won’t let up. But we hit the ground running right from the first day.”
Team TortolaExpress secured their win by 17 points in 13 races over second place finisher, Ocean Potion, owned by St. Thomas’ Mike Finley. Rosenberg, who raced with Finley, co-designed the IC 24 out of an old J/24 hull back in the early 2000s with St. Thomas boat-builder Morgan Avery.
“Having Chris on board is always a great treat and we learned more about our IC and its performance thanks to him,” says Finley. In addition, “the competition was very good all around. Jason Putley on INTAC was hot on our tail the whole regatta. Alec Anderson on We LIME was also very much in it as well. The last day these two changed the scoreboard for us all with three great finishes.”
Putley helming INTAC finished third, three points ahead of BVI 49er Olympic hopeful Anderson.
New this year, the regatta moved to Soper’s Hole, on the western end of Tortola. This change was planned for several reasons.
First, “it took the ‘local knowledge’ element out of play as the BVI sailors rarely sail in Soper’s, so it was a level playing field,” explains Kevin Wrigley, regatta director and Quantum loft manager in Tortola. “Gusty and shifty winds made it tricky to learn the courses, a combination of windward-leewards and round the Thatches (islands), out of Soper’s Hole, but the flat water made it fun as well.”
Secondly, Wrigley adds, “We hoped the Soper’s Hole location would make it easier for visiting IC 24s from St. Thomas and Puerto Rico to attend. We also scheduled the first start at 1pm on Saturday so the visiting boats had time to sail over. Finally, we used the Fish ‘N Lime Inn as our race headquarters. They offered a few free rooms for visiting crews, plus food and live entertainment for the Saturday night party. Everyone stayed and enjoyed the party.”
The Quantum Sails IC24 International Regatta could easily see 30 IC 24s on the start line in the future. After all, this is collectively about the number of IC24s in the water in the BVI, USVI and Puerto Rico.
“I think we are seeing the class coming back,” says Ocean Potion’s Finley. “The crews in the BVI have stepped up their game and had more boats out racing over the summer than in previous years. The group in Puerto Rico is strong, with nine boats racing in a one-design class in the Discover the Caribbean regatta this fall. Then, there’s always eight or more IC24s from the St. Thomas fleet that comes out for the St. Thomas International Regatta. It’s especially exciting to see the core of IC24 owners that have been absent from the class get back into it. Chris Rosenberg is back with a new boat and Mark Plaxton and Chris Curreri are racing again. That’s a good sign to me!”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.