Classic Caribbean for 48th STIR start
Published on March 25th, 2022
St. Thomas, USVI (March 25, 2022) – The 48th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) got underway today as nearly 50 yachts received idyllic Caribbean conditions with blue skies and 15 to 20 knots of breeze for the fleet of 24-to-65-foot yachts with sailors hailing from the Caribbean, U.S., and Europe.
Sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much in a big regatta. Take for instance when a batten broke on the USVI’s John Foster’s IC24, Island Water World/Desperado. Foster’s Newport, RI-based crew, Jim Voss, took off his eyeglasses, broke the two long temples off, and used the pieces to secure the batten. The crew hoisted the mainsail back up and after that, the team was off to the races!
Leaders & Followers
In the CSA 1 Class, it was the USA’s Victor Wild’s Botin 52, Fox, which led with two first-place finishes on courses set around islands off St. Thomas’ east end. Close behind in second was the USA’s Jim Madden on his Swan 601, Stark Raving Mad VII.
“We sailed the St. Barths and St. Maarten regattas in the past, but we’d never been to St. Thomas. Our plan this year was to do the entire Caribbean circuit, so that included STIR. The round the island racing was great today. Nice breeze, beautiful islands, it was a wonderful day,” says Madden, from Newport, CA, who is a member of the Newport Harbor and San Diego Yacht Clubs as well as the New York Yacht Club.
Among Madden’s crew is Anthony Kotoun, a long-time former Virgin Islands resident who learned to sail at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Kotoun most recently won the Melges 32 World Championships in Miami in December.
In CSA 2, the USVI’s Peter Corr drove his Summit 40, Blitz, to first place. Corr’s competition included stalwart STIR sailor, Antigua & Barbuda’s Bernie Evan-Wong, on his Reichel-Pugh 37, Taz. Taz ended the day in fourth in this class.
“The Round the Rocks Race yesterday was a good tune-up for us. We had a great day today and hope for the same tomorrow,” says Evan-Wong.
Puerto Rico’s Bastian Sarh led the CSA 3 Class on his Beneteau 10m, Chili Pepper. Fellow islander, Fernando Montilla, on his Tartan 10, Timon II, came in fourth, but with finishes seconds away from his competitors.
“We tried to stay close to the rest of the fleet, and in close to the islands where there wasn’t as strong of a breeze. Other than that, we planned to avoid mistakes, and avoid collisions, and we did. Tomorrow, we’ll do a little bit better,” says Montilla, a member of the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club.
Nearly 20 one-design IC24s raced around windward-leeward courses in Great Bay, in front of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas resort. Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor and his team on Cachondo topped the class by a mere two points. The USVI’s Foster finished the day in 10th.
“I’ve raced just about every STIR,” says Foster, a founding member of the St. Thomas Yacht Club. “Back in the ’70s and ’80s, there were a lot of J/24s, then J/27s and J/29s. So, racing an IC24, which is adapted from a J/24, isn’t much different. What hasn’t changed over the years is the great competition and camaraderie.”
Source: Carol Bareuther