Ready to get STIR’d in St Thomas

Published on March 9th, 2023

The 49th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) will see a mix of newcomers and returning racers when some 50 yachts are expected to race on March 24-26, 2023. Hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, divisions include CSA racing and cruising; ORC; Large Multihull; Hobie Waves, and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet.

The STIR 2023 fleet includes entrants from 24- to 70-foot, with the new Cape 31 class making its debut.

“We took delivery of the Cape 31 at the beginning of last September in San Francisco and sailed the boat for a few days before competing in the Rolex Big Boat Series. We had a fantastic time!” said Marc McMorris whose crew hails from the San Francisco Bay area.

“Everyone on the boat really enjoys this new platform. As a result, we want to sail the boat in different venues to continue the enjoyment and spread the word about how much fun these boats are. We look forward to warm air, sunshine, and good breezes coming to St. Thomas.”

It’s a new team on the return entry, Escapado, a First 40.7 race-chartered by the Sail Racing Academy, headquartered in London, UK.

“Our team is formed of GAP year students, those on sabbaticals and people flying in just for the race, and our team members who hail from around the world,” says Germaine Williams, principal. “STIR is a bit of a hidden treasure, great racing, the friendliest people, and a lot of fun. It gives us the perfect opportunity to further hone our skills on the race course.”

Veteran STIR entrant, Antigua & Barbuda’s Bernie Wong’s RP 37, TAZ, will have a crew member with something new to show fellow regatta entrants this year. Nini Champion, and teammate Lisa Roland, have formed Team Ocean Grown to participate in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The unassisted 3,000-nm transatlantic row departs in December 2023 from La Gomera, Spain, en route to Antigua & Barbuda in an unassisted row.

“One of the greatest benefits of our professional lives on both commercial and race boats is that we truly live our lives at sea, where every single day teaches you a new lesson, which we can’t wait to apply to our upcoming race,” said Roland.

“The sailing community here in the Caribbean, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been so supportive of Team Ocean Grown and we really can’t ever give enough thanks to our friends, family, sponsors, and supporters, many of whom have been with us since day one.”

Finally, a skipper who has raced almost every STIR since the first, podium-placing many times, is St. Thomas’ John Foster. Foster will be helming Magic Bus, in the largest class of the regatta, the one-design IC24s.

“Enjoying the IC24 boat for boat racing has always been the most exciting. It is a true test of sportsmanship, ability, and dexterity combined. The STIR regatta brings together old friendships, good sportsmanship, and a great learning experience for all of us,” says Foster.

“This year, I am putting together a team of family members including my sons-in-law Adam Fuller and Eric Ferguson. This will be the first time we have sailed together and I am looking forward to this unique opportunity!”

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