Getting warmed up for STIR 2023
Published on March 23rd, 2023
St Thomas, USVI (March 23, 2023) – Over a dozen sleek sailing yachts raced counter-clockwise around the neighboring island of St. John under a mix of sun, squalls, and winds blowing 18 to 20 knots from the northeast in today’s Round the Rocks Race.
In the end, the USA’s Sandra Askew’s Cape 31, Flying Jenny, won the CSA Spinnaker 1 Class in the Round the Rocks Race, while the USVI/Puerto Rico-based Bastian Sarh’s Beneteau First 10 Modified, Chili Pepper, finished first in the CSA Spinnaker 2 Class. The race was a great one-day warm-up for the kickoff of the 49th St. Thomas International Regatta on March 24-26.
The rapidly popular one-design Cape 31 proved its prowess today by besting a class of bigger boats. Save for one other Cape 31, Flying Jenny not only won the CSA Spinnaker 1 Class but completed the course around the 19-square-mile island of St. John with the fasted elapsed time of 3 hours, 7 minutes, and 52 seconds.
“We kept the land on the left and kept the rocks tight,” says Josie Gliddon, tactician aboard Flying Jenny. “There was more current than we expected. In the first half of the race there was flat water, then the second half it was all about flying in clear air. Sailing in the Caribbean is a shake-down for us to get ready for the summer racing in Europe. The conditions here, the breeze, make for a great training ground as we are a relatively new team.”
The USVI’s Peter Corr, driving his Summit 40, Blitz, finished second in CSA 1 less than a minute after Flying Jenny on corrected time. In CSA Spinnaker 2, Sarh’s team on Chili Pepper showed they were on fire in the big breeze.
“Every year we try to focus as a team on improving our skill set. Since our boat doesn’t do well in the chop, our strategy was to stay closer to shore and that worked. Overall, we had a wonderful time. The weather was fantastic. And it was beautiful. After all, it was St. John.”
The USA’s Martin Van Breems, at the helm of his 39’ Judel Vrolijk, Bermuda High, finished second in CSA Spinnaker 2.
Flying Jenny, Blitz, Chili Pepper, and Bermuda High are four of nearly 50 yachts registered for STIR 2023. The fleet spans from the Virgin Islands’ own 24-foot IC24s to vessels up to 70-foot. This fleet will race in CSA Spinnaker Racing, CSA Non-Spinnaker, and One-Design classes. Skippers and crews hail from the Caribbean, USA, Europe, and Australia.
One team that used the day for practice was Stark Raving Mad IX, the USA’s Jim Madden’s Carkeek 47.
“Today we had the kind of conditions to achieve the speed this boat was designed for,” says Anthony Kotoun, tactician, and former Virgin Islands sailor now living in the USA. “This is the first time the boat has raced since September, and the ideal conditions gave us a chance to tick the boxes on our to-do list and be ready to race tomorrow.
“What we’re looking forward to are the round-the-islands courses. Some 99% of what we do is around-the-buoys. It’s much more intricate, different, and entertaining to race around natural markers like islands. We’re looking forward to a great weekend of racing.”
Racing for STIR kicks off for an 11 a.m. start. Racecourses will be set off the southeast, northeast, and east end of St. Thomas and in Pillsbury Sound between St. Thomas and St. John, with specific courses for each class designated daily by the Race Committee based on weather.
Round the Rocks details: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=15495