Sunday, December 8, 2013

J/Teams Lovin’ St Croix Regatta!

J/27 sailing St Croix regattaDARK STAR, PALADIN, EL SHADDAI-- Stars in Caribbean Sailing
(Christiansted, St Croix, USVI)- For starters, what’s not to like about the basic premise of St Croix’s International Regatta hosted by the St Croix YC on their famous beach?  For one, the winning skipper’s weight in rum is first overall prize; secondly, there are three spectacular days of racing in classic Caribbean sailing conditions; and lastly, there are  live bands each night on the beach with awesome “island-style” hospitality!

J/100 sailing upwind at St Croix regattaThe history of the event is somewhat amusing because of it’s unusual first prize! In 1992, Commodore Nick Castruccio organized the first St.Croix Yacht Club International Regatta, he convinced Mumm’s Champagne to sponsor the event, and encouraged his sailing friends from across the Caribbean to compete. The three day event was held in October, on the weekend of Columbus Day/ Puerto Rico Friendship Day, and 69 boats attended the first year. Peter Holmberg of Team Heineken, winner of the racing spinnaker class, received his weight in Mumm’s Champagne (and being a somewhat large citizen that he is, Mumm’s was not sure if this was such a great idea!). Nevertheless, a tradition was born!

After a series of hurricanes in the 1990s, resulting in the loss of the main Yacht Club dock three times, the event was moved to February, allowing StCYC to replace the dock after hurricane season. Better weather and better planning on the Yacht Club’s part have resulted in dock retention since. In 1999, Mumm’s (not too surprisingly) withdrew as the event sponsor and was replaced by local companies that sponsored the event through 2007. The winning skipper now received his weight in Cruzan Rum, thanks to the local St Croix distillery. And so it is.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off St Croiz, USVIThe event is somewhat unique from a regatta format as well since there is a “pre-regatta” called the Commodore’s Race Trophy.  This enables the locals, in particular, to get their acts together, work out some of the rust accumulated from the summer and get the teams “gelling” like a well-oiled machine— at least, that’s the challenge!  The first event produced some great racing with J/Teams pretty much dominating the entire regatta.

In CSA Racing, taking 1st was Jonathan Lipuscek’s J/105 DARK STAR.  In fact, J/Teams took four of the top six places.  Following them in 3rd was Paul Davis’s J/27 MAGNIFICENT 7, in 5th was Angela Mayala’s J/80 SUN BUM II and in 6th was Robert Armstrong’s somewhat infamous J/100 BAD GIRL.

The CSA Non-Spinnaker also saw very spirited racing with the winner being Stanford Joines’s J/36 PALADIN looking magnificent.  Third was Dave Tomlinson’s J/24 EL SHADDAI.

Now that most teams had a bit of practice under their belts, it was high time to up the ante and put on the full-court press to determine the podium finishers for the “big one”, the St Croix International Regatta trophies and, of course, the skipper’s weight in rum for winning their respective divisions.

The CSA Racing saw a very closely fought competition, but getting the short-end of the stick on a tie-breaker and having to settle for second (and no rum) was Jonathan Lipuscek’s J/105 DARK STAR.  Ouch!  That must’ve been a bummer.  Also sailing a lot faster and smarter was and taking third on the podium was Robert Armstrong’s J/100 BAD GIRL.

Flip-flopping positions from the first regatta, the CSA Non-Spinnaker winner this time around (and quite happy to weigh-in on the rum award!) was Dave Tomlinson’s J/24 EL SHADDAI. Stanford Joines’s J/36 PALADIN sailed a solid regatta but simply could not hold back the rum-thirsty boys on EL SHADDAI!!  Amazing motivation that is!   Sailing photo credits- Rob Jones   For more St Croix International Regatta sailing information