Well known for its warmth of welcome and highly personal service to participants, the St. Croix club kicks off the weekend with Cruzan Rum Welcome Party at 6 p.m. Friday, February 18. St. Croix's most popular group, the Express Band, will perform on Friday night at the party. Customs & Immigrations officials will be on site at the Yacht Club from 4 to 6 p.m. that afternoon. Live entertainment will also be featured at the club for dancing on Saturday night.
Last year's overall winner was the Willy-T from Tortola, skippered by Kevin ROWLETTE, who received the traditional prize of the skipper's weight in Cruzan Rum.
'The 2004 International Regatta was a tremendous success-both for the racers and for the volunteers who ran the Regatta,'says Regatta Director Julie SAN MARTIN. 'We look forward to the return of PRO Bob Phillips and his able crew from Tortola, also Chief Judge Henry Menin from St. Thomas. With their guidance, we are able to run a technically flawless regatta-in 2004, we had no protests!'
In 2005, boats from St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands like Antigua and St. Marten, are expected to participate once again, and local sailors will turn out in force for the events.
'In 2005, we expect to see previous years' competitors and new faces, particularly in multihulls, beach cats, and hopefully, charter boats,' says San Martin. 'Also, we are looking for IC 24 participation from the BVI and St. Thomas this year with their own class and prizes.'
Big boat racing takes place starting at 10 a.m. on three days, from Saturday, February 19 through Monday, the 21. Boat classes are Racing, Racer/Cruiser, Jib & Main, Beach Cat and Large Multi-hull.
St. Martin also notes that the simultaneous Optimist Regatta for children, which premiered in 2004, was extremely well received, and is providing up-and-coming crew for future adult regattas. 'We hope to field even more racers this year; I expect to see skippers recruiting the kiddies as they turn 16!'
The 2005 Optimist Valentine Regatta for junior sailors under age 16 will take place on February 19-20. Optimist Regatta entry is $35 and charter boats are $50 (with a $100 damage deposit.) Early registration is encouraged since boats are limited.
Innovative Communications Corporation has committed primary sponsorship once again this year for both series of races. All sailors are welcome, and Yacht Club membership is not a requirement for participation. Cruzan Rum plays a starring role in awards at the annual event. 'The winning skipper will receive his weight in Cruzan rum, and every captain gets a fifth of Cruzan Rum in his goodie bag,' says San Martin.
Hundreds of volunteer hours are invested on St. Croix to be sure that sailors have a good race and a great experience while they are on island, says the Regatta Director.
'The St. Croix Yacht Club International Regatta has the reputation as the welcoming regatta that goes out of its way to see that visiting sailors have a good time!'
Entry forms, and a program of events are posted on the event website.