The success of the STYC as hosts of the International Rolex Regatta and previous experience with the Marriott Frenchman's Reef International Match Race Regattas, the harbour venue and tropical trade winds were all contributing factors to ISAF's decision to select the club as hosts.
In direct contrast to the match racing of the America's Cup, which requires millions of dollars to field a team, the ISAF Nations Cup offers the best sailors of every nation the opportunity to race for their country for a modest entry fee and travel expenses. The same rules and on the water umpires are used for both competitions. The match racing format will mean a series of one-on-one races with the racing action being almost continuous over the period of the event. The ISAF Nations Cup event hosts will supply a fleet of equal boats free of charge to the competitors. Members of the St. Thomas Yacht Club have offered use of their IC-24 one design fleet to the visiting teams.
Bill CANFIELD of the host STYC said, 'This is the best possible chance for our Caribbean neighbors to challenge for the title of best match racers in North America and the world'.
Early guesses at the competition expect strong teams from the USA, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, and the host US Virgin Islands. However the match racing format opens up the competition to small countries which can consolidate their best sailors into a team of four 'ringers' without worrying about who has enough money to afford the boat associated expenses. This is perfect for the small Caribbean nations which usually have their best sailors scattered over several different boats.
CANFIELD and fellow regatta organizer Lyn REID expect to see about 16 open teams and half a dozen women's teams.
For a complete list of all the news from the ISAF Nations Cup 2006 CLICK HERE.