Friday, March 24, 2017

St Thomas International Regatta Preview

J/122 sailing St Thomas (St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- For years, the grand-daddy of all Caribbean regattas was “the Rolex” in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, proudly hosted by St Thomas YC in Cowpet Bay on the northeastern shoreline of USVI.  It was not unusual to have fleets of well over 100 keelboats packed into the Bay and competing for that rarest of commodities, a dinghy tie-up at the club.  Since that time, the regatta continues to maintain its strong heritage of hosting world-class sailing on the magnificent aquamarine waters off the eastern end of USVI.  The trade-winds are almost always turned-on and the sailors look forward to a magnificent four days of sailing.  What is fun and challenging about this event is that the StYC provides a range of courses for the fleet, from windward-leewards offshore to random-leg courses around the fabulously beautiful islands and rocks that grace the eastern part of the island chain.

J/105 sailing St ThomasThis weekend, the fleet of forty-seven boats will be competing in one-design as well as IRC and CSA handicap rating rules.  Other than the thirteen teams sailing the IC24s (the modded J/24), the biggest field of J/Crews will be in the CSA Spinnaker class of eleven boats.  Leading charge around the track each day should be the famous J/122 EL OCASO, chartered by Bob Hiller from Lake Geneva YC.  Chasing them hard on handicap will be the J/88 TOUCH 2 PLAY RACING, skippered by Canadian Rob Butler from Collingwood, Ontario; Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE from Huntington, NY; and Angle Ayala’s J/80 SUNBUM II from Carolina, Puerto Rico.  In the CSA Non-Spinnaker division, Ben Jelic’s J/120 JAGUAR from St Maarten will be vying for class honors with six other teams.

The weather forecast for this year’s regatta remains a bit mixed.  While the sailors remain hopeful, it looks to be overcast to partly cloudy skies with occasional rain and light winds from the southeast from 5-12 kts. This is due to what NOAA describes as the following scenario:

Wednesday to Friday- an upper level ridge southeast of the area will continue to weaken as a trough pattern aloft builds from the west through the end of the week. At low levels, a prefrontal trough is forecast to move over the islands on Friday. As this trough pattern unfolds, moisture will continue to pool across the area and the intensity and coverage of showers and isolated thunderstorms will increase each day.  From Friday to end of racing on Sunday- the Long wave trough across the western Atlantic is still forecast to deepen and extend southwards into the west and central Caribbean through the end of the week. As a result, a moist south to southeasterly flow should persist through Friday and into the weekend. All model guidance supports a very moist and unstable pattern across the region for the next several days with good tropical moisture advection.  Bummer. In short, light winds and wet at times.  For more St Thomas International Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.