Sunday, December 3, 2023

Regattas & Rallies

Good starts, getting out in front, and quickly rebounding from a broken mast on the last day of sailing led the USA’s Jackson Wilcox to win the 30th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), hosted at St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) in June 2023 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fifteen-year-old Wilcox, from Sarasota, Florida, representing Lauderdale

Wilcox Wins 30th International Optimist Regatta

Good starts, getting out in front, and quickly rebounding from a broken mast on the last day of sailing led the USA’s Jackson Wilcox to win the 30th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), hosted at St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) in June 2023 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fifteen-year-old Wilcox, from Sarasota, Florida, representing Lauderdale Yacht Club, was one of nearly 90 international sailors who competed in this three-day regatta under Caribbean-ideal conditions. Wilcox’s first place overall also put him at the top of the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet, after 11 races in the Championship fleet. 

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Julia Bernstein, representing Coral Reef Yacht Club, in Miami, Florida, won the Beginner Green Fleet after a total of 22 races. Bernstein’s father, Erik, competed in the first IOR sailed in 1993, when he won Best Visiting Sailor. 

Two members of the Zimmerman family acquitted themselves well. Fourteen-year-old Audrey Zimmerman, from St. Thomas, and STYC, ended fifth overall and in the Red Fleet, and earned the Top Female award and the perpetual Founders Trophy. 

In the age 11- to 12-year-old Blue Fleet, Howard Zimmerman, from St. Thomas, finished first. Rounding out the Championship Fleet was White Fleet winner, 10-year-old Finn Hodgins, also from St. Thomas.

(PHOTO COURTESY IOR) Finn Hodgins, White Fleet winner

In other awards, John Hartney, representing St. Petersburg Yacht Club, earned the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination, and good attitude both on and off the water. Hartney also finished second overall and in Red Fleet. The IOR is sanctioned by the Caribbean Sailing Association. 

For complete results, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club website at or Regatta Network: 

Golden Jubilee Race at Cooper Island 

A gala dinner July 25, 2023, at the Club House in the British Virgin Islands marked the Royal BVI Yacht Club’s 50th anniversary.  Penny Haycraft recalled the early days, and Commodore Eddie Brockbank thanked long term sponsors Nanny Cay, Nagico, Golden Hind, Doyle Sails, Latitude 18 and Riteway, as well as the local businesses who support members through the discount program.   

Commodores Robin Tattersall (1980); Eddie Brockbank (2023); James Bridgewater (2001,2002); Chris Haycraft (2005, 2012-2014, 2017); Simon Wood (2009, 2010), Bob Phillips (1997-1999, 2003, 2004, 2011) Dick Schoonover (2010) and Barney Crook (1985,1986)

A Cooper Island Race inaugurated the club back in 1973, so the anniversary year followed the tradition. On July 29, three boats raced race from Nanny Cay to Cooper Island and, after lunch at the Beach Club, back to town.   

Gilbo Simpson’s Flying Pig took the win in the first race while Chris Haycraft’s Ting a Ling sneaked ahead in the second by just 6 seconds.  On combined times for the two, Flying Pig came away as the overall winner.  Alex England’s WannaB was the only monohull entry to compete, while Matt Holt and his crew on Tern opted for a shorter course across from Hodge’s Creek.

On the horizon…

October 9 will see opening day of the Bonaire Regatta; Willy T Virgin’s Cup Race, BVI, starts on the 21st; and Foxy’s Cat Fight will take flight from Jost Van Dyke, BVI, on the 27th. Up north, the Salty Dawgs will be gathering in Newport, RI, for the start of their fall rally to the Caribbean.

November 1 kicks off with more Salty Dawgs, this group congregating at Hampton, VA to begin their rally, while ARC+ boats begin their sail from Canary Islands to Grenada on the 5th and from the Canaries to St. Lucia on the 19th. On November 4, St. Maarten sees Race Day One of its Keelboat Season Championship, an event that will continue into 2024. The St. Barth Cata Cup race begins on the 15th, the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Antigua, on the 17th, the Nanny Cay Round Tortola Race on the 18th, and St. Lucia’s Mango Bowl Regatta on the 24th. Finish off the month with the St. Maarten Optimist 

Regatta, November 25-26, and the Jammin’ J/22 International Regatta, Montego Bay, Jamaica, November 30-December 3.

Register now for the 2024 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) (, set for Easter Weekend, March 29-31, 2024, and   the Round the Rocks Race (RTR), set for March 28. Register now for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, April 17th – 22nd, 2024 (

(PHOTO BY PETER GUNN PRODUCTIONS) Balance 482 Catalyst competed in the 2023 running of the CMC.

CMC Goes to Four Days; Adds Time Trials for Cruising Multis

The Steering Committee for the CMC has added a day to the sixth annual event February 1-4, 2024. The four-day format will see a repeat of the three-day CSA 1 trifecta distance races, plus one extra day for shorter racing along the south coast of Sint Maarten. Other CSA racing classes will see the same three-plus-one lineup of courses. Also new: Sailors have the option of Time Trials for Cruising Multihulls™️.

Last year, the CMC introduced a successful cruising rally, with 13 multihulls participating in an organized regatta without racing. Time Trials allow skippers to compare their skill and speed with others in a non-racing format. Entrants in the Time Trials division will sail destination courses each day with an overnight at each destination, allowing those sailors to party with CMC cruising rally members.

Yachts in the Time Trials division aren’t racing. These entries will attempt to score the lowest time result on each course and the Racing Rules of Sailing will not apply. Each yacht will respect Collision at Sea Regulations. Skippers are advised to check with their insurance providers to determine whether participation in a speed trial with a timed start rather than a conventional sailboat racing start is allowed.

For more information, check out  

Regatta veteran Robbie Ferron now prefers racing his boat Bunglebird in the Island Time Class, which offers a less-intensive racing option for teams: one race a day, later starts and shorter courses.

Plan Now for Serious Fun at the 2024 Heineken Regatta

St. Maarten welcomes regulars and newcomers to its 44th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, February 29 – March 3, 2024. Close to 100 boats participated in the 43rd regatta.

While the countdown is still months away, event organizers suggest planning now, and they invite interested parties to contact them if they need any assistance. 

Registration for the 44th regatta is open (

Superyacht Challenge Antigua

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua (SYCA) will take place March 11-17, 2024. The event, according to organizers, has one clear objective: “to provide all the facilities to stage an ideal event for an exclusive selection of superyachts, where fair racing and good companionship are valued above all else.”

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