There is a weekend in late March when St. Thomas becomes the place to be for sailors and sailor-wannabes alike; and the reason is the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). Leading up to the three day event, a steady stream of sailboats – big and small – make their way into American Yacht Harbor and Yacht Haven Grande while their skippers and crew anxiously await some competitive racing. Men and women travel to St. Thomas from all over the Caribbean, North America, and Europe to be a part of this exciting race.
The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) is organized by the Virgin Islands Racing Association and supported by a dedicated group of local businesses and individuals. The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), is renowned for first-class racing and great parties. The three-day event is one of the premier race events in the Caribbean for everything from beach catamarans to 80-footers. The Regatta is hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
If you aren’t a sailor but enjoy sailing, the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) is a great event for the casual spectator. Sailboats will be racing off the downtown waterfront providing observers with great opportunities to watch some world-class sailing. Visitor and residents can also attend some of the events scheduled around the Rolex, including live bands and dancing.
The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) is sure to build on the successes of previous years, which included the addition of IRC racing and joining with the BVI Spring Regatta to offer the Virgin Islands Race Week. The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) is one of the most popular of several Caribbean sailing events that, when strung together, can keep a hard-core, fun-loving racer occupied in the islands for the better part of two months. While it is part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series, the event also hosts classes for CSA (or “Caribbean Rule”) racing as well as one-designs, beach cats and large multihulls.
We’ve proudly hosted this regatta since 1974,” said William Newbold, Past Commodore of St. Thomas Yacht Club. “Over three days, the finest yachtsmen and yachtswomen from around the Caribbean, United States, and Europe join in world-class racing in a spectacular environment, which includes the warm, clear waters surrounding our Club. It’s an adventurous way to get a jump on their summer sailing season.”
Veteran competitor Bill Alcott of Detroit, Michigan, who owns the 68-foot yacht Equation, counts the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) as “one of the highlights of my life and love of competition and the sea–I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” America’s Cup veteran Peter Holmberg, who calls St. Thomas home, is one of the more famous local sailors who attends, while last year Norbert Plambeck, from Cuxhaven, Germany, came from farthest abroad to sail his Frers 80 Hexe.
The regatta’s popularity is attributable to its professional race management, dependable trade winds and varied and challenging schedule of races — including both around-the-buoys and distance courses. After racing, beachside social activities blend St. Thomas Yacht Club’s island-style hospitality with the outstanding camaraderie and competition that hundreds of participants have come to expect each year. The finishing touch is the awards stage that magically appears over the water on the last day of racing.
There is something for everyone at the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR); sailors enjoy the fabulous racing that takes place, spectators can watch in awe and everyone can enjoy the social activities. For more information and schedule of events visit the St. Thomas International Regatta Website.