International Opti Regatta in St. Thomas >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
St. Thomas, USVI (June 12, 2022) – The Caribbean’s largest annual small boat regatta kicks off this week. The TOTE Clinic runs June 13-15, the TOTE Team Race runs June 16, and the International Optimists Regatta (IOR) runs Friday-Sunday, June 17-19.
A fleet of over one hundred sailors ages 8 to 15 from Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and several US states will compete in an 8-foot-long single-sail Optimist in this trio of events. What makes this upcoming week unique is the combination of instruction, team and fleet racing, which includes beginner and advanced sailors, all in one event.
“We are thrilled to welcome our local, regional and international sailors, along with their family, friends and coaches to share in the ideal sailing conditions and warm hospitality here in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Emily Zimmerman, Director regatta and commodore. from the host, St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC).
“This event is not only an opportunity for our young competitors to challenge their sailing skills, but also to reconnect and make new friendships. Additionally, we are proud that in the nearly three decades this event has taken place, several past winners and participants have excelled in the sport.
“Specifically, our IOR alumni have gone on to become high school national champions, college and world sailing All-Americans, #1 ranked match racers, world one-design class champions, Olympians and members of the America’s Cup campaign squad.”
Eleven international coaches, most of whom are national team coaches and all considered among the best Optimist coaches in the United States and around the world, make the TOTE clinic as informative as it is inspiring for registered junior sailors.
The coaches, in alphabetical order with their affiliations, are Mykel Alonso (Coral Reef Yacht Club, FL, USA), Pepe Betini (Long Island Sound Optimist Team, NY, USA), Jose Arturo Diaz (Club Nautico de San Juan, PR) , Mateo Di Blasi (STYC, USVI), Edgar Diminich (Key Biscayne Yacht Club, FL, USA), Bernat Gali (Coral Reef Yacht Club, FL, USA), Kate McDonald (STYC, USVI), Gonzalo Pollitzer (Club Nautico San Isidro, Argentina), Agustin Resano (STYC, USVI), Manny Resano (California Yacht Club, CA, USA) and Esteban Rocha (Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club, FL, USA).
Two new annual awards will be introduced this year, one for competitors and one for coaches. The Founders Trophy will be awarded to the best sailor in the IOR. It is designed to promote the participation of more young women in this event as well as to honor the best female sailors in the IOR through a name plate on the perpetual trophy.
The Founders Trophy is the brainchild of two of the event’s five founders, Henry and Fredelle Menin, who launched the IOR in 1993 with co-founders Verian Tuttle, Karen Paige and the late Bruce Marshall. The new IOR Founders’ Trophy is part of efforts by World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body, to promote gender equality in all aspects of sailing.
New this year is the first annual Coaches Cup Challenge Opti Race on Wednesday, June 15 from 5 p.m. The winning Coach gets 100 percent of the bragging rights and 50 percent of the proceeds going to their local Club’s Optimist program. The other half of proceeds will support the St. Thomas Yacht Club Optimist Program. The challenge is sponsored by the non-profit St. Thomas Yacht Club foundation.
In other prizes, trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet: red (13-15), blue (11-12), white (10 and under), green (beginners) and the top three sailors. globally by score. A perpetual trophy, introduced in 2017, is inscribed with the names of winners from the past 28 years. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives Perpetual Trophy and the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be entered with the names of the sailors from the winning racing team.
The IOR is sanctioned by the Caribbean Sailing Association.
This year’s event will follow an ecological theme. Sailors will be encouraged to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle in the goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all lunch bags and wrappers out of the water, to pick up litter on land and to accept drinks without a straw.
Event details: stthomasyachtclub.org/sailing/regattas/international-optimist-regatta
Source: event media