Posts Tagged ‘caribbean’

St Thomas Rolex Regatta

Downwind run on day 2 of the St Thomas Rolex Regatta

The second day of racing here in St Thomas and I’m on a PowerCat (offered by Catamaran Adventures) press boat to better take in the action from an extremely close vantage point in the midst of all the racing action! It was a packed course with over 700 sailors on 77 teams filling the beautiful view of sailing paradise. For those on board the racing boats, serious attention was needed to avoid rocks, other boats and even the occasional ferry!


All Gal Crew on Northern Child

The first race was a twice-around windward-leeward course that lasted an hour, while the second showed off the scenic  south coast of St. John on a 22-mile windward-leeward course that used Leduck Island as it’s windward turning mark.With the steady tradewinds blowing between 12-15 kts, there was plenty of action and a few close calls as yachts started packed closely together at the line before spreading out, ultimately dotting the horizon with brightly colored spinnakers flying.

The St Thomas Rolex Regatta always attracts a wide variety of sailor and this year is no exception. The oldest competitor, Bill Alcott (St. Claire Shores, Mich.), age 74, has sailed his Andrews 68 Equation in the regatta for more years than he can remember. This year, he decided to charter the Swan 601 Aquarius and promptly had team shirts printed that read Equarius, in tribute to his old boat. His dry humor is only matched by his all-out approach to sailing, and life. “You’re as old as you don’t and as young as you do!,” he said after finishing 5-6 in today’s racing for a sixth overall in IRC 1 class.


Northern Child coach Suzette "Hau'oli" Smith. Photo courtesy of Safe Passage Sailing.

The youngest sailor is 5 1/2 year old Madeline Avery aboard the IC24 Brand New Second Hand. Her father, and skipper of the boat, Morgan Avery, is a St Thomas boat builder who helped design the IC24, which is now one of the hottest one-design classes in the Caribbean.

This years’ race also includes two all-female crewed boats: Northern Child, the Swan 51, skippered by Suzette Smith (Hawaii), and Diamonds Are Forever, an Elan37, skippered by Annie O’Sullivan (GBR) and entered by GirlsforSail. Captain Suzette “Hau’oli” Smith is an accomplished sailor with over 80,000 nautical miles of offshore, coastal and inland water experience, including an extensive international racing portfolio as a professional and amateur. Suzette races for Safe Passage Sailing, whose mission is to provide sailors at every level of experience opportunities to participate in world class events around the U.S. and in international waters, as the Team Coach and Skipper along with Northern Child’s owner – Christian Reynolds. Her crew consists of women from all over the U.S. with a range of experience on the water. Most race on their home waters be they lakes or bays and at least one cruises full-time on her own yacht. With careers in everything from Health Care administration to software designer, these women have come together to experience the thrill of racing in this grand event.


Northern Child-Sponsored by SPS & NauticEd

Current Standings

With a perfect score line, Antilope, Willem Wester’s (NED) Grand Soleil, is still leading in the nine-boat IRC 2 class. Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Club Swan 42 Arethusa remains in second overall after finishing 3-2 today.

In CSA Spinnaker 3 class, Timothy Molony’s (New Orleans, La.) Wild at Heart broke yesterday’s stalemate with Kike Gonzalez’s (San Juan, PR) J/80 Otrakosa when it won both races today, with Otrakosa in second each time.

In CSA Spinnaker 1, Mark Plaxton’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Team INTAC/CROWLEY finished 2-2 today to maintain yesterday’s lead over Andrea Scarabelli’s (St. Maarten, AHO) Melges 24 Budget Marine, which remains in second just ahead of David West’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Jurakan.

The IC 24 One- Design class, with 16 boats, completed nine around-the-buoy races today, with William Bailey’s (St. Thomas) Team INTAC JV taking the lead in overall scoring. The second-place finisher, Tom Kozyn’s (St. Thomas) Badfish, is a full 14 points behind.

In Beach Cats, with nine boats competing, Jorge Ramos’s (San Juan, PR) Hobie 16 Universal won today’s single distance race to maintain his lead over John Holmberg’s Hobie 16 Time Out.
Photos (except Suzette Smith’s) by Nancy Birnbaum. All Rights Reserved.


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St Thomas YC

St Thomas YC -Home of the Rolex Regatta

Thirty eight years ago the first International Rolex Regatta took place in St. Thomas and so began a long tradition that endures to this day.  With 71 boats signed up, the 2011 International Rolex Regatta began on Friday, March 25, and ran through Sunday, March 27. Attracting some “Big Guns,” such as Boewe Bekking, Gavin Brady, Ed Baird, Steve Benjamin, Richard Clarke and Chris Larson aboard the keelboats, but those veteran professionals were by no means guaranteed victory-or a good time-in the eight classes, which included two for IRC, four for CSA, and one each for IC 24s and Beach Cats. They were up against some first timers who would give them a run for their money!

First up on the three-day race schedule – some colorful “town races” that started at St. Thomas Yacht Club and finished in Charlotte Amalie Harbour at lunchtime before starting up again for a return to the Yacht Club.


Kialoa V, Big Booty & Spirit of Juno on downwind run

Getting out in the midst of the action, I hopped on a 26 footer, “press boat” with Capt John and some fellow photographers. With bumpy conditions and a lovely tradewinds breeze, we found a good spot to view the start of the first race, on the east end of St Thomas and just off St James Island. I was attempting to pick out two particular yachts, each racing in different classes and with various start times. It was good to have a seasoned Rolex Regatta photographer onboard with us to help direct, as this was my first time.


Sailors check the courses at the Yacht Club

The International Rolex Regatta is one of the top sailing events on the island circuit with competitors coming from as far away as the UK and The Netherlands, and sailors lucky enough to win the top classes can also take home a Rolex Explorer watch. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae music and food fete at Yacht Haven Grande, adding the requisite luxury backdrop and an unforgettable prize giving event on Sunday hosted by Rolex.  Racing includes a mix of short courses and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John.

“With dependable trade winds, great racing is assured, and we work hard to make it easy for sailors and their families to participate,” said Regatta Co-Director Bill Canfield, explaining that the St. Thomas Yacht Club is the central meeting place for breakfast each morning and socializing after racing.

“One of our traditions is the ‘town race’ on Friday, where the entire fleet races from the east end of St. Thomas right to the heart of the bustling commercial harbor of Charlotte Amalie,” added Canfield. “Once the fleet has finished, we start them again for the race back home. The spectacle of a mass of colorful spinnakers against the backdrop of the surrounding hills of  St. Thomas makes for postcard perfect photos and give the locals, as well as others who are visiting, an opportunity to see St. Thomas’ beautiful and historic capital in it’s historic racing glory.

spinnakers on the horizon

A Beautiful Day for Racing!

Racing is rounded out on the weekend by a mix of island races and windward/leewards designed to test skills and showcase the stunning shoreline. Classes include IRC, CSA (Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Non-Spinnaker Racing), One-Design IC 24s (Melges) and Beach Cats. It has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. The Rolex portfolio includes famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

From (in part) Media Pro International and RegattaNews.com.

Photos by Nancy Birnbaum, 2011

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2011-rolex_regatta_stthomasI learned most of what I know about sailing from the deck of an Ericson 36 that I raced with my Uncle George on the Chesapeake Bay. From the age of 10 to 13, I absorbed tactics and learned the ropes, usually from my tentative perch on the foredeck or the side rail. It wasn’t until I became an adult and moved clear across the country to The San Francisco Bay, that I discovered cruising, and it took more years of racing and day-sailing on the SF Bay before I finally cut the docklines free and set sail with no particular destination in mind.

And so it’s no wonder that while cruising is my passion, racing sailboats has always been my favorite sport. Later this week, I get to race with the “big boats” at the 38th Annual Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, as the guest of Safe Passage Sailing, a company that let’s you charter racing yachts and participate as a member of a racing crew in some of the most renowned regattas in the world.

S/Y Northern Child

The S/Y Northern Child

I’ll be covering the Rolex on Assignment (March 21-27) for Yachting Times Magazine, America’s first bi-lingual boating publication. From the St. Thomas YC, home of this world-class event as well as from the deck of both Kialoa V and Northern Child, I will bring you all the action and thrills of racing. I’m especially thrilled to join the all-women crew onboard Northern Child, a Swan 51 for what will surely be a day of great sailing and spectacular racing! At the helm – a world-class skipper and mentor, Suzette “Hau’oli” Smith.

SPS suzette smith

Racing Pro Suzette Smith

Suzette Smith is a seasoned licensed charter captain with a USCG Masters 100 ton and ASA certified instructor on boats 38’-70’+. In 2006 she was named ASA’s “Outstanding National Instructor of the Year.”

Ms Smith has participated in numerous high caliber sailing campaigns such as Team Pegasus, the first and only all-woman America’s Cup team, America 3, which raced in the 1995 America‘s Cup defenders series, as well as other notable regattas around the world.

It is without a doubt that I am both honored and extremely excited to have the opportunity to race with Hau’oli in this renowned regatta. My sincere thanks to Randee Fowler of Safe Passage Sailing and Dolores Barciela, Publisher of Yachting Times Magazine (YTM) for making this all possible!


YTM_cvr_aut2010“Stay Tuned” for more blogs from St Thomas and don’t forget to check out YTM online at http://yachtingtimesmagazine.com where you can view e-Mag versions of this beautiful magazine!

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Vieques is the perfect holiday destination. Just 15-20 nm from the US and British Virgin Islands, six nm from the east coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques is one of the Spanish Virgin Islands, also referred to as the “Passage Islands”. Less crowded then their southern counterparts and ringed with white sand beaches, the islands are still relatively untouched by developers and tourists alike.

Read my Guest Blog on TRIPATINI here: http://www.tripatini.com/profiles/blogs/vieques-top-10

Tripatini Blog

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Escape the winter blahs and join the fun and excitement of participating with an all-woman crew
in beautiful St. Thomas, USVI, March 2011

SPS logoSausalito, California – October 7, 2010 – Safe Passage Sailing, LLC invites you to “sail with the best” in a world class regatta with world class skipper and mentor Suzette Smith, leading an all women’s crew. This will be an experience not to be missed!

Whether it’s the adventure of cruising or the excitement of racing, there’s no place like being on a Safe Passage Sailing Charter. If you’re an intermediate to advanced female sailor, now you have the opportunity to join in on all the fun of the 38th International Rolex Regatta. The only requirement – Just The Desire To Be Part of the Team, Race and Have Fun!

The St. Thomas Yacht Club and title sponsor Rolex are the hosts for this regatta known as the “Crown Jewel” of Caribbean racing that boasts “reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality.”

SPS Program includes:
• Exclusive charter of a Swan 51’ – Northern Child
• 2 race training days, lay day, 3 race days
• Racing pro (Suzette Smith), licensed skipper, 1st mate and additional racing support crew (see below)
• All race registration/entry fees
• All berthing fees, fuel, on/off shore maintenance support
• Race equipment including spinnakers
• Breakfast at the St. Thomas YC on race days
• Lunch, snacks and beverages each day on the boat
• SPS stow bag with shirts, hats, and other gifts for each guest
• Event management
• Event and crew photographs
• Transportation will be provided/arranged from/to airport, marina to YC parties

Program Cost: $3275 per person
Participants: 11 maximum
Register now to ensure your spot. Accommodations and airfare not included. Group hotel accommodations and transportation options TBA.


SPS suzette smith


Racing Pro Suzette Smith International Racing and Cruising Specialist will be onboard Northern Child in the role as coach/mentor. Suzette Smith is a seasoned licensed charter captain with a USCG Masters 100 ton and ASA certified instructor on boats 38’-70’+. In 2006 she was named ASA’s “Outstanding National Instructor of the Year.”

Ms Smith has participated in numerous high caliber sailing campaigns such as Team Pegasus, the first and only all-woman America’s Cup team, America 3, which raced in the 1995 America‘s Cup defenders series, as well as other notable regattas around the world.

Additional Crew:
RYA licensed Skipper/Owner Christian Reynolds and First Mate Lucy Jones will be onboard to assist and facilitate during the regatta.

the Island of St Thomas
SPS Rolex Regatta Itinerary
Arrive – Monday, March 21
SPS welcome reception at the St. Thomas Yacht Club to meet your mentor and crew, and enjoy beer, wine and Hors d’oeuvres.
Tuesday – March 22
Training day 1
Wednesday – March 23
Training day 2
Thursday – March 24
Lay day, Rolex welcome reception at the Yacht Club
Friday – March 25
Race day 1 – Harbor Race. The morning course offers a downwind start and stretches to Charlotte Amalie Harbor, giving racers an opportunity to see St. Thomas’ beautiful and historic capital. The afternoon race starts in town and finishes back at the yacht club and festivities.
Saturday – March 26
Race day 2 – St. John Race. Round-the-rocks racing takes you along the south shore of beautiful St. John finishes back at the yacht club and festivities.
Sunday – March 27
Race day 3 – Pillsbury Sound Race. The final day’s racing takes place on scenic Pillsbury Sound, in and around the beautiful Cays.
The Rolex Awards Ceremony takes place on the beach Sunday evening highlighted by the presentation of an abundance of prizes and video by t2p.tv.


S/Y Northern Child

The S/Y Norther Child


About Northern Child
Northern Child was built in 1984 for an Italian owner, who has since become the owner of Nautor Swan. She is one of naval architect German Frers’ outstanding all-round designs and shares the same performance pedigree of Blizzard, a famous 51’ Admiral’s Cup racer, except that Northern Child was also fitted with a lavish cruising interior and the hull sections were enlarged to accommodate the increase in displacement. Fast and easy to sail, Northern Child is a fine balance between a racing and cruising yacht.

Racing Resume
Northern Child recently recorded her fastest transatlantic crossing during ARC 2009 and was placed 5th in class
• Placed 12th out of 50 in JP Morgan Round the Island Race 2010
• Top Swan Yacht in the BVI Spring Regatta 2008
• 3rd in class & highest placed Swan Yacht in ASW 2009
• 1st in class and second overall on the ARC 2008
• Swan Transatlantic Challenge Trophy

SPS All Women Banner AdFor more information regarding SPS “Sailing with the Best” events, or to register for this event, please visit our website at www.safepassagesailing.com. Please feel free to call or e-mail SPS for more information:
Randee Fowler
Safe Passage Sailing
415/381-4773 direct
415/637-4051 mobile

You can download our Press Release HERE!
Rolex LogoSt Thomas Yacht Club logoSt Thomas Rolex Regatta

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