2009 Rolex International Regatta Hosted by St. Thomas YC

More Good Reasons to Attend: Reduced Fees, Free Berthing

J/24 URAYO (Puerto RIco), Spin Racing 2 overall winner.The 2009 International Rolex Regatta, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club with racing scheduled for Friday, March 27, through Sunday March 29, is lowering entry fees by 25% and offering IRC boats free dockage at two island marinas.

"There are plenty of great reasons to sail in the International Rolex Regatta," said Event Co-Director John Sweeney, noting that this is the 36th running of the event, often called the "crown jewel" of Caribbean racing, "but every year we work to make it better, especially for those bringing their boats from greater distances. "With the economy as it is, providing logistical aid for visiting yachts and making the event more affordable this year feels like the right move."

The 25% cut equates to a $100 discount for boats sailing IRC, CSA and One-Design, and $50 off for beach cats. Organizers also are standing by to provide logistical assistance for owners and captains who are coming to the regatta.

"If you plan to stay on a mooring near the Club, we've got one with your name on it," said Sweeney, emphasizing the user-friendly aspect of the regatta. "If you want to drop your hook at nearby Christmas Cove, we provide free launch service. If you prefer to be on a full-service dock, American Yacht Harbor ( www.igy-americanyachtharbor.com) and Yacht Haven Grande ( www.yachthavengrande.com) are offering free dockage and space for containers on a first-come, first-serve basis. Interested yachts must register and make a request to regatta directors, since availability is limited. Either marina is a short cab ride to the St. Thomas Yacht Club for the parties and a 20-minute motor out to the racing areas."

Shore-side parties are a signature of the International Rolex Regatta as are the idyllic conditions of crystal clear waters, fresh trade winds, white sand beaches and beaming sunshine. "Every night we have colorful live entertainment and low-cost options for dinner," added Sweeney. "The International Rolex Regatta remains a part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series and last year attracted the attention of campaigns from the States and Europe when it became the first Caribbean regatta to offer IRC racing classes."

DRD-SUZUKI-RED BULL (Puerto Rico), Beach Cat class overall winner, Enrique Figueroa.The International Rolex Regatta is followed by the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which is held "right next door" in the British Virgin Islands and links the two events to make Virgin Islands Race Week (VIRW), now in its second year. "VIRW offers eight days of racing in a 10-day period," said Sweeney. "You'll experience two days of low-key, fun races and lay days bracketed by six days of more intense competition."

Looking to fit the International Rolex Regatta into its busy schedule is Roger Sturgeon's (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Hyannis, Mass.) STP65 Rosebud and Jim Mitchell's (Zurich, SUI) R/P 52 Vincitore, while returning to defend his 2008 title is Sam Fleet's Team Aquarius (East Greenwich, R.I.). Fleet won the inaugural IRC 1 class with his Swan 601. For the victory, he was awarded lodging at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef hotel for the 2009 event.

"We will definitely be returning; however it may be in a different boat," said Fleet. "Continuing to build on the success of the Aquarius program, we want to charter a grand prix boat for the 2009 Florida and Caribbean season and race in IRC and CSA regattas throughout the region. The winter season will serve as an excellent training ground for the 2010 Audi MedCup."

Fleet added enthusiastically that the International Rolex Regatta is "the best run regatta and the most professional race committee in the Caribbean."

The regatta's long time PROs are Dave Brennan and Dick Neville and chief judge is Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger; all are from the Storm Trysail Club and some of the top dogs in the business. They run a quality blend of around-the-islands and windward/leeward courses, with mid-morning starts right off the club.

A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the event. The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie. Rolex is known for sponsoring 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.

The International Rolex Regatta, organized by the St Thomas Yacht Club runs from 27 to 29 March.

For more information please visit www.rolexcupregatta.com or contact:

Bill Canfield
T: + 1 340 775 6320
E: styc@vipowernet.net