Captains Colin Rathbun and Chris Haycraft will be representing the BVI at this week's Carlos Aguilar Match Race in St. Thomas. Good luck to both teams! 

Initial Press release:

The Virgin Islands Sailing Association and the St. Thomas Yacht Club are pleased to announce the Second Annual  Carlos Aguilar Match Race will be sailed in Charlotte Amalie Harbor from December 2 – December 6, 2009. We will be inviting 8 skippers in both an Open Division and Woman’s Division and one day has been added to this year’s racing schedule. An application has been sent to ISAF requesting a grading of Category 2 for Woman and Category 3 in the Open Division. Skippers are encouraged to put in requests for invitations as soon as possible. After last year’s initial successful event, word is already out that St. Thomas is the place to be in early December.

The CAMR is also pleased to announce the appointment of Henry Menin as the Chief Umpire and that Peter Holmberg will be returning as the Principal Race Officer.  Co Regatta Director, Bill Canfield spoke earlier this week stating “ we are extremely fortunate to have both internationally recognized Henry and Peter involved with our event. Both have close ties to St. Thomas and they also bring top level experience from the last three Americas Cup campaigns to our shores.” Henry Menin served on the International Jury in Spain at the last Americas Cup and Peter Holmberg  is one of the world’s best known match racers.

Invitations have been sent and accepted by Taylor Canfield and Genny Tulloch, the winners of last year’s event.  Taylor currently sails for the number 1 ranked Boston college team and plans on an active summer match racing schedule while Genny’s name is appearing at all the big match racing events and she is fast becoming the best female match racer in the US. Co Director, Verian Aguilar stated, “ it is great to have last year’s winners back with us again. I sailed against Genny last week in St. Pete and she went undefeated. She is continuing to improve and I would not be surprised if she is the US representative  at the 2012 Olympics. Taylor is someone who i have known since he was born. I have taught him, sailed with him and love to see that he has taken up Carlos’ love of match racing.”


Press Release 2:

The Virgin Islands Sailing Association is pleased to announce that the Carlos Aguilar Match Race sponsored by Ulysee Nardin Watches has been awarded a Grade 1 ranking from ISAF for the the Women's division which is to be sailed in the waters off Charlotte Amalie in early December. We believe this will be the only Grade 1 event for women sailed in the western hemisphere this year.

We are extremely pleased that two French sailors, Claire Leroy ranked 1 in the world, and Julie Bossard currently ranked 6th will not only be sailing in the event but will arrive 10 days early to practice and train in our wonderful Virgin Islands conditions. They will be joined by a trio of the top 20 US Sailors including, Liz Baylis, Sandy Hayes and last year's winner, Genny Tulloch.  Local VI sailor Kelly O'Brien, sailing with an all VI crew, Marie Rameris ( Portugal) and Renata Decnop (Brazil) will round out this strong international field of skippers competing for the 1st prize in this highly competitive match race.

On the open side, the regatta will remain a Grade 3 event but with a wonderful Caribbean flare. The overall competition will be much improved this year and also include some very well known sailors. VI helmsman, Peter Holmberg, formerly ranked number 1 in the world and part of three Americas Cup programs, has come out of match racing retirement for the CAMR this year. He has resurrected some of his old crew including Maurice Kurg, Morgan Avery and Ben Beer to sail against another old veteran, Dave Perry, from the US and Jes Gram Hansen well known Danish match racer, who will both be making their way to St. Thomas for the event. Dave will be the highest ranked open sailor currently placed 35th in the world rankings and has been sailing quite actively on the circuit of late. Last year's winner, Taylor Canfield, currently ranked 61st in the world will certainly be gunning for these big name sailors in what is expected to be a very hotly contested championship.  Taylor the youngest sailor in the world's top 100, will be bringing back his same crew from last year including John Holmberg, Max Nickbarg and Tyler Rice and welcomes the chance to compete against the veterans. The field will be rounded out from active Caribbean sailors Frits Bus (AHO), Chris Haycraft (BVI), Colin Rathbun (BVI) and Maurico Gallardo from El Salvador.

As with all match racing, a team of eight international umpires led by Peter Shrubb from Bermuda, who will serve as chief, and Henry Menin, from the VI, are slated  to judge the matches right on the water. Bill Canfield will serve as the PRO and assist the umpires in ensuring great racing on the wharf in downtown Charlotte Amalie.

Please reserve the weekend of Dec 2 – 6, 2009 and make it a point to spend time in the downtown area under the tents watching some of the world's best sailor's perform just a few feet off shore. Also stop by Yacht Haven Grande in the evening to meet the sailors and their crews. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the great sport of sailing without having to get wet.


IC 24 History

The boats used in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race are of the home grown variety as they were built and developed right on St. Thomas. After Hurricane Marilyn devastated our racing fleet for the 2nd time in ten years sailing was at all time low ebb at STYC. The club began a search for an inexpensive one -design vessel that families could race on competitively as well as 4 – 5 adults. The goal was to keep it easy, simple and cheap. After many meetings no decision could be made with sonars, Colgate 27’s and a hoard of other vessels being considered.

About that time former residents, Dan and Karen Neri sailed through the islands and Dan came up with a solution to the problem. He said they are 6000 J 24’s sitting in people’s garages not being used, buy them cheap and cut off the deck and cabin sole and make them comfortable with a “melges 24” type cockpit. Chris Rosenberg took the idea and ran with it pulling an old decrepit J 24 hull off a barge and hiring local fiberglass “guy” Morgan Avery to build a mold.  IC 24 #1 was complete and we had our first boat. Chris developed some quick class rules to keep the boat slow and easy to sail and he went out and sold the idea to five other bored local sailors. Now we had our fleet and it was introduced in the 1999 International Rolex Regatta.

The rest is history with 8 more boats being built in St. Thomas and fleets developing in Puerto Rico, Tortola and a few areas in the US. More sophisticated class rules were developed and the use of spinnakers was added a few years ago. The class continues to grow and became an ideal boat for local match racing. It was first used in the 2005 Nations Cup NA Finals in St. Thomas and last year was used in the 1st Carlos match race with brand new sails provided by Ulysse Nardin. In 2009 the boats will be used for the US Sailing Women’s Match Race Championship and of course again for the 2nd Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race. This is all made possible by the generosity of the boat owners who allow their boats to be abused each year by aggressive match racers. 

Whether you are sailing on Carlos’ beloved Green Boat, Hull # 1, called Boat Drinks or any other IC 24 we hope you enjoy our local class with its humble beginnings over a few beers at the club bar.