St. Thomas, USVI (June 12, 2022) – The largest annual small boat regatta in the Caribbean begins this week. The TOTE Clinic will be held on June 13-15, the TOTE Team Race will be held on June 16 and the International Optimist Regatta (IOR) will be held on Friday-Sunday, June 17-19.
A fleet of over one hundred 8- to 15-year-old sailors from Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and several states in the US will compete in this trio of events in a single-sail 8-foot Optimist. What makes this upcoming week unique is the combination of tuition, team and fleet regattas that engage beginners and advanced riders alike, all in one event.
“We look forward to welcoming our local, regional and international sailors with their families, friends and coaches to share the ideal sailing conditions and warm hospitality here in the US Virgin Islands,” said Emily Zimmerman, regatta director and commodore of the host St Thomas Yacht Club (STYC).
“This event offers our young participants not only the opportunity to challenge their sailing skills, but also to renew and forge new friendships. In addition, we are proud that in the almost three decades that this event has been held, several previous winners and participants have excelled in the sport.
“Our IOR alumni in particular have become national high school champions, college All-Americans, and on the world sailing stage, No. 1 match racers, world champions in the one-design class, Olympians, and team members of America’s Cup campaigns.”
Eleven international coaches, most of whom are national team coaches and all ranked among the top Optimist coaches in the United States and the world, make the TOTE Clinic as educational as it is inspiring for the junior registered 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 the other for coaches. The Founders Trophy is awarded to the best female sailor in the IOR. It aims to encourage more young women to take part in this event and to honor the former top IOR sailors with a name plaque on the eternal trophy.
The Founders Trophy is the brainchild of two of the event’s five founders, Henry and Fredelle Menin, who started the IOR in 1993 with co-founders Verian Tuttle, Karen Paige and the late Bruce Marshall. The new IOR Founders Trophy aligns with the efforts of World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body, to promote gender equality in all aspects of sailing.
New for this year is the first annual Coaches Cup Challenge Opti Race, starting at 5pm on Wednesday 15th June. The fun event’s 11 trainers will climb into an Optimist dinghy and race across the bay. The winning coach gets 100 percent of the braggart rights and 50 percent of the proceeds are donated to his or her home club’s Optimist program. The other half of the proceeds will support the Optimist program at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. The challenge is sponsored by the non-profit St. Thomas Yacht Club Foundation.
Other awards award trophies to the top five sailors in each fleet: Red (age 13-15), Blue (age 11-12), White (age 10 and under), Green (beginner) and the top three sailors overall by score . A Perpetual Trophy introduced in 2017 is inscribed with the names of the overall winners over the past 28 years. Other trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy and the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors from the winning team racing team.
The IOR is sanctioned by the Caribbean Sailing Association.
This year’s event follows an eco-friendly theme. Sailors are encouraged to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle in the goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all packed lunches and wrappers out of the water, pick up all litter on shore and accept drinks without straws.
Event details: https://stthomasyachtclub.org/sailing/regattas/international-optimist-regatta
Source: event media