Steady, consistent winds and clear skies made for perfect conditions for the St. Croix Yacht Club’s Hospice Regatta this weekend.
The regatta, which is also the first leg of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit, also known as CORC, raises funds to help uninsured hospice patients.
St. Croix sailor Morgan Dale, and his crew aboard the Melges 24 Boogaloo, came out as the big winners, taking top honors in the CSA Spinnaker Racing Division. For his effort, Dale won the customary prize of his weight in Cruzan Rum, which race spokesman Richard Biffle said was about eight or nine cases.
“It was perfect,” Biffle said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was almost due east the whole time and blowing steady.”
About 20 large racing boats and 18 youth optimist racers competed in the weekend regatta.
Christiansted’s James Kloss, who took top honors with his 26-foot sloop Ambivalence in the Fun Racing division, said the conditions and competition were top-notch. Kloss’ boat carried two first time sailors, both 16-year-olds from St. Croix, during the races.
“We had an awesome weekend of racing. We were in a group with some of the older and slower boats, but we were still out there having fun,” Kloss said, adding that the regatta worked to include young racers in the big boat divisions.
“We’re trying to move them into the big boats as well.”
The USA’s Stan Joines took second in the division aboard Wind Flower, and Vincenzo Ambrosi finished third aboard Delpine.
Lawrence Aqui, from St. Thomas, won the CSA Performance Cruiser division aboard the Dufour 40 Wild T’ing. Thomas Mullen, from New Hampshire, finished second aboard the J-95 Shamrock VII, and Stephen Schmidt, from St. Thomas, took third aboard the Santa Cruz 70 Hotel California.
A youth regatta, sailed aboard Optimists, also took place out of the yacht club over the weekend.
Rhone Findley, from St. Maarten, took top honors as the overall winner. Among the experienced sailors, Findley was followed by Julio Rojo, Davide Kleeger and Conrad Yanez.
Ryan Hunter took the win in the blue fleet, followed by Bodine Beentjies.
Alec Kupers won the white fleet.
Natalie McConnel won the green fleet for new sailors and also was named top female overall. She was followed by Rachel Conhoff and Christopher Sharpless.
Dawson Kohl received the award for sportsmanship.
Tracy Sanders, founder and president of the hospice provider Continuum Care, said that the regatta has raised nearly $20,000 to help uninsured hospice patients in the Virgin Islands.
“Upward of 30 percent of our population has no health insurance,” Sanders said. “A big part is also to raise awareness that we’re here.”
Piglet, a Teegull 2300 captained by Joseph San Martin out of Christiansted, took first in the Multihull class. Rainbow Rider, a catamaran captained by Ray Styles of Charlotte Amalie, came in second.
The CORC continues March 18-20 with its second leg of racing in the Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta at Palmas del Mar in Humacao.
BY SEAN MCCOY (DAILY NEWS STAFF) Virgin Islands Daily News
Published: February 14, 2011