Monday, May 22, 2017 11:22 pm Last modified: 3:39 pm

Registration Open for International Optimist Regatta, Clinic and Team Race Set for June 12-18

The Advanced Optimist Fleet sails downwind with St. Thomas in the background, 2016. (Credit: Dean Barnes)

The 25th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), presented by EMS (Electronic Merchant Systems) Virgin Islands, is one of the first and largest regattas in the Caribbean to promote youth sailing will take place June 12-18. It will include a kick-off TOTE Maritime Clinic and TOTE Maritime Team Race. Registration is now open.

“We are looking forward to another great year and expect to have 85 to 100 sailors again this year. Currently, we have sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua and several states in the USA,” said Ann Nicolosi, who is the regatta co-director with Holly Jenkins. “Additionally, we are planning a special celebration to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of IOR. Looking back on the past 25 years, we have seen this regatta grow from a local event to an international one, attracting some of the best Optimist sailors in the world.”

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Impressively, past winners and participants in the IOR have become college All-Americans, and on the world sailing stage, they have become first-ranked match racers, one-design class world champions, Olympians and team members on America’s Cup campaigns.

St. Thomas’ Mia Nicolosi, last year’s overall champion, will be back, as will Stephen Baker from the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Florida, who finished third overall last year and will definitely keep Nicolosi and the other advanced fleet sailors on their toes.

Junior sailors listen to coached during an instructive clinic at the St. Thomas Yacht Club as part of the TOTE Maritime Clinic. (Credit: Matias Capizzano)

The TOTE Maritime Clinic is set for June 12-14. Some of the best Optimist coaches in the world conduct on-the-water training sessions instructive on-land debriefs for both advanced (Red, White and Blue Fleets) and beginner (Green Fleet) sailors. The coaches are Gonzalo Pollitzer (currently coaching the Norwegian Optimist Team), Manny Resano (California Yacht Club, USA), Eric Bardes (Team LIMA – Long Island Mid Atlantic, USA), Omari Scott (Coral Reef Yacht Club, USA), Santiago Galan (St. Croix Yacht Club, USVI), Esteban Rocha (Sequoia Yacht Club, USA), and Agustin Resano (St Thomas Yacht Club USVI).

This talented team boasts amazing resumes, including coaching sailors, both boys and girls, to first place and podium finishes in the Optimist Worlds, South Americans, North Americans and Asians in fleet and team racing.

“The clinic will be focused on starts, strategy and tactics,” said Agustin Resano. “The advantage of having a clinic to practice followed immediately afterwards by a regatta is the chance for sailors to put everything together. It’s the best type of training and with coaches that are among the best in the U.S. and world.”

The TOTE Maritime Clinic cost is $350, which includes breakfast and lunch for the three days. Clinic registration closes on May 15.

Top Three Overall Winners in the 2016 International Optimist Regatta ( L to R): the USA’s Daven Subbiah (2nd), USVI’s Mia Nicolosi (1st), and USA’s Stephan Baker (3rd). (Credit: Dean Barnes)

Over a dozen teams are expected for the TOTE Maritime Team Race, on June 15. Entry fee for this one-day event is $160 per team of four sailors. Registration is available only on-site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 14.

“The IOR …takes place June 16 to 18. The entry fee is $250. After May 15, the late entry fee is $275. This entry fee includes an event T-shirt, registration goodie bag, and all meals from Thursday dinner through Sunday brunch.

The IOR is sponsored by EMS Virgin Islands, TOTE Maritime, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and K3 Waterproof Gear.

To register, visit https://www.regattanetwork.com/html/calendar.php

For charter boats, request and confirm online at www.optistuff.com. Or, contact Pete Gregory of McLaughlin Boat Works at 1 (423) 875-0740, 1 (423) 875-4040 or (toll free in the U.S.) 1 (800) 784-6478; or e-mail: pete@optistuff.com. The deadline to reserve charter boats is May 31.

For accommodations, call the Elysian (800-775-1000 ext. 568) or VP Rentals (800-788-4847). Rent condos or villas thorough Sea Glass Properties (340-774-5277), John Foster Real Estate (340-775-9500) or Curreri & Co. (340-776-9292).

For more information, call (340) 775-6320 or e-mail: internationaloptiregatta@gmail.com, or visit the host St. Thomas Yacht Club Web site at www.styc.club

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