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HomeNewsArchives7 TO COMPETE IN ST. CROIX YACHT CLUB MATCH RACE

7 TO COMPETE IN ST. CROIX YACHT CLUB MATCH RACE

Nov. 1, 2001 – This weekend, the St. Croix Yacht Club will host the 2nd annual St. Croix Caribbean Invitational Match Race, pitting seven of the region's top skippers against one another in the one-on-one form of competition made popular by events such as the America's Cup and the Virgin Islands' own Marriott's Frenchman's Reef International Match Race.
Competing will be Frits Bus from Sint Maarten, Guy Eldridge from the British Virgin Islands, Robbie Ferron from Antigua, Michael Green from St. Lucia and three V.I. sailors — Fletcher Pitts from St. John, Chris Rosenberg from St. Thomas and Chris Schreiber from St. Croix.
The invitational race was open to one skipper from any one island who had qualified to represent that locale by winning a local yacht club competition.
Racing will be aboard the St. Croix club's fleet of Rhodes 19 sailboats with three-member crews. Each race, called a "flight," is between two boats and will last about 15 minutes. There will be about 20 races on Saturday.
The races will be sailed in Teague Bay on St. Croix's North Shore. On Saturday, the matches start at 9 a.m. and go until 5 p.m. On Sunday, they start at 9 a.m. and are expected to end around 2 p.m., with awards to be presented around 3 p.m.
The sailors will be racing in a round-robin format, ensuring that all skippers sail against each other at least once. Crews will be switching boats as well, so that no one vessel is considered to have an advantage, even though they are all technically the same design.
"Match racing is unique in that the racers are followed closely by umpires in boats who make penalty calls on the spot, thus eliminating frustrating waits after the races for protest hearings," Linda Bruton, St. Croix Yacht Club public relations person, noted. "The penalized boat must complete a penalty turn before finishing in order to clear the penalty."
Umpires are from different islands to ensure impartiality, she added.
"This type of competition provides a different challenge for the skippers, who often try to force their opponents into penalty situations," Bruton said. "This leads to many interesting two-boat duels and makes match racing more interesting as a spectator sport than normal fleet sailboat racing."
She said the public is invited to watch the races from the overlook above Teague Bay. "Bring folding chairs, an umbrella and some binoculars, and you'll have a pretty good view," she said.
Years ago, match racing used to be popular in St. Lucia. Recently, international umpire Henry Menin of St. Thomas has rekindled interest in the Caribbean. This weekend's race has attracted the interest of the International Sailing Federation, which plans to post the results on its web site.
For more information, call the St. Croix Yacht Club at 773-9531.

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Nov. 1, 2001 - This weekend, the St. Croix Yacht Club will host the 2nd annual St. Croix Caribbean Invitational Match Race, pitting seven of the region's top skippers against one another in the one-on-one form of competition made popular by events such as the America's Cup and the Virgin Islands' own Marriott's Frenchman's Reef International Match Race.
Competing will be Frits Bus from Sint Maarten, Guy Eldridge from the British Virgin Islands, Robbie Ferron from Antigua, Michael Green from St. Lucia and three V.I. sailors -- Fletcher Pitts from St. John, Chris Rosenberg from St. Thomas and Chris Schreiber from St. Croix.
The invitational race was open to one skipper from any one island who had qualified to represent that locale by winning a local yacht club competition.
Racing will be aboard the St. Croix club's fleet of Rhodes 19 sailboats with three-member crews. Each race, called a "flight," is between two boats and will last about 15 minutes. There will be about 20 races on Saturday.
The races will be sailed in Teague Bay on St. Croix's North Shore. On Saturday, the matches start at 9 a.m. and go until 5 p.m. On Sunday, they start at 9 a.m. and are expected to end around 2 p.m., with awards to be presented around 3 p.m.
The sailors will be racing in a round-robin format, ensuring that all skippers sail against each other at least once. Crews will be switching boats as well, so that no one vessel is considered to have an advantage, even though they are all technically the same design.
"Match racing is unique in that the racers are followed closely by umpires in boats who make penalty calls on the spot, thus eliminating frustrating waits after the races for protest hearings," Linda Bruton, St. Croix Yacht Club public relations person, noted. "The penalized boat must complete a penalty turn before finishing in order to clear the penalty."
Umpires are from different islands to ensure impartiality, she added.
"This type of competition provides a different challenge for the skippers, who often try to force their opponents into penalty situations," Bruton said. "This leads to many interesting two-boat duels and makes match racing more interesting as a spectator sport than normal fleet sailboat racing."
She said the public is invited to watch the races from the overlook above Teague Bay. "Bring folding chairs, an umbrella and some binoculars, and you'll have a pretty good view," she said.
Years ago, match racing used to be popular in St. Lucia. Recently, international umpire Henry Menin of St. Thomas has rekindled interest in the Caribbean. This weekend's race has attracted the interest of the International Sailing Federation, which plans to post the results on its web site.
For more information, call the St. Croix Yacht Club at 773-9531.