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International Rolex Regatta Fills Easter Weekend

March 13, 2005 — Early registration and the sailing grapevine are hinting at a number of high points for the 2005 International Rolex Regatta, to be held off St. Thomas, USVI over March 25-27. The three-day event, which returns to Easter Weekend this year, brings an explosion of sailors to St. Thomas Yacht Club, which is hosting the regatta for its 32nd year. As such, the International Rolex Regatta is one of the Caribbean’s oldest and most revered sailing events.
Four-time fleet winner Tom Hill (San Juan, PR) is coming with his 75-foot Titan XII, fresh off a great showing at Key West Race Week, winning his class in St. Maarten, and a record-setting performance in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Jamaica. Two other International Rolex Regatta regulars, the 73-foot Donnybrook, owned by James Muldoon (Washington, D.C.), and the 68-foot Equation, owned by Bill Alcott (Detroit, Mich.), also raced to Jamaica with Titan XII and are expected to continue the maxi boat battle in Virgin Island waters.
"The International Rolex Regatta gets consistently better," said James Muldoon, "and St. Thomas is better than it ever was before. That's why I keep coming back–good racing, nice people and a great environment." Muldoon added that his crew has to agree with where he wants to race, because Donnybrook's is an amateur program, not a professional program like some of the other big boats maintain. Muldoon will be up against the "pros" on Titan XII, including America's Cup veterans Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), who will serve as tactician, and Mike Toppa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), who has organized Titan’s ace crew.
For long range planning, it is hard to beat the Bulgarian team entered with their Bull 9000 Push The Tempo. Vassil Beyazov and Dimitar Dimitriev are the main organizers of the project, and four other crew members will join them in the adventure. Push The Tempo is making the International Rolex Regatta the high point of its full Caribbean racing season; then it will head for the Pacific for more racing.
The home-grown IC-24 class is expecting a new record turnout with reports of 20 boats, up from last year's 14 entrants. Class founder Chris Rosenberg (St. Thomas), who also will compete, expects competition to be fierce. "There are five or six teams that will show the consistency needed to win the regatta," predicted Rosenberg, "and more than ten teams that will have the ability to win any given race–and that just covers the people I know who are coming!"
From a spectator’s point of view, the newly proposed races running down the south side of St. Thomas toward the Charlotte Amalie Harbor and back will double the chances of watching the regatta in action. Homes and hotels on the eastern end of the island already share great views of the races going through Pilsbury Sound between St. Thomas and St. John.
While other Caribbean regattas cater to charter boats, the International Rolex Regatta tends to draw more from the hard-core racing teams. Approximately 100 entries are expected from the Caribbean, U.S. mainland, Canada and Europe, and will race in up to 10 classes, including spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions. The winning sailors in each class receive a Rolex timepiece and, of course, bragging rights.
To keep the action on the water running smoothly Principal Race Officer (PRO) John Bonds (Charleston, S.C.) has added extra talent on his Race Committee. Bonds will have Dave Brennan (Miami, Fla.) acting as his second-in-command. Brennan most recently was PRO for the highly competitive Melges 24 class at Key West Race Week.
With quality racing as the prerogative on the water, having fun is the name of the game back on shore, where beach parties, bands and other exciting social events rule through the weekend leading up to the Rolex Prize Giving.
"The International Rolex Regatta combines world-class racing with warm waters, steady trade winds and the legendary hospitality of our America’s Paradise, to create an unequalled venue for racing enthusiasts," said Race Director Tracy Roberts. "It’s not difficult to grasp why the regatta is known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing.’"
For information, contact St. Thomas Yacht Club at 340-775-6320, or Regatta Director Tracy Roberts at 340-777-2345; Tracy@springlinearchitects.com. The regatta web page is www.rolexcupregatta.com where further information and online-entry forms can be found.

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