Revving Up for 2010; Dates Set for March 26-28

May 26, 2009

Ambiance at St. Thomas Yacht Club.

Sometimes it's hard to believe that 2010 will mark the 37th running of the St. Thomas Yacht Club's International Rolex Regatta. However, the regatta is not only the oldest uninterrupted sporting event in Rolex's global portfolio but also one of the most professionally managed of the spring circuit regattas in the Caribbean. Scheduled for three days, beginning Friday March 26, and ending Sunday, March 28, the 2009 International Rolex Regatta again will offer a blast of great racing on the water and good fun ashore for local and visiting teams from the U.S. and Europe.

We welcome all types of boats, many of which sail under the CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) rule," said Event Co-Chair John Sweeney, "and we also are one of the few regattas in the Caribbean to host IRC-specific classes. "I'm happy to say it has caught on quite well and we are planning for an expanded IRC fleet again next year."

To accommodate some of the larger IRC and CSA boats at marina facilities, the 2009 event rolled out a complimentary berthing offer at Yacht Haven Grande and American Yacht Harbor, which are managed by regatta sponsor Island Global Yachting. The offer, along with the yacht club's concierge-like service for assisting teams with logistics, will again be available for the 2010 event. "I know it's great fun to anchor off the yacht club," said this year's IRC class winner Jim Mitchell (SUI), owner of the RP52 Vincitore, "and so many boats do that and love it, but the truth is the marina suited Vincitore's particular needs, so we welcomed the offer."

Yacht Haven Grande, located in downtown Charlotte Amalie, also served as the venue for a giant reggae music concert and food fest before the last day's final racing showdown in one of the most spectacular sailing arenas in the world. The regatta combines two days of challenging courses that wind magnificently through and around cuts, cays and islands off the east end of St. Thomas with a day of "town races" that take sailors to the island's west end and back. While IRC and CSA rated boats create a colorful spectacle of spinnakers, feisty IC/24 one-design boats and Beach Cats carry out their own intense battles on the race courses. The IC/24s also enjoy a slew of around-the-buoys races that make theirs the longest series in the event and one of the most competitive in the Caribbean.

"There are many reasons why they call the International Rolex Regatta the 'Crown Jewel' of Caribbean racing," said Event Co-Director John Sweeney. "Of course they include the crystal clear waters, fresh trade winds, white sand beaches and beaming sunshine, but also there is the assurance that the competition will be outstanding." Sweeney added that shore side parties also are a signature of the International Rolex Regatta, with live entertainment and plenty of food and drink.

IRR remains a part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series and directly precedes the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which is held "right next door" and links the two to make Virgin Islands Race Week. This year, James Hudleston's (Tortola) Farr 44 Three Harkoms competed in both the IRR and BVI Spring Regatta to become the overall winner of Virgin Islands Race Week. The victory prize was a week's stay at the famous Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda.

Returning as Co-Directors for the event are John Sweeney and Bill Canfield. From the Storm Trysail Club, long time PROs Dave Brennan and Dick Neville will return to run the races, with the famous Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger at the ready as chief judge.

A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the event. The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie.

Along with Island Global Yachting, USVI Tourism is also a sponsor. The St. Thomas Yacht Club wishes to thank Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel, Mount Gay Rum and Heineken, supporters of the event.

Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

For more information, contact Bill Canfield at or 340-775-6320. The Notice of Race and online registration are available at

For information on the International Rolex Regatta, contact:

US Media Contact:

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro Int'l for Rolex
Phone: +1 401-225-0249

International Media Contact:

Key Partners (KPMS)
Susan Maffei Plowden
Phone: +1 401 855 0234