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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page." -- St. Augustine

183--St. Croix: Racing in the St. Croix Regatta
@ CherieSpotting     Feb 18 2004 - 05:25 PST
cherie writes: If a sailor’s passion is the sea, then what could be more fitting than an international sailing regatta on Valentine’s Day? There is nothing like the salty taste of rum on your lips when the air is laced with the sweet scent of suntan lotion. Our holiday weekend was filled with warm sun, good wind, cold beer and cheap rum.

This year, Newport Beach sailors (Phil, Mark, Lee, Joe and I) joined forces with Caribbean sailors Luke, Dolly and Erin to compete in the 11th Annual St. Croix International Regatta. Together, we took the Caribbean by storm.

We enjoyed three days of serious racing in the Buck Island Channel and three days of serious partying at the St. Croix Yacht Club. Awards were given to the fastest three boats in each division. The winner of the regatta was presented with the Captain’s weight in rum.

Yachts from all over the world showed up to compete in the regatta which was held in the U.S. Virgin Islands on February 14-16th, 2004.

The Newport Beach crew took third place racing on “4 Play”, a Beneteau 505. First went to “Balaju” (a C&C 36) and second went to “Hotel California” (a Santa Cruz 70.)

Phil saw the race results a different way. Always the optimist, Phil said: “Except for those other two boats, we got first place!” After all, we didn’t fly all the way from Los Angeles to get third place.

Luke, from BVI Yacht Charters, was willing to do anything to help our team—he even did a head-stand in the middle of the race. The young Dutchman’s acrobatics wasn’t enough to get us a first—but we did get first place in fun. (Note: please see our bar tab for evidence of fun.)

“Balaju”, armed with a crazy team of Puerto Ricans, won the first three races in our division. Then disaster struck. Winds kicked up to 25 knots and caused many boats to capsize. “Balaju” didn’t turn turtle, but they did snap their boom in half.

The “Balaju” crew was devastated at the thought of dropping out after the third race (out of five.) But instead of giving up, “Balaju” crew began to scour the island of St. Croix for a new boom. On the final day of racing, “Balaju” was there—a new boom and a commitment to take nothing less than first place.

Then on the way out to the final race the C&C 36 ran aground. After a precarious few minutes and a fortunate wind shift, “Balaju” freed herself and finished proud. Puerto Rican sailors are some of the finest.

The Newport Beach crew left the St. Croix Regatta with sore muscles, sore skin, and sore livers. But with a third place award in hand, we are ready for next sailing adventure—the Heineken Regatta in March.

* We chartered “4 Play” from BVI Yacht Charters in Tortola. Arjan, CEO of BVI Yacht Charters, has forty boats available from the Beneteau 311 to the Atoll 50. See www.bviyachtcharters.com for more information. For more info about the St. Croix Regatta see www.stcroixyc.com

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Dolly, Erin and Cherie help "4 Play" (a boat chartered from BVI Yacht Charters) get 3rd place in the St. Croix Regatta.

Dolly, Erin and Cherie help "4 Play" (a boat chartered from BVI Yacht Charters) get 3rd place in the St. Croix Regatta.

Can you do a head-stand under sail?  Luke can!

Can you do a head-stand under sail? Luke can!

Phil, Luke, Dolly and Joe.

Phil, Luke, Dolly and Joe.

Co-captains Mark and Phil.

Co-captains Mark and Phil.

Joe is free like the wind.

Joe is free like the wind.

Racing.

Racing.

Lee is all smiles.

Lee is all smiles.

Hold on!

Hold on!

Phil driving, Cherie on the jib sheet.

Phil driving, Cherie on the jib sheet.

Luke grinding.

Luke grinding.

Hard work, Caribbean style.

Hard work, Caribbean style.

Cherie at the helm.

Cherie at the helm.

A rough life for Erin and Dolly.

A rough life for Erin and Dolly.

Joe...that is such a cute bikini!

Joe...that is such a cute bikini!

Joe, Lee and Mark.

Joe, Lee and Mark.

Captain Phil and Dutch-boy Luke (from BVI Yacht Charters.)

Captain Phil and Dutch-boy Luke (from BVI Yacht Charters.)

Piglet gets into a bit of trouble.

Piglet gets into a bit of trouble.

Balaju, our competitors.

Balaju, our competitors.

Lee takes a cigar break.

Lee takes a cigar break.

Jenn joins us for one day of racing.

Jenn joins us for one day of racing.

The St. Croix Yacht Club.

The St. Croix Yacht Club.

Joe is so happy his teeth are about to burst out of his mouth.

Joe is so happy his teeth are about to burst out of his mouth.

4 Play's pirate battle flag.

4 Play's pirate battle flag.

A Diet Coke and a smile.

A Diet Coke and a smile.

Sail away.

Sail away.

Phil checks the trim on the jib.

Phil checks the trim on the jib.

An angry cloud rolls in.

An angry cloud rolls in.

Lee grinds in the rain.

Lee grinds in the rain.

The Santa Cruz 70 pulls ahead.

The Santa Cruz 70 pulls ahead.

Just another day racing.

Just another day racing.

Erin found the rum!

Erin found the rum!

It was Luke's first sailing race and we put his young muscles to work.

It was Luke's first sailing race and we put his young muscles to work.

Phil is such a competent sailor, he can steer with his toe.

Phil is such a competent sailor, he can steer with his toe.

Lee on the main.

Lee on the main.

"Hotel California", a Santa Cruz 70, took 2nd place in our division.

"Hotel California", a Santa Cruz 70, took 2nd place in our division.

The flag of St. Croix.

The flag of St. Croix.

The Puerto Rican crew of Balaju takes first place in the "cruising division" of the St. Croix Regatta.

The Puerto Rican crew of Balaju takes first place in the "cruising division" of the St. Croix Regatta.

Balaju butts.

Balaju butts.

Luke hangs off the transom.

Luke hangs off the transom.

What a Dolly!

What a Dolly!

Racing in St. Croix.

Racing in St. Croix.

Phil and Luke.

Phil and Luke.

Dolly in her racing bikini.

Dolly in her racing bikini.

Balaju crew knows how to party.

Balaju crew knows how to party.

After the race, Joe takes a public shower.

After the race, Joe takes a public shower.

Phil's ready for a cool dip!

Phil's ready for a cool dip!

Bombs away!  Phil's almost ready for the Olympics.

Bombs away! Phil's almost ready for the Olympics.

Dolly at the helm.

Dolly at the helm.

3rd place goes to 4 Play--our team!

3rd place goes to 4 Play--our team!

First place goes to Balaju!

First place goes to Balaju!

Kevin, the Captain of Willy T, wins his weight in rum.

Kevin, the Captain of Willy T, wins his weight in rum.

That's a lot of rum.  Good thing there are a lot of thirsty sailors.

That's a lot of rum. Good thing there are a lot of thirsty sailors.

The crew of Balaju.

The crew of Balaju.

If you don't have a boat, just fly your plane right into the ancorage.

If you don't have a boat, just fly your plane right into the ancorage.

4 Play "pirates" Luke, Cherie and Joe celebrate their success.

4 Play "pirates" Luke, Cherie and Joe celebrate their success.

Let's just sail until the sun sets.

Let's just sail until the sun sets.

Erin and Luke.

Erin and Luke.

Working hard. *Photo by Luke

Working hard. *Photo by Luke

Cherie driving. *Photo by Luke

Cherie driving. *Photo by Luke

Rail meat. *Photo by Luke

Rail meat. *Photo by Luke

What a poser! *Photo by Luke

What a poser! *Photo by Luke

Serious racing? *Photo by Luke

Serious racing? *Photo by Luke

Phil at the helm. *Photo by Luke

Phil at the helm. *Photo by Luke