A Caribbean Battle Royal | sailing world


The Juhnksho team, winners of the last 2019 Helly Hansen Caribbean Championship in the British Virgin Islands.
Dave Roseau

The waters of the British Virgin Islands feature many regattas, the BVI Spring and Interline Regatta being among the most recognised, but the one annual regatta that few racers know about is one that could very well be the hardest to win. That would, of course, be our very own Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series Caribbean Championship, which will be contested again at the end of October after a three-year COVID hiatus. Nine teams from across the continental United States will line up for the season title on Sunsail rental boats packed with family and friends.

Six of the nine competitors earned their place by nature by winning their respective class at a Helly Hansen World Sailing Regatta in the past three years. Two teams caught wind of the action and were welcomed to take on the Caribbean Challengers. A final team is that of a former reigning champion who is keen to reclaim the throne lost years ago to the team under the Marblehead flag which was called ‘Team Juhnksho’. You can read about it here.

This particular champion is skipper Jim Sear, of Long Beach, Calif. Long ago, Sears earned its place as the top Viper 640 skipper at the San Diego leg of the regatta series. He has since sold his Viper (FNG) and enjoyed the benefits of racing on other people’s boats, as well as his remote-controlled racing boat (and here, too, he collects gear). His proven skills in achieving unprecedented speed from a loaded bareboat charter vessel are worthy of consideration for those about to take on the former Caribbean defender.

And speaking of champions, next on our list of BVI skippers is David Stark, fresh out of a fourth place in the US Sailing Champions Championship (sailed in MC Scows). Starck is also known for being the 2022 Lightning Class World Champion. He and his brother Tom, along with the team of forwards Jenna Probst, were Lightning Class Champions at the St. Petersburg leg of the series of regattas this year. There is an intentional repetition of “champion” here…to convey that the Starck family and anyone who joins them will undoubtedly give Sears and Co. a run for their rum.

Representing the one-design sailing talent pool that is Annapolis, Maryland, will be co-skippers Will and Mary Crump, J/80 class legends and overall winners from Annapolis two years ago. The two-time North American J/80 champions just missed out on the podium at October’s J/80 World Championship in Newport, Rhode Island by just 3 points, so they’ll arrive in Tortola with two distinct advantages: they’re on a launched and they have participated in this championship once before. They know the importance of going the long haul and are familiar with the regatta’s six-leg racecourse, which connects the gems of the British Virgin Islands over five days of anchor-to-anchor racing.

The ultimate in onboard racing is at the Helly Hansen Caribbean Championship. No hotels here… the cockpits are made for cocktails.
Dave Roseau

Representing the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg Regatta as Caribbean Challenger, Tampa Bay’s favorite skipper Melges 24 Gary Schwarting, which has been sitting on its golden ticket for over a year. by Schwarting Obsession is perhaps the true dark horse of the fleet, and their biggest challenge will be transferring the skills of the Melges 24 to the more displacement-focused 46ft. With no spinnakers aboard the rental boats, the real test is the wing-to-wing technique and the commitment to deploy the jib for more than 10 miles, under the scorching tropical sun.

At this year’s Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in San Diego, it was Rodolphe Haslis an immaculate, perfectly sailed J/145 that has swept all seven races in its seven-boat ORC division. Those who witnessed the victory said it was faultless, a testament to the team Hasl assembled for the coastal regatta. His yacht, Paelemon, is also a regular on the Southern California offshore racing scene, and he’s once been quoted of the philosophy of a winning team: “Building a team is key,” he said. he told the San Diego YC media team ahead of the 2021 SoCal. 300. “The boat needs a team that likes to work together and knows the boat and its sailing conditions very well. We all have to depend on each other in a race of this nature. We need qualified drivers and adjusters. We need the crew to be able to adapt during the race to changing conditions, including sail changes and the ability to take care of any issues that may arise.

This, of course, will also apply to the Caribbean Championship, with the exception of sail changes. More like… changes to the sail trim… or changes to the playlist or cooler rotation.

The Biggest Challenge For Our Winning Chicago Co-Owners Gary Powell and Scott Rhulanderwelcomed the oversized crew pool of friends and family who make their Beneteau 40.7 Mojo such a successful program. How could they leave someone at home?

Their solution was to just get a bigger boat, duh. While the Caribbean Championship has traditionally been a strictly one-design experience, a limited inventory of monohulls at Sunsail’s Tortola base and a larger-than-ever fleet for the Championship has opened up the possibility of including larger boats, which will be scored using a reliable system and proven scoring scheme, which regatta PRO Dick Neville will skillfully apply.

When once requested by hometown sailing rag editors Spinsheet magazine what allows the crew to work together? Annapolis J/105 co-owner Cedric Lewis said, “We never put ourselves down. If we get off to a bad start, we set ourselves smaller goals, like ‘let’s pass two boats on this leg!’ This keeps everyone engaged and working together. We are all friends and enjoy doing things together on and off the water.

This is the formula that won Cedric Lewis and partner Fredrik Salvesen and their team on Mirage the berth at this year’s Annapolis Regatta. When they were selected at the end of the awards that day, they were thrilled and also shocked. After so many years of winning their class and never being selected, they were sure the selection process was rigged against them. A large team with a large number of regulars, their challenge – like their Chicago competitors – their inclusive solution was to charter a big cat and fill it with crew. Fresh supplies are essential.

There’s plenty of train time on the Caribbean Championship, with plenty of vitamin D and views to admire for miles.

For competitors in this challenge, fair warning is given to the true dark horse of stephen hoschit is Team Omaha. Yes. Nebraska is where this team will be hailing from and Captain Hosch has sailed the BVI 29 or 30 times as long as he can remember. He teaches sailing and is one of the finest gentleman sailors to ever join the regatta. He participated years ago in the Caribbean Championship and still remembers today one of his greatest sailing memories: crushing Jims and Co., at the finish, by a few centimeters.

On the list is an unknown team called the “Snipers”. They are snipers, but more like Snipe sailors from Bow Mar, Colorado, not far from Denver. They once competed in a Helly Hansen regatta in the Lightning fleet and caught wind of the championship. David Boulanger, which owns its share of the Sunsail charter fleet, thought heck, let’s go and see what all the fuss is about. With extensive experience crossing the Sir Francis Drake Channel in charter boats, he knows where the wind shadows lie and he knows the importance of good jib pole technique, which is also essential in Snipes qu they drive. One would suspect that they would be one of the fastest teams on the run, of which there are many to come.

Caribbean Championship competitors are permitted and encouraged to construct jib posts from local materials. A good pole is a fast pole.
Dave Roseau

The Championship begins on October 21 with a five-day circumnavigation of Cooper and surrounding islands, followed by a leg from Cooper to Virgin Gorda where sailors will enjoy a day of rest and respite at the iconic Bitter End. Yacht club. Then comes the long downwind to Jost Van Dyke, and the next day’s sprint to Norman Island. The final day’s buoy races will give them the opportunity to show off their new bareboat skills and serve to break any ties, if any. And we expect it to be.

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