It’s regatta time!

It’s regatta time!

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Puerto Rico’s Lazy Dog crew race in the St. Thomas International Regatta. Photo: Dean Barnes

Three of the Caribbean’s biggest regattas take place this month: The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, St. Thomas International Regatta and BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Sailors and sailing enthusiasts alike come from around the world to race and watch. It’s an excellent opportunity to join in the fun on sea and shore. New this year, all three regattas offer added racing before their main three-day events.

St. Maarten kicks off with its Gill Commodores Cup March 3-6. Like last year, all classes—not just the racers—are welcome to enter. The St. Thomas International Regatta (March 24-27) launches its first-ever Round the Rocks Race on. The course is a beautiful circumnavigation of the adjacent U.S.V.I. of St. John. The B.V.I.’s Sailing Festival (March 28th-April 3rd), as part of its 45th anniversary celebration, offers two days of warm-up racing.

What make these regattas so great, too, are the calibre of talent and the spectacular yachts. For example, Dutch-based Team Brunel aboard their 65-foot Volvo Ocean Racer is entered in St. Maarten. This sleek, canting keel yacht will be on the dock at the St. Maarten Yacht Club, so it’s easy to get a close up and personal look at this amazing racing machine. An entire class of Gunboats will race in St. Thomas, including the U.S.’s Phil Lotz and Robert Alexander on the GB 60s, Arethusa and Fault Tolerant, respectively, as well as Jason Carroll’s GB 62 Elvin. Over a dozen VX One teams from as far away as Australia will be racing in St. Thomas and in the B.V.I. as part of the inaugural two-leg VX One Caribbean Cup. Most exciting is that all three regattas offer a vibe that isn’t equalled anywhere else in the world and the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s Cup veterans, Olympic medallists and world champions with free-flowing rum in hand and toe-tapping to a pulsating Caribbean beat. No blue blazers or membership cards required. heinekenregatta.com, stthomasinternationalregatta.com, bvispringregatta.org

Charter by the stateroom in the B.V.I.

If you ever wanted to take a crewed yacht charter in the Caribbean but didn’t have the cash or crowd of family and friends for an entire boat, no worries. The Moorings makes it easy. Now, in the B.V.I. only, you can charter one of three staterooms aboard a Moorings 4600 or Moorings 4800 catamaran. Dates are pre-determined, while meals, beverages (including fully stocked bar), snacks, water sports, Wi-Fi, and housekeeping are included. Prices range from $3,800 to $6,500 for double occupancy, for seven days. “Sail Away Staterooms are still a highly personalized experience, with a professional captain and gourmet chef providing experiences and culinary delights that are designed to meet guests’ preferences,” says Carol Hansen, senior content manager for the Clearwater, Florida-headquartered The Moorings. Another unique advantage is the opportunity to meet new people and experience affordable island-hopping aboard a luxury yacht. moorings.com 

By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating Magazine March 2016