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Seven Classes Compete at Cruzan Open One Design Regatta

Perfect conditions with 12 to 15 knot breezes and sunny skies set the scene for keen competition at the Cruzan Open One Design Regatta, sailed out of the St. Croix Yacht Club, May 28 and 29. Nearly 40 sailors hailing from all three U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands competed in seven classes and completed a total of 14 races each.

In the Optimist class, the largest of the regatta with 16 boats registered, St. Croix’s Jae Tonachel was the victor overall and also in the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet. In the 11- to 12-year-old Blue Fleet, and hot on Tonachel’s heels for the overall honor, was Billy Gibbons, also of St. Croix. Both Tonachel and Gibbons are among five junior sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands that will compete in the Optimist World Championships later this summer in Switzerland. St. Thomas’ Ian Barrows won the age 10 and under White Fleet.

True to expectations, USVI Olympian Tim Pitts dominated the Laser class. Pitts specifically came home to St. Croix for the regatta and to coach some of the island’s local sailors. His former mentor and training partner, Beecher Higby, placed second in the Laser Class, while Tortola’s Bryshaun Scatcliffe ended third. Racing along with the Lasers were the Laser Radials, which is the same type of boat with a smaller sail for lighter sailors. The BVI’s Bob Phillips won this class, with Crucians Sydney Jones second and Christopher Schreiber third.

The kids weren’t the only ones having fun on the water. The weekend’s racing saw the parents take over the two-man 420 Class. Four boats raced in this class, each of which was crewed by at least one parent of a child competing in another class. These teams raced as much for the fun of being on the water as for the competition. Normally, these parents only get to watch their kids sail! In the end, the team of St. Croix’s Felice Quigley and St. Thomas’ Sue Cilliers won, with the Crucian team of Debbie Schreiber and Karen McCoy placing second, and St. Croix’s Ivan Diaz with St. Thomas’ Karen Rice finishing third.

St. Croix’s Kurt Walcott won the Sunfish Class, with fellow Crucian Shane Ryan-Bataller second and Alan Mallory third, both pushing Walcott all the way.

Regatta director, Chris Schreiber says, “Although the competition was tight, the friendships and camaraderie were evident throughout. Most of the racers ranged in age from 8 to 18, and the fun of interacting with friends from other islands was as important as the racing.”

A Hawaiian Luau at the Yacht Club on Saturday night gave everyone time to socialize and dance, with music by St. Croix’s popular Thaddeus Toad.


Optimist Red

1st:Jae Tonachel (STX)

2nd: Tyler Rice (STT)

3rd: Mayumi Roller (STJ)

Optimist Blue

1st: Billy Gibbons (STX)

2nd: Morgan Bryan (STX)

3rd:Alex Coyle(STJ)

Optimist White

1st:Ian Barrows(STT)

2nd: Christopher Cilliers (STT)

3rd: Challis Diaz(STX)


1st:Tim Pitts (STX)

2nd: Beecher Higby (STX)

3rd: Bryshaun Scatcliffe(BVI)

Laser Radial

1st:Bob Phillips(BVI)

2nd: Sydney Jones (STX)

3rd: Christopher Schreiber (STX)


1st: Felice Quigley/Sue Cilliers

2nd: Debbie Schreiber/Karen McCoy

3rd:Ivan Diaz/Karen Rice


1st:Kurt Walcott (STX)

2nd: Shane Ryan-Bataller (STX)

3rd:Alan Mallory (STX)

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