Registration opens for International Optimist Regatta

Specialized training for competitive sailing is part of the pre-race activity planned next month as part of the International Optimist Regatta on St. Thomas. 
Photo Credit: Dean Barnes

Promoters of competitive sailing for youth recently opened registration for the 2017 International Optimist Regatta. Competitors from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland are expected when the St. Thomas race begins June 12.

The two day regatta is scheduled to start June 16, but sailors are also invited to attend a sailing clinic where they can learn advanced techniques. Ninety young mariners took part in 2016. An equal number are expected this year.

IOR Regatta co-director Ann Nicolosi said 2017 marks the event’s 25th year. A special celebration is being planned.

Nicolosi said 91 competitors have registered over the past 10 days and more are expected, including a possible entry from Turkey.

“We are planning a special celebration to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of IOR. Looking back on the past 25 years, we have seen this regatta grow from a local event to an international one attracting some of the best Optimist sailors in the world,” Nicolosi said.

From June 12 to 14, TOTE Maritime Agency USVI hosts a sailing skills workshop, featuring top trainers and coaches.

“Some of the best Optimist coaches in the world conduct on-the-water training sessions instructive on-land debriefs for both advanced (Red, White and Blue Fleets) and beginner (Green Fleet) sailors,” Nicolosi said.

The coaching team includes Gonzalo Pollitzer (currently coaching the Norwegian Optimist Team), Manny Resano (California Yacht Club, USA), Eric Bardes (Team LIMA (Long Island Mid Atlantic), USA), Omari Scott (Coral Reef Yacht Club, USA), Santiago Galan (St. Croix Yacht Club, USVI), Esteban Rocha (Sequoia Yacht Club, USA), and Agustin Resano (St Thomas Yacht Club USVI).

“The clinic will be focused on starts, strategy, and tactics,” says Agustin Resano. “The advantage of having a clinic to practice followed immediately afterwards by a regatta is the chance for sailors to ‘put everything together’. It’s the best type of training and with coaches that are among the best in the U.S. and the world.”

A TOTE Maritime team racing event follows June 15, with race registration set for June 14. At least ten teams are expected to compete in that event.

Top youth sailors from 2016 are expected to make a reappearance for the main event — the IOR. Among them, Mia Nicolosi from St. Thomas and Steven Baker from the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Florida.

“Baker is the top sailor. We know that because they are ranked in something called the Team Trials, which concluded recently. Baker was ranked number one, so he’ll be one to watch out for,” the organizer said.

The entry fee for the youth regatta is $250. After May 15, the late entry fee is $275. 

The IOR is sponsored by Electronic Merchant Systems, Virgin Islands TOTE Maritime, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and K3 Waterproof Gear.

To register, visit: The Notice of Race is available at:

For charter boats, request and confirm online at Or, contact Pete Gregory, McLaughlin Boat Works, 1 (423) 875-0740, 1 (423) 875-4040 or Toll Free in the U.S. 1 (800) 784-6478; Email:

The deadline to reserve charter boats is May 31, 2017.