Regatta season in the northeastern Caribbean is coming soon. The St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta starts things off on February 19th, with an Opti Clinic for the youngsters and a fabulous rum party for the adults, followed by lots of great racing, February 20-21, 2010. “Inspired by Competition ~ Enhanced with Compassion is the regatta’s mission statement,” says Julie San Martin, regatta director. “In addition to being a great warm-up for boats and their crews (Competition), we are sailing for a worthwhile cause, supporting hospice services for all who need it on St. Croix (Compassion).”
The winning CSA Spinnaker-1 skipper will get his/her weight in Cruzan Rum and an invitation to the Hospice Regattas National Championship, held in Rochester, NY, next June.The competition will include up to thirty other Hospice Regatta winners from the U.S. and Canada.
In St. Croix, racing is for the entire family. As many as thirty 8-15 year-olds will compete in 4 Optimist divisions after attending an Opti Clinic, back-by-popular-demand, to improve their skills. The kids also get breakfast and lunches, included in the entry fee, and the overall winner gets his/her weight in sports drink.
In addition to Opti and CSA racers, the regatta invites all local and visiting live-aboards, cruising boats and multihulls to race in the Buck Island Channel, and promises at least one day of point-to-point racing, including the challenging Christiansted town race. One-design IC-24’s and Rhodes 19’s are invited to race in the protected waters of Teague Bay, with lunch ashore at the yacht club.
The St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta is an all-volunteer effort to raise funds and awareness for hospice care on St. Croix. Over one-third of the St. Croix population are under-insured or have no health insurance coverage at all. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go to support the end-of-life medical needs of St. Croix residents, ensuring a dignified and peaceful closure to their lives regardless of their ability to pay. As of November 2009, Hospice Regattas netted more than US$1million for hospice care in their communities. Fiscal non-profit sponsorship, provided by the St. Croix Foundation, offers donors 501(c) (3) tax deductible sponsorship options at several levels.
Acknowledging the challenges of U.S. entry requirements, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers will be at the club on Friday to welcome visitors arriving by boat. There is plenty of anchoring room in Teague Bay, making for a one-stop registration, clearance and party experience.
Some might say, the most compassionate part of the regatta is the “enter now, pay later” provision. Food and entertainment will be available all weekend, and to better plan a memorable party and regatta, San Martin asks skippers to pick a class and to register online. “Please enter early,” she says, “No payment is due until February 19, and there are no penalties if you are unable to show up for any reason.” That said, St. Croix offers great sailing in February, competing for a worthy cause, and its famous Crucian hospitality: racers are encouraged to make their plans now!
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