Carlos Aguilar Match Race Sets Sail
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Dec. 5-7, 2008. Forget T.V. Some of the most exciting sporting action takes place in Charlotte Amalie harbor this weekend. Sit along the waterfront and watch close up and personal six of the top women match racers in the world along with eight of the best male sailors in the Caribbean who will put their sailing skills to the ultimate test in the Grade 2, Carlos Aguilar Match Race Championship, set for December 5 to 7.
Anna Tunnicliffe, 2008 Olympic Gold medal winner in the Laser Radial Class; Liz Baylis, ranked 4th in the world's women's match racing rankings; and Sandy Hayes, 2008 Rolex Women's Match winner, will be headlining the talent in the Invitational Women's Division. Crews in this division are as all-star as the skippers and include 2005 Yngling World Champs and 2008 Olympic sailors, Sally Barkow and Debbie Capozzi, and three-time Olympic Women's 470 and Tornado sailor, Pease Glaser.
Meanwhile, in the Men's Open Division, skippers will be St. Thomas' Taylor Canfield, St. Croix's Peter Stanton, the British Virgin Islands' Alec Anderson and Chris Haycraft, Puerto Rico's Efrain 'Fraito' Lugo, St. Maarten's Frits Bus, Trinidad's Paul Amon, and St. Thomas' Chris Curreri helming a team of sailors from El Salvador, Aguilar's native country.
Sailing will take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6 and from 8 a.m. to Noon on Sunday December 7. There will also be a commentator on the waterfront narrating the action.
Friends of Carlos and Verian Aquilar's are invited to stop at Center Court at Yacht Haven Grande on the evening of Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6 after the racing to toast the life of Carlos and share some of his favorite tequila, Patron and dance to songs he loved. An Awards Ceremony will be held Sunday, December 7 at 1:30 p.m. at Yacht Haven Grande.
Unlike fleet racing, where boats sail far offshore and are scored under a handicap system that's makes it difficult to tell who is winning in real time, match racing pits one boat against another in close competition on a short course near to shore. On-the-water umpires will make instant calls and enforce the rules. The result is some very exciting racing up and down the waterfront where spectators can instantly see who is winning.
"We're committed to leading match racing in the Caribbean," says regatta organizer and host St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) manager, Bill Canfield, of this Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned event. "We intend to make this event an annual affair, make it more international and model it after U.S. Sailing's Bermuda Gold Cup."
Satish Alwani, of Trident Jewels & Time, says, "We are very honored and proud to sponsor the 1st Annual Carlos Aguilar Memorial Match Race Championship. Carlos Aguilar was a dear friend to the St. Thomas sailing community and Trident Jewels & Time and Ulysse Nardin wanted to sponsor this event so that Aguilar would live in our hearts forever."
The event's namesake, Carlos Aguilar, who was killed in 2007, was an avid match racer himself and used every opportunity to encourage others, especially young sailors, to follow in the sport. Match racing has come so far since that come 2012, Women's Match Racing will be included for the first time as an Olympic event.
"Hopefully in years to come," says Canfield, "we'll have plenty of representation from the Caribbean in international match racing events around the globe."
The event will be sailed in IC24s. The IC24, which stands for Inter-Club 24 and was conceived by two STYC members, is a converted J24 equipped with a Melges 24-style deck mold that is wider than the original design and has no traveler.
The STYC is not new to hosting world-class match racing events. The Club organized the Marriott Frenchman's Reef International Match Race - the first Grade One international match race to be held within the Caribbean - in 1997 and again in 1998. More recently, in 2006, the Club hosted the TAG-Heuer Nation's Cup Regional Final. In 2009, the Club will host the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championships.
Major sponsors include Trident Jewels & Time, exclusive distributors of fine timepieces such as Ulysse Nardin; Yacht Haven Grande; Bellows International Ltd.; Premier Wines & Spirits, and Island Sol.
ABOUT THE SPONSOR
Trident Jewels & Time is a family business started by Peter & Nina Alwani in 1980. Since then, Trident Jewels & Time have established a niche for themselves in the retail community specializing in jewelry and watches. Trident has two branches in St. Thomas (Main Street & Yacht Haven Grande Marina) and three branches in Aruba (Little Europe and Times Square). Trident Jewels & Time carries all varieties of jewels such as loose diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, tanzanite, etc. Trident Jewels & Time is also the exclusive authorized retailer for a selection of some of the most exquisite timepieces in the world: Ulysse Nardin, Harry Winston, Franc Muller, Bovet, Jaquet Droz, Bell & Ross, U-Boat, Graham, Technomarine, Romain Jerome, just to name a few.