Many members snuck away for a quick stateside vacation over the Thanksgiving break but we will be very active this week at STYC.
Junior Sailing Camp is in full swing for a few days and the breeze is up so we should have some very anxious counselors as the kids test their skills against mother nature.
Don't forget the "no cook on Thursday rule" - Make a reservation for our all you can eat Thanksgiving Feast running from 2 - 6 with some great musical entertainment in the afternoon. Just $30 / person and we are cutting it off soon so don't be left out
We also have a wonderful French Wine / Food pairing this Saturday night and I hear it is filling up fast but a few spots remain
All reservations can be made at 775-6320.
STYC sailors are still doing great things in college sailing - two weeks ago Cy Thompson sailing for Roger Williams U finished 2nd in the extremely competitive Collegiate Single Handed National Championship. This past weekend Tyler Rice crewed for the Brown U team that finished 3rd and Taylor Canfield skippered the Boston College boat that finished 1st at the first Collegiate Match Racing National Championship. Another impressive performance from our Club's sailors.
STYC will also have their largest fleet ever attending the Orange Bowl Regatta just after Christmas sailing in both Optimists and Lasers.
At the recent Bitter End Invitational attended by some of the biggest names in sailing, the first question that America's Cup veteran and Olympic medalist, Peter Holmberg was asked " What is St. Thomas doing to produce so many world class sailors? I believe Peter's answer was our standard " great weather and wind, year round sailing etc. - and Peter is partly right but their are many other reasons.
For many its a slow week so if you have a few minutes I would like to cite a few other reasons and possibly let our newer members in on some of our wonderful sailing heritage at STYC. The real deal is this is the 3rd generation of great sailors that STYC has produced but during earlier years opportunity for travel and publicity was far less. Our best known sailor, Peter Holmberg is a great place to start. Until Ian Barrows recently won the gold at the First Junior Olympics, Peter's Silver Medal in the Finn Class in Korea was the only medal the VI had ever received. Peter won this medal through sheer determination and hard work sailing his Finn everyday for two years out in Pillsbury Sound. Peter retired from sailing and began selling real estate but then launched a 2nd sailing career almost by accident by jumping on Matador one of the maxi yachts that were in St. Thomas for one of the three championships we hosted for this class in the eighties. Peter became the number one match racer in the world (often using local crew) and then went on to sail in I believe 3 America's Cup campaigns as helmsman.
Peter got the publicity in later life but as a young sailor he competed against his brother John, who has won numerous multi hull National and NA championships and Chris Rosenberg who has sailed countless boats all over the world and has done extremely well on almost any boat that he jumps on as well as creating the IC 24. If that wasn't motivation enough Louise Holmberg, Pete and John's Mom, was the first woman's World Champion in the Sunfish Class and their father Dick sailed a soling in I believe two Olympic Games.
Speaking of the Sunfish, through the efforts of Rudy Thompson, past Commodore, the first Sunfish Worlds ever held was staged in St. Thomas. Before the Laser came along the Sunfish was the single handed boat that got all the top talent. At one point, STYC had 7 of top Sunfish sailors in the world and all the best from the US came here to train at our club. Rudy also was instrumental in making the USVI an Olympic nation breaking away from the US allowing our sailors and athletes in other sports compete at the Olympic Games. He went on to sail a Flying Dutchman at the Kiel Olympics with John Hamber. Rudy's son, Chris and wife Christine, both world class windsurfers, competed at the LA Olympics when windsurfing was an exhibition sport. No doubt where Cy Thompson gets his motivation.
Dick Avery, former owner of Avery's Boat House and STYC past commodore, literally invented the bare boating industry that is now controlled by the Mooring's and other large companies around the world. Dick was a Pearson dealer and sold sailboats to his fellow club members and helped them to pay the bills by chartering to his old friends in New England. All of a sudden Dick had a thriving business on his hand but enjoyed his life style to much to conquer the world with his creative concept. His son, Morgan has developed into a fantastic sailor and is responsible for building most of the IC 24's and countless other boats at STYC.
Two other STYC sailors who have made huge contributions to international sailing are Dick Johnson and Henry Menin. Dick sailed a Soling at I believe the Olympics in Mexico City but more importantly got very involved in the administration of our sport. He was one of the first International Judges appointed in the Caribbean and represented us each year at IYRU (now ISAF) meetings in London. Dick served on on the very powerful Policy Committee (CPOC) and continually championed the causes of small countries. He was very instrumental in getting the laser turned into an Olympic class which was really the first affordable Olympic boat allowing far more small countries to compete. Dick also was the push behind the VI Challenge (our faulted America Cup challenge) and instrumental in bringing the Maxi Class (80 footers) to our waters three times for their championships.
A note of trivia, Carol Hindels was Commodore at the time of the VI Challenge and I believe she is still the only female Commodore to submit a challenge for the America's Cup.
Henry Menin has represented us very well over the years and had quite a bit to do with the America's Cup in three different capacities. As you probably know Henry is an International Judge and I believe the only International Umpire in the Caribbean. He has served as a rules advisor for one syndicate, as an umpire for another Cup and on the five man jury the 3rd time.
There are also countless folks behind the scenes who contribute to the club's history like Kirst Feddersen who is now and has been designing masts for the past three Cups and Lyn Reid who has served as a VP of the VI Olympic Committee raising money so our current sailing stars can shine and attend events. The Shep Barrows who labor to keep the racing going and the boats working with almost no thanks.
I have not skipped anyone here but rather started a quest for more! I have really only scratched the surface and hope I have not made too any errors. Our Commodore, Bill Newbold and our history committee feel very strongly about capturing all these wonderful historical moments / people / accomplishments in a sensible fashion. You can easily see why our current sailors are doing so well and it is far more than great conditions. I believe it is spurred buy our weather for sure but more importantly by the club's heritage and wonderful role models in our history.
Sorry to rant on but -
We are collecting tidbits of info about our past so don't be shy, get me pictures, paragraphs - whatever you feel is important from the earlier days. We need to keep our young sailors motivated.
See you at the club