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Intergalactic IC24 Regatta

By Dan O’Connor

Hosted by QUANTUM SAILS & The Royal BVI Yacht Club

The IC-24 QUANTUM Intergalactics, previously known as Worlds, traditionally draws some of the most competitive racers in the region. Last June, under near-perfect sailing conditions, sailors largely from the Virgin Islands faced tough competition from the St Martin-based Coors Light team, helmed by the friendly island’s own Frits Bus. The team won six of twelve races to finish on top in an event that favoured local sailors who practice the familiar Channel routes weekly.

Pre-race favourite Colin Rathbun of Tortola rounded out in fourth place behind Chris Haycraft in third and Andrew Waters in second. The event, sponsored by Quantum Sails Tortola, dished out $500 to first place, $150 to second and $100 to third. Bob Phillips, chairman of the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club, said that the race remained friendly but still brought with it aggressive racing.

“It was very competitive,” he said. “Frits was sailing at a slight level above the other guys, but they were right there as well. One race finished by less than six inches, with Frits just nudging out Colin.” It was Frits’ attention to detail and consistency that won him the race, he surmised. “Frits’ consistency won him the regatta, and with very few exceptions, he was always right there,” the chairman said. “The other boats were just off the mark—they weren’t as consistent.”

The Intergalactics, in its eleventh year, was lightly attended when compared to years passed, Phillips said, adding that conflicting timing with Puerto Rican holidays may have had something to do with the low turnout. However, he added, racers in attendance couldn’t have asked for a better two days on the water.

“Conditions were near-perfect,” he reiterated. “We had anywhere from 12 to 18 knots of breeze, and we were running fairly long courses, averaging 30 to 40 minutes. Altogether, this made it more competitive, because you had a good chance of racers catching up with one another.”

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Frits was able to use the conditions to his advantage, frustrating other competitors with his consistent reads and seamless sailing strategy. The seasoned racer has only recently entered the world of IC-24 racing here in the Virgin Islands, and said he’s hooked on it.

“I got into IC-24 sailing a few years ago because of the one-design aspect and because many of the top sailors are involved in this class,” he said. “It’s a treat to compete against the best: Peter Holmberg, Chris Rosenburg, Fraito Lugo from Puerto Rico and Colin Rathbun from here—these are always the top guys to beat.”

In his second Intergalactics competition, the St Martin resident said he now feels accepted in the Virgin Islands waters.

“Last year we came in second, and after a third place in [St Thomas] Rolex Regatta, and winning class in BVI Spring Regatta—a win here, too—it makes us feel that we belong,” he said. “It’s especially nice to beat Colin, since he has beat us so many times before.”

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