This year was the 40th anniversary of the International Rolex Regatta St Thomas. With a predominantly American crew Northern Child had 2 days training in the beautiful waters of the US Virgin Islands. With light winds forecast it didn’t look to be the best weather for NC but the crew quickly got to grips with maneuvering NC and the team spirit was fantastic.
Race 1 – Was a downwind race from just outside Cowpet Bay to Charlotte Amelie the capital. With the wind predominantly under 10knots we were delighted to finish 4th in class against El Ocaso and Lazy Dog to professionally run fast J boats.
Race 2 – Was a longer race with 2 upwind legs and 1 downwind leg, this race was very tactical having to take into considerations some big wind shifts and several small rocky islands to be navigated around. The course was 20nm long and we fought hard and were once again 4th behind the 2 J boats and a well sailed Swan 56.
Race 3 – With slightly more breeze 12-14 knots NC was starting to find her groove. Race 3 was very short upwind downwind race around little St James Island. We had a great start and were in the mix the whole way up the first beat but with several larger faster yachts including the Swan 56, Farr 68 and a 72 footer it was hard to gain clear air. We did our best to find a clean lanes up the race course and then had a good downwind leg resulting in another 4th place.
Race 4 – It was starting to feel like we were unable to push into the top 3 but in race 4 with crew really starting to gel together and some great tactical calls and sail maneuvers we were delighted to finish in 3rd place ahead of the Swan 56.
Race 5 – Going into the final day of racing we were just 2 points off 3rd place and had a significant point over the 5th place yacht so we decided to make a tactical decision to switch to the smaller #3 headsail in order allow us to tack and get back up to speed more quickly. Are mission was to beat the Swan 56 in to 3rd place and so we fought hard and were once again delighted to finish 3rd and close the gap to just 1 point for the final race.
Race 6 – With longer race including several island roundings we got off to a slow start. On the 1st long downwind leg we sailed a great course and with a little help from the wind the Gods we managed to get very close to the Swan 56 again and were certainly ahead of them on corrected time half way through the race. The final long upwind leg resulted a fleet split with 50% of the fleet going right and 50% going left. We opted for the left hand lane along with the 2 J boats were fight for 1st and 2nd place and half way up the beat it was looking extremely likely that we would beat the Swan 56 into 3rd place this would mean a tie on points and on count back we would beat them into 3rd place. We sailed extremely hard with continuos trimming of the main, traveller and genoa. In the final 3rd of the upwind leg the wind swung 40degrees in the Swan 56’s favor and we had to watch our chance of 3rd place fade away. We still sailed has hard as we could on the final downwind leg into the finish and held a glimmer of hope as the Swan 56 waited to time across us across the line to ensure they had beaten us in to 3rd place. Unfortunately we were still delighted with our 4th place in an extremely competitive fleet and a predominately light wind regatta.