US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Over 100 junior sailors from several nations participated in the 2017 IOR. Credit: Dean Barnes.

Mark your calendar now! The Caribbean’s largest and longest international regatta held exclusively for Optimist dinghy sailors and their families will take place in 2018 despite two Category 5 hurricanes in September 2017. In fact, junior sailing resumed off the beautiful beach at the host organization, St. Thomas Yacht Club, within a month after the storms!

“On behalf of the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) and the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC), the 26th International Optimist Regatta, presented by EMS (Electronic Merchant Systems) Virgin Islands and TOTE Maritime Clinic and Team Race will take place June 11 to 17, 2018,” announced regatta director Holly Jenkins.

More specifically, the clinic takes place June 11-13, followed by the team race June 14 and International Optimist Regatta June 15-17.

Registration opens Jan. 15 at

Over 100 junior sailors, including some of the best sailors in the sport, are expected to participate in this Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned regatta. Sailors can compete in advanced red (ages 13-15), blue (ages 11-12) and white (ages 10 and under) as well as beginner green classes.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five finishers in the red, blue and white classes and top three overall as well as the top place female. Participation awards will be awarded to all green fleet sailors. Additional awards include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy (superb sailor/individual) and the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Perpetual Trophy.

The IOR is sponsored by EMS Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, TOTE Maritime and K3 Waterproof Gear.

For charter boats, request and confirm online at or contact McLaughlin Boat Works at 423-875-0740, 423-875-4040 or toll free in the U.S. at 1-800-784-6478; email: Deadline to reserve charter boats is May 18.

Assistance with locating housing for the event is available.

For more information, call 340-513-2234, email or for the notice of regatta, registration form and other information, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club site at or Please also visit the International Optimist Regatta on Facebook.