by Arlene Martel
Note: Arlene Martel is regatta director for the match race.
When the second annual Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race begins Dec. 10 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the focus will be on the extremely high caliber of the eight competing teams.
Regarded as one of the most prestigious and hotly contested events on the international professional match racing circuit, this Grade One regatta would not have been possible without the dedicated support of the St. Thomas Yacht Club as the Organizing Authority and the many sponsors who have contributed time, money, and effort.
Joining the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef sponsor lineup as sole Gold Sponsorship is Heineken, distributed in the USVI by Bellows International, Ltd., a subsidiary of Topa Equities, and an important supporter of community activities, including Team Caribbean.
American Airlines is the Official Airlines of the event and a key to making the regatta a reality. Support from American Airlines, the United States’ largest domestic airline, and its regional associate, America Eagle, contributes to the travel of the world-class competitors, international umpires and the media.
Silver Sponsor NEMWIL Insurance Limited/Red Hook Agencies, Inc. is also a returning sponsor. NEMWIL is one of the Caribbean’s leading general insurance companies and also one of its oldest, underwriting all classes of business, from conventional motor and fire, to marine cargoes.
A traditional favorite in the sailing world since the eighteenth century when it was first distilled in Barbados, Mount Gay Rum is on board this year in St. Thomas. Legend has it that sailors arrived home with Mount Gay to prove that they had survived the most difficult weather in the Caribbean, that of Barbados with its prevailing winds and strong currents. Mount Gay Rum is the hallmark of superior sailors everywhere.
In the same Bronze level sponsorship category as Mount Gay is The Moorings, without whom there would be no boat for the International Match Race competition. The world leader in bareboat chartering provides four J/120’s to the event from its base in Tortola. The J/120 was selected the 1995 Overall Boat of the Year by Cruising World magazine. The Mooring is the pioneer in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean in providing vacationers the world over with first class sailing experiences.
Another Bronze sponsor is the Puerto Rico-based Island Finance, Inc., which has been serving the Virgin Islands for more than thirty years from three convenient locations in St. Thomas. Island Finance products include Personal and Home Equity loans.
One of the most popular features of the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race is the Youth Regatta which Citibank returns to sponsor this year. Young sailors from several Caribbean islands –including St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Tortola and Puerto Rico—will travel to Charlotte Amalie Harbor to compete in the regatta, and Citibank’s investment in these juniors is an important contribution to the sport. Citibank has a global presence in 98 countries and territories and a total of more than 3,400 offices offering diverse banking products and superior customer service.
Crown Bay Marina is the Official Host Marina for the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race. Across Charlotte Amalie Harbor from the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, the marina is also home port for Team Caribbean’s Cup training vessel, USA-ll. Crown Bay prides itself on its guests services, providing 96 state-of-the-art berths for visiting vessels in an outstanding St. Thomas setting. Returning as Official Host of the Citibank Youth Regatta, the Virgin Islands Marine Industries Association is a non-profit professional organization with members ranging from charter companies to marine parts suppliers.
St. Thomas resorts that will provide complimentary accommodations for the sailors, umpires and the media include: Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Elysian Beach Resort, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. In addition to the sponsors noted above, a whopping 75 merchants, restaurants and service providers are Official Supporting Sponsors and Suppliers for the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race. To learn more about these generous members of the St. Thomas and greater USVI community, visit the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef International Match Race Web site at www.MatchRace.vi, hosted by COBEX.
For more information, contact Arlene Martel, regatta director, at


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