The U.S. Virgin Islands is home to many internationally recognized sporting events, from triathlons to sportfishing competitions. The islands provide optimal conditions for these events including challenging race courses, deep troughs and temperate waters. Many hotels and resorts offer packages for participants and spectators. Here’s a sampling of the best of the best in St. Thomas sporting events.
Chrysler Cup Tennis Tournament
If you love tennis competition, this tournament is for you. Held over President’s Day Weekend, the tournament draws players from the Caribbean and the United States. Seven different classes are scheduled including Men’s and Women’s Singles, Mixed Doubles, and Men’s over 55 doubles. First place winners receive a $1,500 prize purse. Contact the St. Thomas Yacht Club at www.styc.net for exact details.
International Optimist Regatta
Young sailors, ages 8-15, from around the globe descend on St. Thomas to participate in this annual tournament sponsored by the St. Thomas Yacht Club and the Virgin Islands Sailing Association. Green Fleet competitors stay closer to the shore while advanced Red, Blue and White fleets sail further offshore. Trophies are awarded for sportsmanship, top female sailor, and to the top five of each fleet and top three overall. The regatta is held annually in June. Additional information is available at www.styc.net.
International Rolex Regatta
Sailors from the Caribbean, United States and Europe block out the fourth weekend of March to participate in this race, the “Crown Jewel” of Caribbean racing. Professional race management, dependable trade winds and a challenging schedule of races add to the popularity of the regatta. Races include a distance race from the east end to Charlotte Amalie and back, and a race in and around the cays in Pillsbury Sound. Winners receive the much-coveted Rolex watch. Visit the regatta home page at www.rolexcupregatta.com for 2009 dates and information.
U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
Since 2000, top men’s and women’s college basketball teams have met in the USVI to test their skills before the season officially kicks off. The tournaments are held in the 4,000-seat University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center and are broadcast live on Fox College Sports. Past teams have included Wichita State, La Salle, Villanova, Xavier, Georgia Tech and Baylor. The tournament is held in the week proceeding Thanksgiving. What could be better than catching this favorite American pastime in the beautiful Virgin Islands? For a listing of teams and travel packages, visit www.paradisejam.com
USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
Luring some of the best anglers in the world, the Blue Marlin tournament has been in existence for more than 35 years. Started in 1972 by Chuck Senf, the tournament is one of the most competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. It welcomes seasoned veterans and first timers to try their hand at hooking the magnificent blue marlin. The tournament operates on a release program and encourages anglers to support conservation of the species. The annual tournament is held in August. For details, visit www.abmt.vi or call 340-775-9500.