A selection of new big racers will be on the start line for this year's International Rolex Regatta

The 31st International Rolex Regatta, hosted by St Thomas Yacht Club in the US Virgin Islands is scheduled to take place from 26-28 March. This three-day early season opener promises first class racing with fleets ranging from maxi sleds down to beach catamarans.

Making its debut at the regatta will be Roger Reichel/Pugh-designed Transpac 52 Rosebud, which was launched in June of 2002 and has been making waves ever since, including delivering a Rolex watch-winning performance at the St Francis Big Boat Series in September of 2003.

Commenting on the regatta, St Thomas Yacht Club’s new Commodore Peter Holmberg said: “If you look at the schedule, you have the Rolex Regatta followed the next weekend by the BVI Regatta. It’s the perfect opportunity for a big boat to race three days, then spend four days doing some quality cruising or fun racing with the BVI pre-event before enjoying another three days of racing.”

Holmberg, who has competed in the International Rolex Regattas since he was a child, plans to sail the 2004 event aboard Tom Hill’s (Puerto Rico) new Titan XII, a Reichel/Pugh 75 that was meant to compete last year but was delayed in construction. Titan XII will find Bill Alcott’s Andrews 68 Equation and Jim Muldoon’s custom 72 Donnybrook familiar adversaries, since the latter two boats have been show stoppers at the regatta for years, sailing against Hill’s previous boats, also named Titan.

Another new boat that will loom ominously on the starting line will be Bill Dockser’s chartered Formula One Farr 65, which sports a black carbonfibre rig and black carbon Kevlar sails.

Racing takes place under a Caribbean Sailing Association handicap and is mainly around the buoys with one day devoted to a distance race that takes participants through the surrounding islands. Quality racing is the objective, with professional Principal Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio heading up the race committee. Serving as Chief Judge is Arthur ‘Tuna’ Wullschleger, who has done so at the regatta for over two decades and is known as one of international sailing’s top international judges.

For more information log onto rolexcupregatta.com.