The sun shone most of the day, there was no rain and winds from 20 – 30 miles an hour with rough seas. Conditions put sailors and boats to a true test. As always, when the wind blows this hard, there is some carnage on the race course but crews returned to the Nanny Cay, the event host, tired, salty and with some great sea stories to tell. When asked how was it out there, Mike Masters, sailing Black Pearl in the IC24 class summed it up, “Grueling and great.”
In Spinnaker Racing A, ABN AMRO ONE (1-1-1-1-1-1) maintained its lead, to no one’s surprise. This 2005-06 Volvo Ocean champ kept a minute or more lead on corrected time over second place, Titan XII (2-2-2-2-2-2), skippered by Puerto Rico’s Tom Hill. Noonmark VI (5-3-5-3-3-3), a Swan 56 sailed by Geoffrey Mulchay, moved into third.
Devil 3 (1-1-3-3-1-2), the Stanton brother’s Melges 24, continued in its wickedly wonderful first place slot, to the dismay of a pair of Melges 32s that enjoyed match racing each other as well as trying to take a swipe at the lead. Trinidad’s Tim Kimpton, driving one of these 32s, Crash Test Dummies (3-5-1-1-2-1), was more psyched on the speed his boat enjoyed for the day than not moving into first. “The last race, the inter-island race, we sailed past everyone, but ABN AMRO ONE and Titan XII. Then, after we rounded the corner and came up by Peter Island, the water was flat and in the breeze we hit 18 knots downwind. It was such a buzz to sail in this kind of wind. That’s why I’ve got such a big grin.”
With a slim 1 -point lead, Rick Wesslund’s J/120, El Ocaso (4-1-1-6-4-1), trumped a Spinnaker Racing C class lead over Doug Baker’s Olson 30, J-Bird III (7-3-1-1.5-5-2) and Mark Palermo’s Beneteau First 40.7, Team Paul Mitchell (1-2-4.5-4-3-5), with J-Bird III winning the tie-breaker for second in class.
Breakdowns plagued more than one boat in Spinnaker Racing D. Puerto Rico’s Angel Ayala, skippered his J/80, Sun Bum II (7-8-5-9-10-12, 51), and experienced one of them. “In the last race, we lost all our main rigging and our vang. It was precarious to keep racing, but we did. So did Tony (Mari, skippered of the J/80, Ex Mero Motu (5-6-3-6-6-7). And, he raced without a main. In fact, he got in front of the fleet with a genoa only. That’s how drastic the conditions were in terms of wind.”
In Racer-Cruiser E, the BVI’s perennial favorite, Peter Haycraft’s Sirena 38, Pipedream (4-2-3-1-2-2), landed in the top of the class while Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero’s J/105 Umakua (2-1-1-3-3-8), fell to second. “It was tough for us compared to our competition since we were racing light and the forestay broke in the last race,” said Reguero. Reguero, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2002, has embarked on Puerto Rico’s first paraolympic sailing campaign in the single-handed One Design 2.4 class. If he qualifies this summer, he’ll compete in Beijing in 2008.
Believe it or not, the committee boat on the Norman course was hit once again today. This time, Avocation was forced into it by Shamrock at the start of Performance Cruising A. Robin Rinda, committee member, joked, “It may be time to just paint a bull eye on us.” Affinity (1,2,1,1,) is now in front, followed by Black Hole (4,3,2,2) and Advantage (2,1,3,6), lost its advantage and second place with a sixth place in the last race of the day.
John Sweeny, sailing on the nearly unbeatable Three Harkoms summed it up, “Another great day on the water.” Three Harkoms (1,1,1,1) sailed so fast, they nearly caught a number of the bigger boats that started five minutes ahead of them in Performance Cruising A. Diva,(5,2,2,4) the boat that is the same age as the owner/skipper, 70 something Dr. Robin Tattersall, is in second place. When asked how the day went today, Diva crew member, Pat Bailey replied, “We went 17 knots.” L’Esperance, Robert Valasquez’s (4,3,4,3) Beneteau 45F5 is third.
Yesterday’s favorites, Hotel California Too, in Jib and Main class (1, 2.5,3,3) , dropped to third place today. Mary Jane (4,1,1,1) jumped from third to first today with straight bullets and Second Nature (2,2.5,2,2) held onto second place.
In the Bareboat A, Team Germany, a Moorings 494, is being sailed by a group of journalists from … you guessed it, Germany. Skippered by Mareike Guhr, the female team currently is in sixth place in their division. Jenny May, one of the crew members, is really enjoying the regatta and remarked, “Our skipper and co-skipper are very good and this group of women, who have never sailed together, have really clicked. It works very good, fantastic, even with the rain.” Class leaders have not changed since yesterday and the Moorings charters threesome, still lead the pack.
In Bareboat B, Soderberg, sailing Chess (1,3,2,1), is holds on to a very narrow lead with of two points. Acadia’s Champaign Lady (2,4,1,2) follows with Southern Comfort (9,5,3,3) a distant third.
Nothing changes in the Multihull class. Triple Jack just keeps finishing first and Piglet keeps finishing second.
The Beach Cats found the conditions very challenging. They only sailed one race and only one of the three boats finished that race.
On the IC course, Intact, who was in ninth place after racing yesterday, lost their mast and is now out of the series. B-Mobile lost a spreader, came in and fixed it and then went back out the join the racing. . Bambooshay (2,3,8,5,1,2,5,2,3,5,1), helmed by Chris Rosenberg, has the first place position but by a very narrow margin. Only one point behind, Robbie and Michael Hirst, sailing MIO Broadband (6,2,5,6,4,1,1,1,2,7,3) are within striking distance. MIO Roaming (1,4,2,4,3,5,4,6,8,6,8), helmed by Andrew Waters, had a very tough day on the water, dropping from first to third place.
In the Beach Cat class, St. Thomas’ Davis Murray, sailing his Prindle 19, TBD (4-2-4-4-3-4), found the winds challenging. And, given that Murray is a veteran of two Worrell 1000 campaigns (1000 miles of racing small beach cats down the east coast of the U.S.), it takes tough conditions to challenge him. “It was out of control,” said Murray, about the winds. “I mean for us, 25 knots is okay. I can handle that. But then, stronger puff’s hit us. When we turtled, did a Chinese death roll; I decided to call it a day. We headed back to the beach. I don’t think we’ll go out tomorrow if the winds stay this strong. Hey, we’ll hang on the beach. After all, the boats are called beach cats.”
Trinidad’s 17-year-old Ryan Rocke (4-1-1-1-2-1-3-2-2-4) certainly rocked the Laser class, scoring a first overall out of the Laser Standards, Radials and 4.7s, and topping the Laser Radial class as well. “I got good starts, even though the wind would shift two or three times while we were in start sequence,” Rocke said. “Then I played the sifts. I played every single one of them to advantage.”
On the one design course, incidences are being instantly adjudicated with the six umpires motoring around the course. With two days of racing under this system, Robbie Hirst commented that the umpires are, “Nice to have.” Andrew Waters, was a little more talkative, “I think that it is all working quite well and that this is a good thing. My personal feeling is that people are not pushing the rules as much. The umpires are communicating on the water and we can see what they are looking at. They are very open to helping competitors understand,” and with a smile he added, “It is great racing out there.”
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival encompass two great events. The 2007 Sailing Festival – a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta – started on Monday, March 26 with a welcome party at Nanny Cay. Three days of destination cruising, racing and layday fun, including the Nation’s Challenge Cup, led up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday, March 30. The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a weeklong sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands.
Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas. The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, CCT Global Communications, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken, The Moorings, Mount Gay, and SOL.
Visitors can fly to the British Virgin Islands through San Juan, Puerto Rico with American Airlines, Cape Air and LIAT. Flights are also available through Antigua and Barbados on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and BWIA.
For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including daily news, photos and complete results from the 2007 event, visit the official web site: http://www.bvispringregatta.org. For more information on the British Virgin Islands visit: http://www.bvitourism.com. For more information on Nanny Cay Marina visit: http://www.nannycay.com.
The BVI Spring Regatta is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.