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BVI Spring Regatta Follows Volvo Ocean Race Lead

The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, presented by Nanny Cay and held this year March 26 – April 1, 2007, is taking a cue from some of the well-established one design classes and providing on the water umpiring for the very competitive IC24 class.

Using ISAF’s “Experimental Appendix Q” umpired fleet racing rules, Bob Phillips, event chairman, said, “This will be a wonderful learning experience for the racers as the on-water umpires will define the line you can’t cross on the water, not in a room well after the fact; you cross that line and the umpire either lets you exonerate with a penalty turn or, in the case of a serious breech of the rules, immediately disqualifies you from that race.”

On-water umpiring in fleet racing is gaining support in the more competitive classes. The Farr 40’s and Mumm 30’s have modified their class rules to allow judges on the water to flag violations. Too often in the past, boats would purposely violate the rules to improve their position, quickly knock off herpenalty turns and still end up ahead; not cricket in the sport and the judges have been finding ways to stop the practice.

Near instant adjudication on the water of the IC class will free up time for the other boats in the competitor arbitration forum. New this year as well, the first step in the protest procedure will be an arbitration hearing, open to the public, before a panel of competitors. Putting competitors on the panel and opening the procedure to everyone will help to take some of the mystery out of the process and interject the competitor’s viewpoint.

BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival encompass two great events. The 2007 Sailing Festival – a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta – starts 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, lead 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.

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