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Gustav Wilmerding Memorial Challenge

Reba/Team Red Stripe lead Rushin Rowlette to the finish line
Reba/Team Red Stripe lead Rushin Rowlette to the finish line

Reba/Team Red Stripe wins the Gustav Wilmerding Memorial Challenge Regatta, taking them one step closer to winning the Gosling’s Series.

The BVI’s West End Yacht Club (WEYC) has immortalized a Danish pirate’s legendary partying ways in the 22nd Gustav Wilmerding Memorial Challenge Regatta. Raced December 1st out of Tortola’s Nanny Cay Marina, there was certainly an “Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!” to be heard aboard Kevin Rowlette’s Olson 30, Rushin Rowlette, when Jon Charlton’s C&C 41, Reba/Team Red Stripe, beat them by 24 seconds and in so doing gained a four point lead over Rowlette in the six-event Gosling’s Regatta Series.

Eight yachts competed in this pursuit-style race handicapped by the PHRF system. A new spectator-friendly course included a beat and two nice spinnaker legs.

“We like to go to weather and the first two legs of the race allowed us to get a decent lead on the fleet,” explains Reba/Team Red Stripe’s Charlton. “After rounding Deadman’s Chest we had a good set and carried our spinnaker down the next leg, extending our lead a bit, particularly on Kevin. On the next leg back up to Pelican, we held our own with Kevin, but on the rounding of Pelican, we lost some time, as Kevin entered the rounding on a good lift.”

On the last leg to the finish line it got very interesting notes Charlton. “It was a close reach and we did not really want to put a spinnaker up. After a few minutes, it became apparent that Kevin was going to try to fly a chute, so I asked our crew to prepare to do the same. Kevin was successfully carrying his chute and was now gaining on us.”

The two big questions in Charlton’s mind at this time were whether he could get to the finish before Rowlette without a spinnaker and if he could actually carry a chute to the finish line. Rowlette was moving in so fast that it forced Charlton’s hand. He sailed a bit higher than course to get the boat to windward of Rowlette and then set the spinnaker. Charlton’s Reba/Team Red Stripe ended up barely carrying the chute while dragging the main all the way to the finish and beating Rushin Rowlette by 24 seconds.

“We had a great battle with Reba,” says Rowlette. “They sailed a great race, no doubt due to their veteran tactician Eddie Brockbank.”

In other scores, Diva finished 3rd, Rascal 4th, Girasoli 5th, Wicked Winch 6th, Wildflower 7th and Ginger 8th.

The Gosling’s Regatta Series, which started with Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta last May, ends with the Dark’n Stormy Regatta March 8th to 11th. This classic three-day event is held over the Commonwealth holiday weekend and features a race to Anegada the first day, beach games and lobster barbecue the second, and a pursuit race back to Tortola on the third.

“We look forward to getting a few points back in the next couple of races,” says Rowlette. “The Gosling’s Regatta Series is a great concept to encourage participation in club events that are struggling for entries throughout the region.”

For more information on WEYC event and the Gosling’s Regatta Series, Email: martin@sailsistership.com

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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