The Moorings Interline Regatta celebrated its 30th anniversary on October 11th – 20th and lived up to its reputation of being a competitive sailing event and the life and soul of the party in the BVI.
The regatta comprises of airline employees from 21 different companies from around the world. More than 30 boats took part in the racing, while another 20 support boats followed the action and joined in the parties.
The races are staged around the islands and finish near popular nightspots, which provide for good party venues.
With theme parties like ‘Anything But Clothes’ and ‘Shiver Me Timbers Pirate and Wenches’, it is no surprise that the event attracts both non-sailors and residents.
“In terms of people, we booked over 300,” said Tanya Whistler, commercial director with Moorings parent company TUI Marine. “Not sure what additional people came and chartered from other companies to join the party.”
The BVI host numerous regattas throughout the year, with the BVI Spring Regatta being the biggest and most popular. It, too, has nightly entertainment, but is considered family friendly. In comparison, if the Interline Regatta party scene was given a movie rating it would be rated R for brief nudity.
On Friday evening after the first day of racing, The Jolly Roger bar and restaurant was so busy three bartenders had a hard time keeping up with the demand.
People were literally hanging from the rafters as others dressed in pirate costumes continued to flood the bar. Local businesses welcome the regatta with open arms after a stagnant slow season, with some businesses reopening just for the regatta after being closed for more than a month.
“There are hundreds of people that The Moorings bring for a week during a time that is traditionally dead,” said Race Officer Bob Phillips. Although the parties outnumber the races (eight parties to five races) the sailing is very competitive and the racecourses are challenging, he adds.
Some races took about four hours to complete, not necessarily because the sailors didn’t know what they were doing, but because the courses were long and tricky, like sailing the north shore of Tortola and racing around Virgin Gorda.
Racing was divided into three different classes of Mooring’s boats â€” 41.3; 43.3 and 50.5.
In Class C, Oivinn Brudevoll of Norway skippered Gemini to victory with three first places and two second-place finishes. His performance was good enough to win the Championship Boat award. After the first day of racing, his voice had deteriorated, but not from yelling at his crew.
“It has been too much partying,” Mr. Brudevoll said. “I hadn’t eaten anything, so between the two races, I had one piece of bread but I threw it up just before the second race. We then had to go fast, so we could go in early.”
Brudevoll has been coming to the regatta for the past 12 years. He says he loves the event because of its location.
“There is a really nice atmosphere here and I have made a lot of nice friends,” he said.
He also joked that he keeps coming back because of all the ‘women’ who participate in the event.
In fact, for the first time, three all-female crews competed in the regatta. And it’s not uncommon to find at least one female on almost every boat.
Phillips has been the race officer since 1996 and has seen the event grow, while maintaining a loyal following. He said some sailors have been competing in the regatta for the past 28 years.
“This [regatta] is unique and we are able to do it, because the competitors are living on their boats,” Mr. Phillips said. “It’s a lot of fun for them. They get to travel and take their home with them. This group is well known for having a great time. It’s amazing we can get them up in the morning to go racing.”
Class A (41.3)
1: Renita Ann, Claus Baerentsen
2: Ruby Dawn, Jari Soukka
3: Jupiter, Burkhard Justus
Class B (43. 3)
1:Wild Irish Rose, Soren Blume
2. After Life, Christer Weyde
3. Princess Ivoire, Kristian Heinila
Class C (50.5)
1: Gemini, (Championship Boat) Oivinn Brudevoll
2: Bella Christine, Aarne Helminen
3: Tiger Paws, Hugh Carmichael
Todd VanSickle is a journalist living and working in the Virgin Islands.