Under a gorgeous moonlit sky, sailors mill around the bar enjoying tonight’s 2 for 1 Mount Gay specials. Registration is officially closed for the BVI Sailing Festival, the three day low-pressure pre-cursor to the BVI Spring Regatta. Forty six boats are registered with a record nineteen in the Racing Class.
In the Racing Class, Equation, Bill Alcott’s Andrews 68, has the honour of being scratch boat but he and his crew can expect to get a little heat from Richard Olands’ brand new Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce, and the all carbon Frers 44’s, Aquarelle 1 and Aquarelle 2. Also in that class is White Heat, a King 40 owned by Mike Williamson. In November they fought a closely contested Storm Trysail Club IRC East Coast Championships in Annapolis to win class 3 and just missed being awarded the overall championship by three seconds and in January, the boat won its division the Key West Race Week.
Also in the Racing division is Coyote 2, a new Beneteau 40.7 owned and chartered by K.A. Yacht Charters. Kay Acott, with her husband Ken run the operation, and she is quite enthused about being back to the BVI for the fifth year for both the Sailing Festival and the BVI Spring Regatta. “This is our favorite regatta because all the parties are here at the Village, it is really well organized, people are nice, and the racing is terrific. There is really nothing you could change.” When asked about a game plan this year, Kay said, “Two years ago we came in third, last year we came in second and,” after laughing heartily, Kay continued, “ this year we are going to really try. There is another 40.7 called Lancelot and it will be great fun racing against them. We already have a Coyote – Lancelot volleyball challenge lined up and on lay-day these guys will be on the Hobies.”
Racing the Cruising Class for the Sailing Festival and the Jib and Main class for the BVI Spring Regatta is Ostrika, an Oyster 55. This will be owner Samantha Simmonds, first regatta in her ‘new boat’. Taking delivery of the 1994 beauty just five weeks ago in St. Lucia, Samantha and her crew have made their way north to sail in her first BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. Readily admitting the she and the crew are here for the experience and not to win, Samantha explained, “I was heading for the BVI to see more of the Virgin Islands from a boat rather than from land; I want to meet people, enjoy the atmosphere and get into the yachting scene and mainly to try out the new boat. She is a new toy to me.”
Tomorrow’s race for the Bitter End Cup will lead the 46 boat fleet east and upwind to North Sound, home of the Bitter End Yacht Club. Wednesday is layday and many of the sailors will spend their day competing in Hobies and Lasers for the Nations Cup Challenge. The course for Thursday’s Nanny Cay Cup will bring the fleet back to Nanny Cay for the official kick off of the BVI Spring Regatta. On Thursday afternoon the Regatta Village will be in full swing with bar open, the food booths ready to serve and live music. Action in the Sir Francis Drake Channel will heat up Friday at approximately 10 AM when the BVI Spring Regatta racing officially kicks off.