It was one of those mornings when sails look more like hanging laundry than anything else. Wind conditions improved as the second day of racing for the BVI Spring Regatta wore on. Presley King, sailing with Justin Barton on Justice, Bareboat B, is a local sage when it comes to predicting the winds in the BVI. When asked on the dock this morning what he was looking for today, he replied, “Looking for a little more wind. As soon as the moon raise up, it should get more. The moon will raise up after 11.”
Although I really didn’t understand what Presley was talking about, and not many people I consulted believed his prediction, he was right. After a very slow start to the morning’s racing with very light air from the west, the breeze appeared to totally dry up and just when race officers were discussing the efficacy of continuing, the wind filled in from the north-east with a nice breeze, building to 15 knots by the middle of the afternoon.
In Racing A, Titan 15 finished the day with a flawless series of first place finishes over the day’s three races, while Vela Veloce dutifully followed in second and Jim Grundy’s Bella Pita, a.k.a Scallywag Racing, third.
What did Jim Grundy, like best about the day was the racing? “The timing is perfect. You don’t have to wait around until all the boats in the class finish to start another race. The race committee was starting races on one side and finishing boats on the other. You don’t see that in many other regattas and that’s important to us because we have a fast boat.”
The Grundy’s took delivery of Bella Pita last year, sailed her transatlantic and made land fall at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda. This is the first year the boat has raced in the Spring Regatta. “The design brief is to do a three-year circumnavigation and sail in all the major races all over the world, including Sydney to Hobart.”
“Get two first places or if three races, three first places,” was Three Harkoms tactician/driver Vladimer Kulinichenko’s (Kuli’s) plan for today. Sailing in Racer Cruiser E division, Three Harkoms won all three races.
Only thee points separate the top three boats in Racer/Cruiser F. Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero, who campaigned an International 2.4m for the Paralympic Games in 2008, leads on his J/105, Umakua. The BVI’s Peter Haycraft’s Pipedream is one point behind with his Sirena 38, Pipedream, and another two points separate them from St. Maarten’s Ian Hope-Ross on his Beneteau First 36.7, Kick ‘Em Jenny.
Not at the top of the heap in Racer Cruiser Class but first at the weather mark in the second race today, Pat Nolan’s J/33, Boomerang, and her all women crew, were leading by a full minute. “It was great,” says Nolan, who operates Sistership Sailing School in the BVI. Her crew are all former students. “The competition in our class is very keen and we’re largely inexperienced,” says Katie Sharp, from northern Virginia. “Don’t get me wrong; we like sailing with the fellas, but, it’s also nice to kick the boy’s butts too.”
It is a tight race for the top spot in Bareboat A. Gerard Kraakman leads the pack in BVI Yacht Charters entry but only one point behind and tied for second place are both Christine Joseph with Toodles and Tony Mack in Re-Joyce.
Richard Starkey is skippering SHRM Financial Services, and sailing in Bareboat A. Currently in seventh place, he and his crew are not experienced racers but they are out there staying out of the way and having fun. “We are trying to be on the start line close to the right time, unsuccessfully up to now. We are trying hard but we’re not a very good crew; we are just learning. We have style but no substance.”
Mike Kirk, crew member on the first place Performance Cruising Cayenita Grande, was all smiles this afternoon. “The wind was great out there. Good wind behind Norman Island, little williwaws all over the place, really challenging, kept the crew literally moving backwards and forwards all over the boat. We worked and worked and worked, especially that first race. We earned that one; we really earned it.”
Perhaps the tightest race out there this weekend is on the IC24 course. Fred Ruebeck’s Team LIME is three points ahead of Fait Lugo on Orion. The top spot keeps switching back and forth and it will be anyone’s guess who will be first in class on the podium tomorrow.
Late this afternoon, BVI Spring Regatta has its first ever Virgin Textiles Fashion Show. Virgin Textiles has been a long time supporter of the regatta and this year really stepped up to the plate. Models and MC, Aja Royle, along with organizers Alex Durante and Brodie, all of who are young people that have grown up in Tortola, put on a great show.
Tomorrow will be the last day of racing and as they say, ‘the fat lady will sing’. Racing will commence at 10AM on all three race areas and many classes may see upsets as point spreads are close. Off the water, the day will begin for some with a 6:30 Sunrise Easter service on the beach. There will be two Easter egg hunts, one designed for the children mid-morning and one in the afternoon after racing for adults. Before the awards, there will be entertainment by the Moka Jumbies, giant stilt walkers who are fabled to ward off evil spirits. After the awards, it’s the Bounce DJ”s with their magic music and light show. It promises to be a jam-packed day with plenty of excitement on and off the water.