After a week of unseasonable amounts of rain and some
‘heavy’ wind squalls, the Moorings 24th Interline
Regatta was blessed with, for the most part, blue skies and light winds.
Thirty-eight entries in four evenly distributed classes (the 50s, 473,
443 and 403) made up the racing fleet, with a large contingent of support boats
from the catamaran division.
A gentle sail in grey skies to the Welcome Back Party at the Jolly
Roger, West End, provided an opportunity for
participants to meet up with old friends and size up the competition. A
well-behaved but enthusiastic crowd danced and partied into the wee hours.
The Practice Sailing Day started slowly with some quite thick heads, and
early afternoon found our fleet experiencing a “little local
weather” when, literally out of the blue, the skies darkened and winds
stiffened to 40 knots with driving rain – albeit for only an hour or so.
While many boats successfully weathered the squalls to join the Evening Party
at the Cooper Island Beach Club, for several boats, the evening’s plans
were replaced by a return to the Moorings base for replacement sails and lines.
The Regatta commenced officially on October 13th with a
well-attended skipper’s briefing at the Moorings base. Thank you
Carpe Diem for voicing all the questions
no one else liked to ask! A lively debate on several points ensued. The Blast Off Celebration and Dinner that followed was a sell out,
with the Mariner Inn producing some 300 meals to the accompaniment of classic
steel pan music.
Race One, criss-crossing
a sparkling Sir Francis Drake Channel from Road Town
to the Bight at Norman
Island via Dead Chest and
Nanny Cay, was sailed under blue skies and 10-15 knots of wind. The 494
Guilt, helmed by Mika Wahm under the Finnair flag, took
line honors and followed shortly thereafter by 443 Mermaid (Cargolux) and a photo finish
between 443 Susan II (FedEx) and 403
Pelican Pat ( Nippon).
A well-earned dinner at the Pirates Pub segued into the Pirates of the
Caribbean Party, with many crews going all-out in full period dress –
luggage size and weight restrictions must have been quite stretched to
transport several of these wardrobes. Particular mention to the Johnny Depp look-alike and the golden Lycra shorts!
Race Two, from Norman
Island to Jost Van Dyke, included a long downwind sail to Thatch
under ever lightening winds, spreading the fleet the length and breadth of the
Channel. The smaller boats faired best, with 403 Orchid (KLM) a worthy winner – thirteen of the 403s and 443s
finished before the first of the 50-foot class, 494 Nirvana (American), half an hour later.
the anchorage for the night, was rather wet and windy early on, but that did
nothing to dampen the spirits of the avid party goers who made their way to
Foxy’s and the other hostelries along the shores of Jost
Day Three, the sun shone and the wind barely made 7 knots! Although the
classes started ten minutes apart, the yachts struggled to get away from the
starting line with the 50-foot class finding it particularly difficult to
maneuver. Unfortunately, the race committee was all too occupied to take
pictures of the near (mostly) misses.
After an incredibly hot four hours, Guilt
crossed the line, with the next finisher, teammate 473 Halcyon (Finnair) almost fifteen minutes
behind. 403 Carpe Diem (United)
proudly represented her class, while the 443 class finish was well contested by
winner Mermaid followed shortly
thereafter by Shangri La (Finnair). The fluky winds approaching the finish were
challenging enough to require several tacks and much agonizing – as much
by the committee as by the racers.
Only seven boats were able to cross the line before time expired,
leaving no chance of sailing the Olympic course of Race Four, which had to be
Marina Cay hosted the fleet that evening and the crews arrived in some
splendid Fancy Dress outfits – from the delicious first officers forming
the crew of Chipeta
in their tuxedos, to the striking red and white floral outfits of
Lay Day was to follow, so most crews took the opportunity to really party, and the lack of activity on the race course was made
up for by whirlwind dancing (even by some race committee officials!)
A decision on the scoring of Race Three was to be much debated through
the whole of the Lay Day and continued at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Spirited
Hobie Cat and Laser races wound through the North Sound anchorage through the
afternoon and the catamaran fleet was conspicuous in their liquid and vocal
support of their crews. And, with no position absolutely safe going into the
final race, the rather subdued crews amassed for the BEYC Dinner.
Race Five started in perfect conditions – the start off Gunn Creek
within North Sound made for a challenging upwind start to the mooring field and
then out through the navigation marks into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The
fleet then wound out through the Round Rock Passage to pass south of several
southern cays and back into the channel through Salt Island Passage and so to
the finish line off of Road
It was an exciting finish, with four 443s led by Shangri La finishing within the first two minutes. Pelican Pat won the 403 class by three
seconds over rival Orchid and
Inn Harmony scratched out a nine-second
lead over Abundance (
Nippon) in the 473 class. 494
Salaway (SAS) led the 50-foot
class across the line, but lost on corrected time to 505 Badger B, who stole first place in her class from
Guilt but was unable to match
Guilt on accumulated time to take the
Champion Yacht prize as well.
Champion Yacht Guilt, helmed
by Mika Wahm, was a popular winner – helped,
perhaps, by copious amounts of Finlandia Vodka and
their petrol-driven blender concoctions.
Thanks to our sponsors Colombian Emeralds for the prized green bags,
Doyle Sailmakers and Caribbean Cellars and Janice Braithwaite who gallantly
presented the prizes. A hearty round of applause to our chief Judge David De Vries, our PRO Bob Phillips, the Regatta Director John
Shirley and all the Moorings staff who made up the Interline Support Team.
Next year’s dates are 10th-18th October when
we will celebrate The Moorings Interline’s 25th
anniversary – be there.