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Triple Jack Takes Victory in Peg Legs Round Tortola Race 2009

After numerous line honours in the Round Tortola Race since her arrival in the BVI in 1997, Triple Jack managed to claim overall victory on the fortieth anniversary of the Peg Legs Round Tortola Race held Saturday, November 21.

In conditions seemingly made for this trimaran, she circumnavigated Tortola in three hours, thirty-three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, beating closest rival Jurakan, a Melges 32, by 42 minutes across the line.

With the wind blowing from the south-south-east, unheard of in its 40-year history according to race veteran Peter Haycraft, the fleet was predominantly able to sail directly to Beef Island and once on the north side reach directly to Soper’s Hole. Once there, however, the lottery of the fickle winds played havoc with some competitors’ finish times but not Triple Jack’s—she “rattled through” in three painless tacks.

Because of the light winds and excellent wind direction, the Nanny Cay sponsored Triple Jack, a Kelsal 47, was able to carry full main, spinnaker and half-furled genoa almost the entire length of her northern run along Tortola, allowing her to really stretch her legs and put time between her and the rest of the fleet.

“It was six tacks, one gybe for the entire race,” said Richard Wooldridge, skipper of Triple Jack. “Sail area wise, if there had been another five knots of wind we would have been a bit over-pressed on the shy reaches. But with that mainsail, genoa and that kite we had, we were perfect, just absolutely perfect.”

“We could hold it,” added crewmember George Lane, “whereas other people, I think, were caught between a jib and a spinnaker. They were kind of going fast in the wrong direction with Code O’s.”

Sailing without instruments, the Triple Jack crew was a little unsure on wind-speed, settling on 10-14 knots on the north side of Tortola. “It was quite a refreshing way to sail actually, and I think we sailed a little bit better because of it,” added Richard.

Triple Jack smashed her own 2002 record of 3 hours and 55 minutes from Road Town to Nanny Cay, sailed when the Round Tortola wasn’t quite a complete circumnavigation.

Peter Haycraft’s Pipe Dream was second in racing class, 14 minutes behind Triple Jack on corrected time and last year’s winner, Dave West’s Jurakan painfully missed second place by one second to place third.  Guy Eldridge’s Luxury Girl, after a seemingly excellent start, lost a whopping 22 minutes after missing her recall for being over; it’s never a good sign when you have to use a spinnaker to get back to the line to restart.

Tom Mullen sailing Shamrock V for the last time, won cruising class, while Adrian Sinton’s Rascal was second and Dr. Robin Tattersall’s Diva was third. All classes started in the Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay and then headed anti-clockwise around Tortola. After the beat east up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the fleet headed round Scrub and Great Camanoe islands and onto a downwind run to West End where, after a quick wiggle through Soper’s Hole, they beat back to the finish off Nanny Cay. 

A raucous prize giving was held at Peg Legs Restaurant in the evening with Dick Schoonover as MC. Full results and photos can be seen at: www.nannycay.com/peg-legs-round-tortola-race

Report submitted by Peg Legs Round Tortola Race/Nanny Cay Marina

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