Wednesday, April 24, 2024

34th Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta Results

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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The second largest wooden boat regatta in the Caribbean continues to grow in boat numbers and measured length. This reporter would like to credit the West End Yacht Club’s well-honed  handicapping system as the reason that boats come from far and wide year after year (actually Puerto Rico, St Thomas, and St John mostly—but this year from Carriacou, also!)

The system uses the acronym WYSIWYG which stands for “Wooden Yacht Sailing Index with Yearly Guessing.” The results tell the tale. The first four boats in the single hander race on Saturday were as different as chalk and cheese—or should it be tar and feathers. First was a 22ft Chalana sloop followed by a 40 ft Carriacou Sloop – the first to come off the beach in 10 years—next, a 54 ft veteran Trimaran, chased by a 16 ft Bequia double ender launched only two days before in Cane Garden Bay after a six-year rebuild. These varied examples of the wooden boat builder’s art all finished within 35 minutes of each other over a nearly four hour course around Sandy Cay and Great Thatch Island.

The WYSIWIG system is two dimensional and could at first be mistaken for bra size nomenclature.  Boats are first put into Types by their design denoting increasing speed potential and secondly into Classes by their length overall when sailing. Time allowances are given for each of these parameters to arrive at a corrected time.

Type A: Classic Island Sloops – rigged as sister ships (“SOD’s” or sloop one design) with movable or disposable ballast, hiking boards and will not be disqualified if all the crew that started does not finish.
Type AA: Modern Island Sloops – High tech rig, can use trapezes and spinnakers.
Type B: Traditional – Gaff rigs, full keel with rudder attached
Type C: Modern – Marconi rig, full keel with rudder attached
Type D: Fin Keels – Boats with rudders not attached to their keels
Type E: Multihulls – Two or more hulls rigidly tied together.

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Rumor at the bar was that Dave West, owner of a Melges 32, was so impressed with his experience crewing on the Tortola Sloop Youth Instructor that he may commission a wooden Melges 32. Hearing this, Commodore and CHO (Chief Handicap Officer) Martin van Houten commented that this would easily fit into the WYSIWYG system. “I think that would naturally be a Type EE class boat since the letter F is already taken to represent the FUN –GATTA nature of the event.”

Given the thorough nature of the handicap system, all competitors were warned at the skippers’ meeting of the rigorous culture behind the protest procedure. Specifically, a $100 fee is required to be presented at the bar. With Foxy as judge, the protest is settled with a number of rum shots as the final measurement. Results of past committees can be summed up in the phrase, “What You See Is What You Get” (which is probably where Gates got the acronym in the first place.)

With visitors well outnumbering the BVI boats, it was a pleasure to see all three Tortola Sloops racing with dedicated crews. Richard Wooldridge at the helm of Moonbeam won this special class handily.  Could it have been because he was seen out scrubbing the bottom that morning? or is she just fast(er) – a relative thing, of course.

The addition of the Classic class (any boat of a design over 30 years old) meant that most boats sailed both days.  Simplification of courses to eliminate any course marks (like the ones that sank in previous years) was welcomed by all, avoiding the possible varied eight courses used in earlier years.  

Honoring Foxy’s rule that Classics and Woodys sail different courses Saturday saw the Classics circumnavigating Jost van Dyke in perfect 10-14 knot winds while the wooden single handers circled Sandy Cay and Great Thatch.

West End Yacht Club (WEYC) rules allowing engines to be run to the start – designed to improve safety – encouraged tightly-packed starts as boats drove to the line within seconds of one another. Diane Lewis and Carol Arens completed a yeoman’s task of allocating the 50 or so prizes and 18 perpetual trophies. The committee was hard pressed to keep prizes and trophies moving before the drinking and dancing got serious.

Mike Kirk is a retired engineer from the corporate world and long time sailor who loves sailboat racing of all kinds. He has sailed dinghies in England and the US, and now races actively on a J120 in the Caribbean circuit. He and his wife Di live in Brewers Bay, Tortola.



Single Handed Race:
1 Dragon 22ft Island Sloop — Edwin –  Puerto Rico
2  Genesis  40 ft Carriacou Sloop – Alexis Andrews – Carriacou
3 Virgin Fire  Gold Coast 56 Cat – Jo Colpitt – St. John

Classic Race:
1  Zing  J30 – Rod Johnston – St Thomas
2  Moonshadow 41 ft YawlEdward Barreto
3  O’dege Nichloson 32 – Sara O’Neil – St John


Classic Race:
1  Zing  J30 – Rod Johnston – St Thomas
2  Alaunt  53 ft Ketch – Ron Arens – St Thomas
3  Ragamuffin –60ft Ketch – Loren Fletcher– St Thomas

Wooden Boat (2 Races Overall):

Traditional Sloops
1 Wendy 16 ft Bequia Sloop –  Steve Davies – BVI
2 Sweet Ting 16 ft Bequia Sloop –  Brian Morrisette – St John
3 Seanonda Rose  — 18ft Island Sloop – Bobby Danet  — USVI

Under 30ft Island Sloops
1  Dragon  22ft Island Sloop — Edwin –  Puerto Rico
2  Scorpion  22ft Gelo Island Sloop – Javier Rodriguez– Puerto Rico

30ft to 40ft Island Sloops
1  Jaguar II  34ft Yeyo Medina Island Sloop – Roberto – Puerto Rico
30ft to under 40 ft Marconi Rig
1 Yankee  Rhodes 34 – Brad Glidden – St. Thomas
2  Honora   37 ft Cutter Ketch – Joe Peterson

50ft to 60ft Marconi Rig
1  Raindancer   76 ft Staysail Schooner – John Whitsett –BVI
2  Gaucho  58 ft Ketch – John Everton

30ft to under 40 ft Traditional  (Gaff Rigged)
1  Penelope  39 ft Schooner — Les Anderson – St John
2  Buxam II  39ft Tahiti Ketch – Colin Hansen – St John

40ft to 50 ft Traditional  (Gaff Rigged)
1st Genesis 40 ft Carriacou Sloop – Alexis Andrews – Carriacou
2nd Amanda  46 ft Schooner – Kevin Gray – Jost van Dyke

Over 50ft Multihulls
1st Virgin Fire  Gold Coast 56 Cat – Jo Colpitt – St. John

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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