Foxy Callwood of Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, held another stellar event this May to celebrate 35 years of wooden boat racing, as he gets ready to accept his MBE. Although we have lost so many wooden boats that have gone by the wayside through sinking, falling into disrepair, sailing over the horizon, owners passing away, and crew moving on, the West End Yacht Club still puts on a great weekend with Martin Van Houten at the helm as Commodore.
Wooden boat numbers were way down, so Foxy eventually agreed to include the Classics, boats over 30 years old, in this year’s event. This boosted numbers enough to round out the fleet. It is unfortunate that the BVI has lost some of its boat building tradition, as the elder craftsmen have passed on, and very few have stepped in to pick up the reins. Although the college has attempted to revive the Tortola sloops, they didn’t quite make it for this year. One Tortola favorite, Dr. Tattersall’s Diva, a 30 Square Meter, showed up in fine form with Pat “Pot Belly” Bailey as crew to sail in near perfect conditions.
And then there was the fleet built by Steve White of Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine. Three wooden beauties Vortex, Wild Horses and Marjorie stopped in on their way from Antigua to Newport to make this a special event for those who raced aboard.
Vortex, a 55 Square Meter, owned by Steve White and gallantly lent for the event, was sailed in the single-handed race Saturday by James Buchanan who won overall. He also won her class in this edition of Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta in the crewed division on Sunday, along with Tracy Obert and myself sharing helm in the second race, and Denise Holmberg and James calling tactics. It was a photo finish at the wire when Wild Horses was neck and neck with Vortex, whose crew was euphoric to finish boat for boat with a 76 footer of equal pedigree.
The W-76 Class yacht Wild Horses was launched in June of 1998 and her sister followed in September of 1998. She was designed by Steve’s father Joel White for Donald Tofias, who commissioned the construction of two identical yachts. Brooklin Boat Yard built Wild Horses and Steve’s brother in law, who owns Rockport Marine, built White Wings. These boats and Vortex were designed as inshore racers, not passage makers, although they have sailed on their own bottom from Newport to the Caribbean as well as sailing from France to the Caribbean. More usually they are shipped. They are cold molded as well, of Douglas fir, cedar and mahogany. The W’s have carbon fiber masts and rudders.
Marjorie was also designed by Robert Stephens (now of Stephens, Waring and White Designers, which is a sub division of Brooklin Boat Yard) and launched in 2007. This was her first winter in the Caribbean. She ably won her division. We look forward to seeing them all return for next year’s fun.
In the Classic division the Cal 40 Rascal, which was refit over the past five years by owner Adrian Sinton, came in first across the line in her division but was beaten out by Osprey in corrected time. There was a decent sized fleet from small 20’ up to the Columbia 57 Rainbow Maker showing up for the fun and mayhem.
Another classic was the committee boat, Silver Spirit, donated for the weekend by her owners. She has her own incredible history of being rescued and rebuilt, which is whole other story. Les Anderson once again designed the fantastic posters and T Shirts. The race committee did a stellar job of making this great weekend happen, and Foxy, Tessa, Paul Mason and crew stepped up to the plate to serve up another great event.
Val Doan grew up sailing the islands and makes her living on the sea delivering, teaching, racing, cruising, researching, writing and loves photographing her adventures
Island Sloop Traditional Rig – Senada Rose
Island Sloop Modern – Sweet Ting
Under 40 Fin Keel – Diva
Over 40 Fin Keel – Vortex
Over 30 Traditional Rig – Buxom
30-40 Modern – Grace
40-50 Modern – Indigo
Over 50 Modern – Marjorie
Single handed race – James Buchanan, Vortex