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Behind the Scenes Stories – Double the Fun at BVI Spring Regatta 2009

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There’s more fun to Caribbean regattas than simply who won and why. This year’s BVI Spring Regatta, sailed April 3 to 5 out of Tortola’s Nanny Cay Marina, highlighted this fact. The behind the scenes stories in many of the classes proved just as exciting as the racing.

Battle of the Nations &Team Spirit

The BVI Tourist Board started a tradition a few years back to host teams from the destinations where overseas tourist offices are located to race in the Bareboat Class.  Teams represented Puerto Rico, Italy, North America, Europe, the UK, Holland and the BVI for 2009.

“This is a great concept,” said Puerto Rico’s Pedrin Colon, who skippered Puerto Rico II to a fifth in class. “It would be fun to eventually have an entire class made up of teams from around the world. Talk about international racing.”

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Team Germany finished third in their class. “We had a great time,” said Rouven Dresselhaus, crewmember on Team Germany. “Three of our team members knew how to sail, the rest of us were novices, but we learned quickly.”

There were two teams that raced with an extra special mission – Sail Army 1 and Sail Army 2. “We did a tour in Afghanistan last year,” said Chris Lait, helmsman for Sail Army 2 and a member of the British Army. “Part of our cycle of training is to get rest and relaxation after being overseas, and do something that strengthens self reliance. Both teams approached the racing differently…everyone had the right spirit.”

Tiebreakers Rule

An incredible three classes – Spinnaker Racing D, Jib & Main and Bareboat A – were decided by tiebreakers. BVI veteran sailor, Dr. Robin Tattersall, sailing his classic Modified 30 Square Meter, Diva, won his Jib & Main Class, on just such a decider. “It was an amazing display of very different makes of boats,” he said. “The top six boats in the class were often seconds apart. What it means is good sailing and that the ratings work.”

What’s Happening in the ICs

Competition was fast and furious in the IC-24 class, yet less than a dozen boats were on the line. “Interest has fallen off a bit, but I think it’s starting to come back,” said the BVI’s Alec Anderson, who skippered Intac to a fourth place finish.

Fellow islander, Colin Rathbun, who won aboard his Lime, agreed. “It was great to get the guys from Puerto Rico and the USVI over here sailing, and attract the likes of a sailor from the UK that placed 4th at the J/24 Worlds last year. Locally, we’ve started racing every Saturday night. There are half a dozen or more boats on the line and we invite everyone to come out and sail.”

Battle of the Multis

The BVI Spring Regatta is the only event in the northern Caribbean to host a Large Multihull Class. This year, five double and triple-hulled vessels signed up to race, but the Race Committee quickly subdivided the class into racing and cruising cats based on speed. The decision to split, said the BVI’s Richard Wooldridge, who won aboard his Kelsel 47, Triple Jack, “meant we could do two races a day instead of one and that was great.”

Wooldridge did have his work cut out for him. Soma, a Formula 40 trimaran owned by St. John’s Nils Erickson, smoked the class and finished by tying Triple Jack on points. “Soma is a speed fix, an adrenalin rush, sailing her is the ultimate drug,” said first mate, Chris Hansen.

Meanwhile, St. Croix’s Joe San Martin, who flew around the course in his Newick Teegull 23, Team Piglet, had this to say to his fellow competitors, “Next year, no more Mr. Nice Guy.”

From Olympics to BVI & Back

Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero won the Racer-Cruiser Class aboard his J/105, Umakua, and he didn’t even start the first race. That’s what Olympic training will do for you. Reguero, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001, pursued a Para-Olympic sailing campaign in 2008 in the 2.4 dinghy. He’s sights are now set on training for 2012.

For full results, visit: http://bvisr.result.vg/public/regattaindex

Close Finishes in 2009 Cape Air C.O.R.T. Series

Three regattas, seven days of racing, and still it came down to the wire to determine the winners in the 2009 Cape Air C.O.R.T. (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) Series. This was especially true in Spinnaker Racing B. “It all boiled down to the final race on the last day,” said St. Thomas’ Chris Thompson, who helmed his J/27, J-Walker, to the win. “We won by only half a point – it was that close.”

The Performance Cruiser Class had some suspense of its own. St. Croix’s Tony Sanpere, skippering his J/36, Cayennita Grande, explained, “We beat them (third place finisher, El Presidente) in St. Croix and they beat us in Culebra. BVI was the decider.”

Fifteen boats competed in the Series that included the St. Croix International Regatta, Culebra Heineken International Regatta and BVI Spring Regatta.

In other classes, St. Croix’s Stanton brothers won Spinnaker Racing A aboard their Melges 24, Devil 3; BVI veteran sailor, Peter Haycraft, driving his Sirena 38, Pipedream, topped the Racer-Cruiser Class; the BVI’s Colin Rathbun won the IC-24 Class on Lime; and St. John’s Steve Schmidt led the Jib & Main Class aboard his Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California.

First place winners received two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the Caribbean Cape Air flies. “We invite everyone to come out and go island-hopping with us next year,” said Series director, Angel Ayala.

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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