Reggae and rum are only half the fun of Caribbean regattas. Out on the water, there’s serious racing by teams with strictly planned campaigns, strategically prepared boats and skillfully trained crew. A wonderful example of one of the best this past season was Peter Corr’s Blitz. The King 40 certainly lived up to her name, with a lightning speed that landed St. Thomas’ Corr and his Australian and U.S. Virgin Islands-based crew first place finishes in four regattas in a row: Round the Rocks, St. Thomas International Regatta, the BVI Spring Regatta and Les Voiles de St. Barth. This was no mean feat considering the class competition changed with each event meaning Blitz sailed against 14 different boats, everything from a Melges 32 to Andrews 70 during its quartet of spring season regattas.
“Since Blitz was a new boat for us and we had tuned it up and did other work on her for three months prior to the start of the season, we were anxious to see how we performed – and we won,” says Corr. “To recap the season, we became stronger with each race because we changed sails dependent on conditions, we corrected items on the boat every evening and we certainly tried to start each day in the best position we could, both boat and crew. As a result, we just got better and better and the boat responded.”
The persistence paid off and Blitz finished seven points in front of second place finisher, the BVI-based J/122 El Ocaso in the St. Thomas International Regatta, 11 points in front of the USA’s Marten 49, Summer Storm, in the BVI Spring Regatta, and six points ahead of the Antigua-based J/122 Liquid. In most races, Blitz owed everyone time based on handicap.
The Blitz team was made up of Corr on helm, David Sampson calling tactics, headsail trimmer Malcolm Parker, and Tricia Hooper and Rene Papo as pit and pit assist, respectively. The mainsail trimmer was Nathan Ellis with Eric Butte on mast, Nicholas Blackman on bow, Rian Bareuther mid-bow, and alternate Christiane Jernigan.
“David Sampson has worked with me overseeing the building of my boats and is an amazing racer. He connected me a decade ago to some great guys and we have all raced together for years,” says Corr. “We also party, but get to sleep at a reasonable time so everyone rests sufficiently. Except, of course, on award nights and the lay day in St. Barth!”
What’s ahead for 2018?
“Next year we will race in at least these four regattas again, plus perhaps the Round Tortola Race and new overnight Full Moon Race around the British Virgin Islands,” says Corr.