As winners took to the stage to collect their spoils on Sunday evening, April 1, more than one them took the microphone and commented on the quality of this year’s BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. John Foster, sailing Racing Class C winner, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, said, “This is the best regatta I’ve ever raced in.” Dave West, of Chippewa, and the owner of Titan XII, Tom Hill, made very similar comments and it makes one wonder, what sparks such positive accolades from the competitors.
Through the years, Bob Phillips, Chairman of the Regatta, has striven to bring in the best race management that he can attract. “The sailors understand that bad weather can’t be helped, they also understand that bad race management is inexcusable.” Dave Brennan, the PRO, runs the Melges 24 circle at Key West, Block Island Race Week and numerous handicap and one design events on Biscayne Bay. Tom Duggan, the RO on the one design course, is considered to be one of the top one design race officers in the world having run dozens of World and National championships and the Volvo Ocean Race in-port event in Annapolis. Complimenting these outstanding race officers are a group of international jurists and umpires that have adjudicated at the top of the sport for many years.
For a number of years, Caribdata’s Paul Miller, has been the scorer for the regatta and also CSA’s rating database manager. Each year, the scoring system has gotten faster, more integrated and this year, using a CCT Global Communication wireless connection, Paul was able to directly link his scoring program to the committee boats. Race committee personnel entered finish times while on the water and the system automatically calculated corrected finish times, which were posted in real time on the web. These provisional results were available to the world before most racers even hit the dock.
Regatta host, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina, and Bitter End are committed to the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. Nanny Cay dedicates untold resources to provide for the Regatta, the committee, the Regatta Village and the competitors. The property itself is ideally suited to what has been dubbed a “sand between your toes” event, with the beach, pool, hotel, slips, camping area, and the many other amenities located on its premises. The management team, led by Miles Southerland-Pilcher, bends over backwards to work hand in hand with the Regatta organizers to make every aspect of the regatta run smoothly. Bitter End, which hosts the Bitter End Cup and Lay Day activities, is a sailor’s paradise. It is a resort built, managed by and designed for people who love to sail and it’s almost impossible to have a bad time there.
The Regatta Village is a concept that works. With local restaurants providing economical and good fast food, a bar staffed with loads of eager volunteers (and beer) and live music nightly, plenty of seating, sailors and friends have a comfortable place is hang out, tell lies and enjoy the camaraderie without having to deal with traffic or parking issues.
The 2007 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival was blessed this year with some great weather. Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1, were picture perfect Caribbean days with wind and sunshine in such abundance that no one seemed to remember the rain and light air endured early in the week during the Sailing Festival.
With all the elements of a great regatta in place, sailors enjoyed six days of racing. After registration on Monday, March 26, the BVI Sailing Festival began on Tuesday with the Bitter End Cup. A record 45 boats sailed from Nanny Cay, the presenting sponsor, to Bitter End in about 15 knots of breeze. Taking the top spot in the racing division was Team Paul Mitchell. Black Hole, from the UK, won the Cruising Division and Joyce Smith, sailed by Tony Mack, a well known Solent sailor, won the Bareboat class.
Wednesday, March 28, was layday Bitter End style. There was dinghy racing and the Nation’s Challenge Cup sailed in Bitter End’s fleet of Hunter 216’s. The air was light and there was a little rain late in the afternoon. Competing against five other teams, a group off Dark and Steamy (UK) were the winners of the 2007 Nation’s Challenge Cup.
Light air prevailed on Thursday and only one boat, Dark and Steamy, finished the Nanny Cay Cup, the race from Bitter End to Nanny Cay, before the time limit. Everyone else in the Racing class was awarded second place, causing a scramble for eight second place prizes. In the Bareboat and Cruising divisions, no one finished before the time limit expired.
With the Sailing Festival over and registration for the BVI Spring Regatta closed, 146 boats began competition in the main event on Friday, March 29. The Sir Francis Drake Channel was awash with boats ranging in size from 14 – 75’ sailing on three different courses.
On the Cooper course, racers enjoyed a mixed array of courses that included both windward leeward and round the island racing. Spectators and sailors alike had plenty of excitement with ABN AMRO strutting its Volvo Ocean Race winning ways and many boats barely in control as they dealt with a few 26 knot puffs. As indicated by the number of boats that broached, there was plenty of wind all weekend and every day there seemed to be more sunshine.
Class winners on the Cooper course were:
Racing Class A ABN AMRO One (1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 8)
Racing Class B Devil 3 (1-1-3-3-1-2-1-1 – 13), Chris Stanton
Racing Class C, J-Bird III (7-3-1-1.5-5-2-3-1 – 23.5), Doug Baker’
Racing Class D J/27, J-Walker (1-2-2-2-2-1.5-1-1 -12.5), Chris Thompson
Racing Class E Pipedream (4-2-3-1-2-2-2-2 -18), Peter Haycraft
Sailing on the Norman Course, the sailors completed five different round the island races. While the racing was tough in the big breeze, the most mistreated boat on that side of the channel must have been the committee boat, Bitter End’s Corinthian. It suffered three direct assaults by racers and two actual holes in the fiberglass. On Sunday, April 1, the race committee placed a distress call to the number one mark boat. The message was relayed that the mark boat needed to hurry over as Corinthian was taking on water very quickly and the committee members needed to be taken off the boat. The mark boat responded immediately, all committee members were on the port side and appeared to be ready to abandon ship, but as the mark boat approached, they all called out, “April Fools’.” This set off a chain of April Fools jokes which temporarily rattled committee members and provided of lot of entertainment.
Class winners on the Norman Course were:
Performance Cruising A Affinity (1,2,1,1,3 – 8), Jack Desmond
Performance Cruising B Three Harkoms (1,1,1,1,1 – 5), Christopher Lloyd
Jib and Main Mary Jane (1,1,1,1,1 – 5), David Hueter and Andy Kaiser
Bareboat A Joyce Smith (1,1,1,1,1 – 5), Tony Mack
Bareboat B Chess (1,3,2,1,1 – 8), Jan Soderberg
Multihull Triple Jack (1,1,1,1,2- 6), Richard Wooldridge
Closer inshore was the one design course and the course on which Bob Phillips, Event Chairman, applied ISAF’s Appendix Q , with six umpires instantly adjudicating situations that could potentially result in a protest. The umpires, almost all International Umpires, had the right to impose a two-turn penalty if they witnessed an infraction and if the offending competitor chooses to wait for the umpires to rule rather than initiating one- penalty turn on their own. Reaction from the racers was positive and general consensus is that people sailed more cleanly as a result. Andrew Waters, sailing MIO Roaming felt is was a learning opportunity, “The umpires are communicating on the water and we can see what they are looking at. They are very open to helping competitors understand.”
The one design course also hosted the fastest growing group in the regatta, the Laser class. Besides USVI and BVI sailors, competitors traveled with their coaches from Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia and the Chesapeake to compete.
Perhaps the tightest racing on the water all weekend was in the IC24 class. First place was not determined until race number sixteen, the last race of the series. Robbie and Michael Hirst, sailing MIO Broadband (6,2,5,6,4,1,1,1,2,7,3,3,1,2,7,2 – 53) were nearly tied with Chris Rosenberg (2,3,8,5,1,2,5,2,3,5,1,2,5,4,1,8 – 57). It was the Hirsts’ second and Rosenberg’s eighth place finish in race number sixteen the clinched the series.
Other class winners on the course were:
Beach Cats Caribbean Auto Mart (1,1,1,1,1,1- 6), Tom Ainger
Laser Overall, Radials Ryan Rocke (4-1-1-1-2-1-3-2-2-4-3-1-1-2 – 28), Trinidad
Laser 4.7 Anthony Alkins (1,3,4,2,4,2,3,3,2,3,1,1,2,1 – 32)
There were two special awards presented at Sunday’s ceremony. The Moorings Charter Cup, presented to the best overall finisher in Bareboat A or B was presented to Tony Mack and the MacFly team from the UK. The team sailed both the Sailing Festival and the BVI Spring Regatta and had first place finishes in every race. BVI Chief Minister, the Honourable Dr. Orlando Smith, presented the Chief Minister’s Award for the Best BVI Boat to Christopher Lloyd for Three Harkom’s straight first place finishes in the Performance Cruising B division.
Complete results are available at www.bvispringregatta.org
Plans are already underway for the 2008 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. The 2008 Sailing Festival – a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta – will begin on Monday, March 31 with a welcome party at Nanny Cay, Three days of destination cruising, racing and layday fun, including the Nation’s Challenge Cup, will lead up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday, April 4, The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a weeklong sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands,
Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival celebrated its 36th anniversary, It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas, The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, CCT Global Communications, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken, The Moorings, Mount Gay, and SOL,
Visitors can fly to the British Virgin Islands through San Juan, Puerto Rico with American Airlines, Cape Air and LIAT, Flights are also available through Antigua and Barbados on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and BWIA,
For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including daily news, photos and complete results from the 2007 event, visit the official web site: http://www.bvispringregatta.org, For more information on the British Virgin Islands visit: http://www.bvitourism.com, For more information on Nanny Cay Marina visit: http://www.nannycay.com
The BVI Spring Regatta is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.