Presented by Nanny Cay in early April annually, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is a highlight of the Caribbean racing season, drawing about 160 boats ranging in size from 14 to 75 feet and sailors from almost every continent.
This year the week-long event begins officially on March 31 with the BVI Sailing Festival registration for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the water and the BVI in a leisurely fashion. This low-pressure precursor to the BVI Spring Regatta starts in Nanny Cay (or, for those who also choose to participate in the VI Raceweek, St. Thomas,) and goes to Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. Once at Bitter End, guests are entertained with cocktail parties, limbo contests, dinner and, of course, awards.
The next day, April 2, is lay day, Bitter End style. What’s your pleasure?
Do you want to race dinghies with your countrymen and teammates for the honor of the Nations Cup, take a trip to Anegada or The Baths, snorkel in Necker Sound, or spend the day at the Spa? The choice is yours.
April 3 marks the race back to Nanny Cay from Bitter End, aptly named the "Nanny Cay Cup", with a Mount Gay cocktail party and awards waiting at the other end. At this point, the Festival Village at Nanny Cay is ready to rumble. Food and clothing venders, the bar and live music provide a party atmosphere at Nanny Cay for the next four days and nights.
On Friday, April 4, the main event, BVI Spring Regatta begins. Drake Channel is sprinkled heavily with race boats and also race courses, three to be exact. Closest to the beach is the One Design Course. Here boats range from one man 14 foot Lasers to IC 24s, carrying four or five crew members each. Beach Cats also share this course, and although the course may get the least attention in the press, some of the most competitive racing happens closest to the shore. In one race two years ago, eleven ICs finished within 32 seconds of each other leaving race officials scrambling to sort out the finishes.
Looking across the channel to the Southeast is the Cooper course. Host to the traditional keelboat racers, this course has welcomed the likes of Roy’s Disney’s sled Pyewacket, Roger Sturgeon’s Transpac 52, Rosebud, and last year, the incredible Volvo Ocean Racer and winner of the most recent round the world race, ABN AMRO. This year, there will likely be seven classes, ranging in size from 24 to 75 feet, racing with professional crews as well as talented and enthusiastic amateurs vying for the gold, glory, and bragging rights.
Just to the west, for those who would rather race around islands than buoys, and want the choice as whether or not to carry a spinnaker, there is the Norman course. This is the course that offers competitors more options and the opportunity to take the "scenic route". Although the size of the boats is very much like those on the Cooper course, this race area will appeal to those who want to race but also don’t mind a little slower pace. With courses that take the competitors around the BVI barrier islands and down to Frenchman’s Cay and back, competitors have a more scenic tour of the BVI than those racing on the Cooper course. Home of the bareboat fleet, Jib and Main, Performance Cruising, and the large multihulls, this race course is likely to be the most popular one in the channel.
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has something for everyone. Whether you are a sailing professional, racing enthusiast, or just a hacker, there is action on the water that will suit your style or, if you really don’t want to sail, just come for the great food, live music and take the time to see the BVI.
Preview submitted by BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival