With spectacular race courses and a great party atmosphere ashore the 42nd BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival was an absolute classic.
The racing programme kicked off with the Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup. Peter Corr’s Alia 82, Aiyana, smashed the monohull record by nearly half an hour, setting a new record of 3h 29m 44s for the 37-mile course.
Dockside, Corr was delighted to hear that Nanny Cay Resort & Marina had put up a fabulous prize for a record run: Dinner for 15 people and a Jeroboam of Champagne at Peg Legs Restaurant.
“Fantastic! We have 15 on board and they cost a small fortune to feed,” joked Corr. “I would like to say a big thank you to Nanny Cay. This is my third trip to the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival and it definitely won’t be the last.”
Caribbean Insurers Island Invitational Race to Norman Island
Sunshine and a gentle breeze provided sublime conditions for the pursuit race with the faster boats chasing down earlier starters in a game of cat-and-mouse around the beautiful islands south of Tortola.
In Classic Class, the lovingly restored vintage sloop The Blue Peter was the victor. “We crossed the Atlantic in Blue Peter while taking part in a classic race from Cascais to Barbados and we plan to go to several Caribbean regattas,” said skipper Mathew Barker.
The BVI Sailing Festival concluded with a lay day with all sorts of fun in the sun. Meanwhile, eight teams took part in the Sol Optimist Challenge held off the beach at Nanny Cay Marina. The relay race, with teams of three, was organized by the Royal BVI Yacht Club to showcase their youth programme funded by Sol. In the final heat the winning team was Rayne Duff (Racer), Richard Wooldridge (Adult) and William Dawson (Beginner).
Three days of world-class racing action and partying under the stars was the format and the regatta proved one of the most exciting for many years. After calm conditions on day one, the second two days had extremely windy conditions with 20 knots of breeze and lumpy seas turning the Sir Francis Drake Channel into a high speed, action-packed arena.
In Spinnaker Racing 1, Sergio Sagramoso’s Puerto Rican J/122, Lazy Dog, finished the regatta with a bullet and a third place to win the class. Debbie and Dave Clasen’s Tartan 10, Windemon, had an excellent regatta to finish top of Spinnaker Racing 2.
The BVI Melges 32, INTAC, skippered by Mark Plaxton scored five wins in a 10 race series in Spinnaker Racing 3, to win the class and the award for best BVI boat of the regatta.
In Performance Cruiser 1, Hamnett Hill’s Canadian Marten 49, Defiance, scored five wins out of six races to win the class by a big margin. The surfing conditions and reaching courses suited the team over their heavier displacement rivals.
In performance Cruiser 2, Harold Keating’s J/95, Shamrock VII had a perfect score for the last two days to win the class. Stanford Joines J/36, Paladin, was second, the schoolteacher from St. Croix had pupils on board from St. Croix Central High School with an average age of just 14.
Chuck Pessler’s Team Island Water World Racing from St. Thomas dominated in the IC 24 Class ending the regatta with a perfect string of bullets.
Charlton & Bonanni’s C&C 41, Red Stripe Reba was the winner in Jib & Main 2. “We have come second in class for the last two years so it is great to win this year, the crew have been fantastic in the lively conditions,” Bonanni said.
Three teams from Holland occupied the podium for Bareboat 1. Although Rene Van Dop’s Aquaholics sealed the class win, he said winning wasn’t that important. “We are a group of friends who come over from Holland to enjoy sailing in the Caribbean and we have absolutely loved coming to these beautiful islands, everybody has been so friendly, it just doesn’t get better.”
In Bareboat 2, Peter Nielson’s Merlin Kief won the class from Radboud Crul’s all Dutch team on Dundee. John Pinheiro’s team, The Whalers, from the New Bedford Yacht Club, took third.
The Regatta Village at Nanny Cay Marina hosted the BVI Spring Regatta Awards Ceremony. Premier and Minister of Finance & Tourism Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, was guest of honour along with representatives from all top sponsors.
This year, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival had the honour of being acknowledged the first Carbon Neutral regatta on the planet, awarded by Sailors for the Sea.
Race report by Louay Habib