Catamarans from all around the Virgins and crews from around the globe converged in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke the end of October to slug it out over who would be crowned the “Baddest Cat” in the islands this season. Foxy’s annual Catfight sponsored by the West End Yacht Club of Tortola is the only race in the Virgin Islands that is exclusively a multihull shootout.
“I knew early on that these boats were going to become more and more popular,” said Foxy, “So I said: let’s get a race together, and see what they can do.” It was then decided that it would be the first race on the season’s calendar, coinciding with the seasonal re-opening of Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, and its Halloween Masquerade Ball.
This year’s turnout of fifteen boats was the best in the race’s history. Charter Cats from The Moorings, TMM, Barecat Charters and Pro Valor Charters all made the showing along with day sail boats, private crewed charter yachts and privately owned vessels.
Wind was fair, blowing 12-15 knots at the start of the race. The Cats crossed the starting line outside of Great Harbour staggered in one minute intervals, with two races to be run on the day. The course took the boats up around Sandy Cay, down around Great Thatch Island then rounding a set marker to the east, and back into Great Harbour for the finish. Cats were divided into three size classes, and elapsed times in both races were totaled to determine the winners.
The under 40s, with four boats in the class, saw a virtual tie for first place to the tenth of a second between private yachts Sanctuary, an Island Spirit 37 captained by Tom Garvey, and Wildfire,an Edelcat 35 skippered by John Hayes. A close second went to St. Thomas day sail skipper Spencer Dickey on his Endeavor 36, Happy Hour. Eutopia, a Tortola based charter I.S. 40, rounded out the class.
The biggest class was the 40-45s with seven boats vying for the title. Catatonic, a St Thomas based charter Lagoon 440, captained by Dirk DeLo, took the gold, followed by skipper “Dirty Doug” Moody in his Tortola based charter Norseman 43, Mustang Sally. Radio Flyer and Holoholo tied it up for third, with Hypnautic, Silver Moon and Indigo crossing the line respectively.
The big boat class of over 45’ had four entrees, and Skipper Warren Thring managed to edge out the competition aboard Pro Valor Charter’s Robertson Caine Leopard 4500 Wildcat II. Second place also went to a RC Leopard, the 46’ Halcyon III under the command of Kevin Quinn. Barecat Charter’s Aggie Cat took the bronze followed in by Blue Moon.
After a heated debate amongst Commodore Martin van Houten the other WEYC committee members, Pro Valor Charters’ Wildcat II now holds the title “Baddest Cat of 2009,” a title they are now obliged to defend in 2010.
As we know, racing in the Virgin Islands mixes one part sailing with at least one part party, and Foxy’s Catfight was no exception. Pirates, wenches, ghouls, ghosts and even a cheerleading team all packed the bar for Foxy’s Halloween Masquerade Ball. Elvis himself presided over the costume judging where cash prizes were awarded in various categories.
Foxy, Tessa and the gang offer their sincerest gratitude to all the participants in this years race, to Martin van Houten and the West End Yacht Club, to all the local business sponsors for generously supporting the races with prizes year after year, to Mark Paulsen and the other members of the “Travel Talk On Line” forum for the great press, and, of course, to Foxy’s staff, who “git ‘er done” every year.
Report submitted by Paul Mason, Foxy’s