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Sailors party during a raft-up at Leverick Bay. Photo by Todd VanSickle
Sailors party during a raft-up at Leverick Bay. Photo by Todd VanSickle

Interline Regatta: To Race or To Party?

Over the 33 years the The Moorings has hosted the Interline Regatta, it has continued to live up to its reputation of good sailing and great parties. From October 14th – 23rd, airline professionals from around the world competed in the weeklong regatta throughout the BVI. Each team had at least one airline employee on board.

Thirty-six boats competed in the Interline Regatta, but were supported by scores of other boats who were along just for the fun.

“We have the schedule published online, so they know where to meet us every night for the party,” Regatta organizer Ian Pedersen said. “The BVI knows how to throw a party.”

Allan and Liz Edwards, of San Diego, have airline friends who were competing in the regatta. They were on a three-week charter to the BVI.

“We try to come every other year to party with our friends,” Mr. Edwards said. “We participate in the parties not the racing.”

Pedersen, assistant marketing manager for The Moorings, said the racing was held early in the morning when the winds were steady. Some of the racing included windward/leeward courses to deal with the light conditions.

“Whether you are a beginner or expert sailor, it is all about having a good time and getting some racing in while you are here,” Pedersen said.

After the racing finished for the day, the fleet sailed to a different destination to start a night of reveling with rum and dancing either on shore or on a flotilla.  Sailors were encouraged to dress the part at theme parties like tacky tourist, Vikings, pirates, Mardi Gras, Mile High Club and ABC (anything but clothes).

“It is a mixed bag,” Ms. Edwards said. “None of the parties are the same.”

This year’s regatta made stops at Peter Island, Cane Garden Bay, Bitter End, Anegada, Leverick Bay, Pirates Bight and The Moorings on Tortola.

“Everyone is competing to see who can throw the biggest party,” Pedersen said. “It just gets bigger and better as the week goes on.”

On the sixth day of the regatta, hundreds of boats filled Leverick Bay Resort and Marina. The sailors were enjoying a lay day with activities like stand-up paddleboard and blindfolded kayak races. The winners were awarded a bottle of Champagne or wine.

Others lounged poolside sipping rum concoctions waiting for the sun to dip behind the mountain as a few women in bikinis twisted and gyrated on the sandy dance floor to D.J. B. Later in the night, Elvis White took the stage.

The Interline Regatta has been stopping at Leverick Bay Resort and Marina since 2008. The resort’s general manager Nick Willis said his niece, who works at Emirates, helped start the relationship between the resort and regatta.

“Every year we try to make it bigger and better,” said Willis, who had Antilles Helicopter Service on hand for the event.

On the docks at Leverick Bay Marina aboard So Long, Søren Blume Svendsen’s crew where preparing for the night ahead. Most of the crews’ toenails were painted (men and women), which marked acts of bravery involving nudity. Svendsen’s nails were a bright maroon color, but he declined to give details about how he earned the honor.

Despite competing in the regatta ten times, captain Svendsen, of Denmark, said this most likely was his last time.

Although he has enjoyed every Interline Regatta, the rising costs of traveling and his girlfriend are just some of the reasons he is calling it quits.

“We know a lot of people in the airline industry, so this is a good opportunity to come together,” Sevendsen said. “If the regatta wasn’t here in the BVI, we wouldn’t come.”

 

Todd VanSickle is a journalist living and working in the Virgin Islands.

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