Times are a changing and only one wooden boat entered this year’s 38th Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta, held May 25th out of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. That was Principito, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Chris Puder’s 37ft 1931-built gaff cutter. Yet, through the progressive thinking of hosts Foxy and Tessa Callwood and Commodore Martin van Houten of the organizing West End Yacht Club (WEYC), 15 ‘Classic Plastic’ yachts from the BVI and USVI also entered for a fun and competitive weekend of racing.
Picture-perfect weather on the first day brought light winds for racing. The course for the single race was set around Sandy Cay and Little and Great Thatch Islands, with the finish back at Great Harbour. The BVIs’ Kevin Rowlette won. Rowlette has raced this regatta for over 30 years and posted his first wins in the 1980s aboard his father’s 86ft wooden ketch, Athena. Later, he raced his 49ft Frers, Synergy. This year, he won aboard his Olson 30, Rushin Rowlette.
“Rushin’s design is actually 34 years old and her hull was built 31 years ago, so she is actually a Classic,” says Rowlette.
On Saturday night, people gathered for Foxy’s Fabulous BBQ and traded many stories of classic boats and old woodies.
The next morning, more than a dozen yachts raced in even lighter winds on the same course as the previous day.
Competition was close between Osprey, Larry Best’s 1967-built Luders yawl, and Zing, George Stuckert’s 1979-built J30.
“Zing beat us at the start and covered us tack for tack most of the weather leg to Sandy Cay,” tells Best. “We were going lower but faster and finally broke free but still couldn’t get past. We both pinched up and just made it around the rock off Sandy Cay. We finally got past on the reach, lost it on the run since we didn’t have enough crew to fly the chute, and then got it back on the second reach.”
Later that afternoon, there was an Awards Ceremony with everyone getting prizes in the WEYC tradition.
2012-2013 GOSLING’S REGATTA SERIES
Firecracker 500 Regatta (WEYC) – July 7th 2012
Round Tortola Race (RBVIYC) – November 17th 2012
Gustav Wilmerding Regatta (WEYC) – December 7th-8th 2012
Governor’s Cup (RBVIYC) – January 26th 2013
Dark’n Stormy Regatta (WEYC) – March 8th-11th 2013
Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta is the kick-off event for the second annual Gosling’s Rum Regatta Series. Jon Charlton, aboard his 41ft C&C Team Red Stripe, took the lead after this first regatta.
The six-race series – in which members of the Goslings Family may come out and race – is open to all yachts including charters. There will be one throw-out race allowed. Highest points win the series. That means the more popular races will hold more weight in overall standings. The Series ends with a big finale and prize-giving. Score keeping is designed to build excitement with standings published regularly on the Royal BVI Yacht Club web page (www.royalbviyc.org) and WEYC’s Facebook page. For more information, Email: [email protected]