The Nanny Cay Nations Cup is a round-robin regatta held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, where the simple requirement for entry is that all crew members carry the same passport.
Team Bitter End Holmberg managed to knock the defending BVI champions from their perch November 17 & 18 at the third annual outing—but it’s hard to imagine how the regatta could have ended any closer. As competitors went into the 20th and final race of the two-day event, two-time winners Team bmobile BVI were two points behind the USVI’s Team Bitter End Holmberg. In this nail-biting finale, the BVI team had to win the final race—with the Holmbergs placing fifth (last)—to win the event for the third time in a row. If the BVI placed second and the Holmbergs last, the regatta would end in a tie. The Holmberg team had not placed worse than third the entire regatta.
Conditions could not have been more perfect for the last day of racing. There was a little more wind than Saturday but very little wave action. The mark boat had not had to adjust the course all day, the sun was out, and the course was set right off the beach. Six teams were ashore watching the final race unfold with no one thinking the BVI had a chance.
All eyes were on 16-year old Alec Anderson, helming for the BVI with Robbie Hirst calling the tactics. The start went badly for the Holmbergs. They ended up "taking transoms" and tacked out into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. "The Canadians were on fire," according to Richard Wooldridge of Racing In Paradise, and rounded the windward mark first with the BVI in hot pursuit. Incredibly, the Holmbergs rounded the windward mark in last place by several boat lengths.
It was a two-round race but the Holmbergs could not close up on the run downwind, rounding the leeward mark still firmly in last place. Dotty Holoubek’s Crabtown Sailors and Team Holland did not give any ground. Equally, the BVI team desperately chased the Canadians for their much needed first place finish but the Canadians defended their lead to take the race with the BVI finishing second and the Holmbergs last.
Back on shore the points were double checked—the two teams were locked on 18 points each. (In the event of a tie, it’s the number of bullets—first places— that decides the outcome.) After sailing 10 races over the weekend, the BVI had five bullets but the Holmbergs had six. Team Holmberg, representing the Bitter End Yacht Club and the USVI, took the 2007 Nanny Cay Nations Cup.
The Holmbergs, namely John, wife Dianne, son Kai (age eight), brother Peter, and his wife Denise gracefully accepted the fine half hull trophy and perpetual award.
IC24s are modified J/24s and the fastest growing one-design class in the Caribbean with fleets in the US and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
For more information: www.racinginparadise.com.
Report and photos submitted by Racing in Paradise
Team Bitter End Holmberg (John Holmberg) – 18
bmobile BVI (Alec Anderson) – 18
UK Blighty’s (Andrew Waters) – 24
HIHO (Andy Morrell) – 25
Canuks (Chris Watters) – 26
Holland (Frits Bus) – 28
STM ‘Scuba shop’ (Simon Manly) – 38
Crabtown Sailors USA (Dotty Holoubek) – 42
Team Tatters UK (Robin Tattersall) – 46
Home Nations UK (Steve Roose) – 47
English Roses UK (Simon Wood) – 48