The BVI Spring Regatta is celebrating several important milestones at this year’s event (March 28 – April 3, 2011), including the regatta’s 40th anniversary and many wonderful years of support from its oldest sponsors, Mount Gay Rum, Heineken and their distributor Road Town Wholesale (RTW), a Tortola-based food and spirit distributor. These dedicated sponsors have a long heritage of supporting the BVI Spring Regatta and their partnership has helped create two of the sport’s indelible icons: Mount Gay’s “red hats” and Heineken’s “greenies”, as the brewery’s distinctive green bottles are known amongst salty dogs.
“Since the very first regatta, RTW has been a strong and loyal supporter of the BVI Spring Regatta,” said Delma Maduro, RTW’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our founder, Mr. Peter Haycraftâ€”an avid sailorâ€”was also a founding member of the BVI Spring Regatta. Over the years, we secured sponsorship deals with several of RTW’s exclusive brands. Mount Gay has been, and remains, a loyal sponsor from the very early years of the regatta. For about the past two decades Heineken came on board as a Gold sponsor.”
At first, sailors returned home from the BVI Spring Regatta with suntans and stories, but by the late 1980s, the now-ubiquitous Mount Gay hats appeared, forever changing regatta wear. But unlike regular caps, Mount Gay hats are earned, not merely purchased. “The brand has never sold a red cap and it never will!” said Mount Gay’s RaphaÃ«l Grisoni. “There is no other way to get one than to sail in the regatta. They have become a sign of recognition among real sailors.” In keeping with tradition, each participating boat will receive several hats in their skippers bags; for many skippers, deciding which crew members get these prized lids will be one of the week’s hardest calls.
While the Mount Gay hats are rationed, the flow of “Greenies” will exceed demand, as Heineken has been a Gold-level sponsor long enough to understand the needs of thirsty racers. “Most sailors look forward to relaxing with their friends and a few ‘Greenies’ after long day of racing in the Caribbean sun,” said Bob Phillips, Regatta Chairman. “We’re grateful to all our sponsors for their continued support, and we look forward to some great racing and fun parties this spring.”
And while all sailors and their guests are encouraged to party hard and sail harder, the BVI Spring Regatta strives to ensure that empty bottles don’t get discarded. In 2008, the event organizers started a full-scale recycling program and became the first regatta to be awarded a Silver Certificate from Sailors for the Sea, a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to making sailing a lower-impact sport in 2009. Since then, their efforts have expanded to include dispensing refillable water bottles, using biodegradable cups at the bar and serving containers at all food stalls and conserving paper. Look for these eco-friendly initiatives, as well as a team of volunteer “Green Rangers”, a group of young students, who will help with the recycling stations so that the regatta can “Keep it Green” for all the sailors, and to protect their future crystal-water sailing playground.
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