Well over 40 boats took part in the third annual six-event Gosling’s Regatta Series in the British Virgin Islands. At the conclusion of the Dark n Stormy ‘Fungatta’ Regatta raced March 7-10, the final event of the 2013/2014 Series, only six points separated the two top boats. Interestingly, it was Henry Leonnig on his Melges 24, Fire Water that won the Dark’n Stormy, but it was Jon Charlton driving his C&C 41 CB, Red Stripe/Reba, that championed the Series Overall title.
The weather was less than perfect for the Dark’n Stormy, a three-day regatta that features a race from Beef Island to Anegada, lay-day play-day, and race back to Tortola.
Leonnig says they gained an advantage by being in the right place at the right time at the start of the race. “From there we were in a drag race to get around the Dog Islands first. We were incredibly lucky to have a south east breeze so we could set our kite and go fast in almost the right direction. We would reach up under jib and then reset the kite a couple of times. It was a fun fast run Anegada bound and we had a blast there, but then the wind fell out completely so there was no race home. The reason we placed so well in the series, finishing second, is due to the success we had in this race.”
Team Red Stripe/Reba enjoyed a five-point series lead over Fire Water going into the Dark’n Stormy. “Anything can happen in light air so we were a bit nervous at the start,” Charlton says. “In the end, we found the key to winning the series was consistency. We did not win a single race in the 2013/14 series, but we participated in all of them and always finished in the top five spots.”
Participation in every leg was another crucial factor to doing well in the overall series.
“The more entrants the more points for the winners and the highest points wins the series,” says Fire Water’s Leonnig.
Red Stripe/Reba’s Charlton adds, “The enthusiasm grows each race if you are consistently placing well in a series. On the other hand, if you have a bad race early on, you know you have a number of opportunities to get back into the series again, especially with one throw-out race per series allowed.”
John Hays’ Wildfire, Keith LeGreci’s Girasoli and David Lake’s Wicked Winch rounded out the top five boats in the 2013/14 series behind Red Stripe/Reba first and Fire Water second.
The Gosling’s Regatta Series was started by host West End Yacht Club (WEYC) as a way to get more sailors to race on a regular basis.
“I think that the series has increased participation to the event legs and has encouraged some friendly competition among some of the local boats,” says WEYC commodore, Martin van Houten. “Our numbers for this past series of events are up overall from last year.”
The tentative schedule for the 2014/15 Gosling’s Regatta Series begins with Foxy’s Wooden (& Classic Plastic) Boat Race on May 23th-25th 2014. Other events in the Series include the Fish n’ Lime 2nd Annual Beat N Run on June 6th-7th; the Firecracker 500 Regatta, July 4th-5th; Round Tortola Race, November 17th, Gustav Wilmerding Regatta, December 5th-6th; and Dark’n Stormy Regatta, March 13th-16th 2015. Entrants must participate in at least three races to qualify for the series overall.
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