The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, presented by Nanny Cay and held this year March 30 – April 1, 2007, will be welcoming a new boat to the Caribbean racing scene. ABN AMRO, winner of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, is making the BVI Spring Regatta one of its three events in the Caribbean this season. The boat will be competing in the Caribbean Big Boat Series which is comprised of the Heineken Regatta in St, Maarten, BVI Spring Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week.
BVI Spring Regatta joins other notable world-class regattas in hosting the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race champ. Since winning the 31,250 mile, nine leg, round the world competition, ABN AMRO has competed in Cowes Week, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Race in Sardinia, the Sydney–Hobart Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta.
When asked why the ABN AMBRO chose to compete in the Caribbean this year, Kate Fiarclough of Pitch PR replied, “The Caribbean regattas are a selection of events making up a world tour that ABN AMRO ONE has been on since winning the Volvo Ocean Race last June. The aim of the tour is to visit new places where the boat has not been before, giving employees, clients and the public the chance to see the race winning boat.”
“ABN AMRO will be an impressive addition to our fleet of racing boats,” said BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival committee chairman Bob Phillips. Impressive may be an understatement. The boat is 70.5 feet long and is more than 18 feet at its widest point. The mast rises to a height of 103.3 feet above the water and the boat draws almost 15 feet. Class rules specify ten crew members which, taking into account the size of the boat, is not many when you consider that boats half it’s size will often race with the same number. Although the boat only races with two or three sails at a time, eleven sails were carried on each leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and there is a total inventory of twenty four sails with the largest sail, a spinnaker, measuring 5382 square feet.
Skippering the boat, native New Zealander Mike Sanderson, has placed in two Whitbread Challenges, sailed with the America’s Cup Oracle BMW team and was a helmsman aboard Mari Cha’s transatlantic trip in which they set a new speed record. Joining him, will be his wife, Emma Sanderson. For those of you who think Mrs. Sanderson sits at home knitting socks for Mike, think again. Emma Sanderson (nee Richards) is the solo round the world yachtswoman who was the youngest competitor and the first woman in the 2002-03 Around Along race.
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival encompasses two great events. The 2007 Sailing Festival – a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta – starts on Monday, March 26 with a welcome party at Nanny Cay. Three days of destination cruising, racing and Layday fun including the Nation’s Challenge Cup, lead up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday, March 30. The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands.
Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas. The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, CCT Global Communications, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken, The Moorings, Mount Gay, and SOL.
Visitors can fly to the British Virgin Islands through San Juan, Puerto Rico with American Airlines, Caribbean Sun, Cape Air and LIAT. Flights are also available through Antigua and Barbados on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and BWIA.
For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including daily news, photos and complete results from the 2006 event, visit the official web site: http://www.bvispringregatta.org. For more information on the British Virgin Islands visit: http://www.bvitourism.com. For more information on Nanny Cay Marina visit: http://www.nannycay.com.
The BVI Spring Regatta is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.