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Tales from the 2008 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival

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There are tales to tell in every regatta. Winds gusting past 30 knots figured in many a bar-side yarn at this year’s BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival raced March 31-April 6 out of Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola. Beyond the weather, there was an interesting mix of stories that highlighted what’s new and what’s happening throughout the Caribbean racing scene.

Melges 24s Multiplying: The fleet of Melges 24s numbered a half dozen or more in northern Caribbean regattas during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then, their ranks dwindled. St. Croix’s Peter Stanton, who races Devil 3 with his two brothers, Chris and Scott, says, “We’d like to see enough Melges 24s out again to make a one-design class.” Morgan Dale, a fellow Crucian, added to the class this year with his Melges, Silver. “I’m a dinghy sailor at heart and a Melges is just like a big laser on steroids.” Trinidad’s Tim Kimpton, who crewed this year aboard the Henderson 35, Bmobile, says, “several of us have just bought Melges 24s, we have a class of five now. Let’s just say we’ve gotten tired of handicap racing.”

IC24s – Puerto Rico Comes on Strong. It used to be a one-point lead was a lot in IC24 racing. Not anymore. Puerto Rico’s Efrain ‘Fraito’ Lugo, aboard Orion, gave the class a run for its money this year, finishing a full 14 points ahead of second place competitor, the BVI’s Robby Hirst aboard Mio Broadband. “I think the newer conversions (boats) are faster than the older boats,” says Lugo, who admits that good starts and consistent top five finishes in races spelled Orion’s success. Lugo certainly knows something about newly converted IC24s. He’s not only sailing one, but he’s converted eight J/24s himself in his yard in Ponce. “We have enough boats to practice against one another now, and that makes a difference.” More conversions may be on the horizon in Puerto Rico, Lugo says, but at the same time, “We don’t want to kill our J/24 fleet.” This is especially true since the J/24, not IC24, is a class in the Central American Caribbean Games to be held in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 2010.

Lost Horizon III – Found! Competitive Caribbean sailors were sad to see Antigua’s James Dobbs take a hiatus from racing last season. Gloom gone, Dobbs is back. This time, he’s got a J/122, and he’s opted for Spinnaker Racer Cruiser rather than Spinnaker Racing. “The boat was built in France and then delivered to Curacao,” says Nikola Pears, Dobb’s partner. “That wasn’t in the plan and it was a tough 600 mile sail to windward in 35 knots to get her to St. Maarten. In fact, we arrived just one day before the regatta. We’d never seen the full mainsail until this point as we had it triple reefed the entire delivery.” Lost Horizon III won its class in St. Maarten, and again at the International Rolex Regatta. The BVI Spring Regatta was another story. There was a lost mast before even getting underway the first day and James came down with the flu and sat out the last race day. No matter. “We’ll be back next year,” says Pears.

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Taino Wind God – Nice Name, No Help. Dave West, a Great Lakes sailor who transplants to the Tortola six months of the year, saw Trinidad’s Tim Kimpton’s Melges 32, Crash Test Dummies, last year, and liked what he saw. He liked it so much he bought the same make and model for his own. Little did West know how spot-on the name of his new Melges 32 would be. “Jurakan was the Taino God of wind,” says West, who admitted the blustery gusts didn’t bother him, his crew or his boat any. “The boat’s light. Sure, we crashed a few times, but we didn’t break anything.” Jurakan unfortunately didn’t answer West’s prayers for a win. He finished fourth in the highly competitive Spinnaker Racing B class, with the Trinis on Bmobile Enzyme – with Kimpton as crew – in first place.

Better Late Than Never. If there were a prize for the most miles sailed in a racing day, St. Croix’s Stanton Brothers – Chris, Peter, Scott – and their crew aboard the Melges 24, Devil 3, would have won. “We set off from St. Croix Thursday morning and had to turn back because it wasn’t safe,” says Chris, who skippered. “So, we headed out again at 6 a.m. yesterday, cleared customs in Road Town, picked up a crew member at Nanny Cay and headed right out to the course. The race committee was nice enough to fill us in on the course and we raced the last race.” Luckily, Devil 3 was able to get two glorious day of racing in before retracing their sail back to St. Croix. While they didn’t take home first in class at BVI, they did pick up a first place trophy in the Spinnaker Racing class for the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (C.O.R.T.) series. Definitely worth the trip!

What’s In A Name? Hear the name ‘Pipedream’ and you know it’s the BVI’s Peter Haycraft out on the course with his Sirena 38. A peek at the entry lists for Spinnaker Racer-Cruiser F shows no Pipedream in sight, but Haycraft wouldn’t miss the running of his favorite hometown regatta for the world. In fact, he said his tried-and-true class-winning yacht incognito, under the name World Tour. Son, Chris Haycraft, explains: “Paul Miller, who does the scoring, always uses Pipedream as the scratch boat. As a result, we get asked all the time – ‘are you going to Grenada?’, ‘are you going to St. Maarten?’, ‘are you going to Cowes!’ The answer is no, but I thought I’d call us World Tour this year as a joke for Paul.”

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.


1. Storm, Reichel-Pugh 44, Peter Peake, Trinidad (12)
2. Oystercatcher XXVI, Humphreys 42, Richard Matthews, UK (17)
3. Equation, Andrews 68, Bill Alcott, Michigan, USA (21)

1. BMobile Enzyme, Henderson 35, Peter Bailee/Paul Solomon, Trinidad (15)
2. Caccia Ala Volpe, Vallicelli 44, Carlo Falcone, Antigua (25.9)
3. Minnie the Moocher, Ker 11.3, Anthony Richards, UK (27)

1. Mad IV, Grand Soleil 50, Clive Llewellyn, France (14)
2. Global Yacht Racing, Beneteau 47.7, Malcolm Gefter, UK (16)
3. Three Harkoms, Beneteau 44, Christopher Lloyd, BVI (36)

1. Silver, Melges 24, Morgan Dale, St. Croix, USVI (15)
2. Devil 3, Melges 24, Chris Stanton, St. Croix, USVI (26)
3. Crew Clothing/Carib/HIHO, Melges 24, Frits Bus, St. Maarten (27)

1. J-Walker, J/27, Chris Thompson, St. Thomas, USVI (11)
2. Kosa Loka, Olson 30, Kike Gonzales, Puerto Rico (19)
3. Good, Bad & Ugly, Kirby 25, John Foster, St. Thomas, USVI (31)

1. El Ocaso, J/120, Rick Wesslund, Florida, USA (8)
2. Lazy Dog, Beneteau First 40.7, Sergio Sagramoso, Puerto Rico (28)
3. Pipedream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, BVI (29)

1. Stay Calm, Swan 70, Stuart Robinson, USA (7)
2. BadWine, Beneteau First 40.7, Peter Krol, Netherlands (7)
3. Coyote, Beneteau First 40.7, Franco Nanni, Italy (14)

1. Augustine, Tony Sayer, Beneteau First 42, Antigua (5)
2. Xpresso, Marc Noordhoek, X412, Netherlands (10)
3. Nepenthe, J/40, Robert Read, UK (11)

1. Hotel California Too, Santa Cruz 70, Steve Schmidt, USA (5)
2. Mary Jane, Beneteau 50, David Hueter, USA (7)
3. Clover III, Swan 56, Neal Finnegan, USA (13.5)

1. Joyce Smith, Moorings 51.5, Anthony Mack, UK (9.3)
2. Justice, Beneteau Oceanis 473, Justin Barton, UK (11)
3. Team Fimmecci, Moorings 494, Netherlands (17)

1. Acadia’s Southern Comfort, Beneteau Oceanis 460, Bert Keenan, USA (4)
2. Chess, Beneteau Oceanis 460, Jan Soderberg, USA (8)
3. Rudy, Beneteau 37, Mark Thompson, USA (16)

IC 24
1. Orion, Fraito Lugo, Puerto Rico (34)
2. Mio Broadband, Robby Hirst, BVI (48)
3. bMobile, Fred Reubeck, BVI (59)

1. Blew Bayou, Manta 42, Charles McCormick, USA

1. AutoWorld Express, Hobie 16, Christopher Schreiber, St. Croix, USVI
2. Islandsol.net, Hobie 16, Paul Stoeken, St. Thomas, USVI

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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