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Warm Water Hot Racing and New Intl Yacht Club Challenge

Royal BVI Yacht Club announces 2010 regatta plans

Simon Wood, the Commodore of the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club, is inviting yacht clubs from around the world to send teams to compete in the inaugural International Yacht Club Challenge (IYCC), part of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, March 29 – April 4, 2010.

To sweeten the pot, Sunsail Yacht Charters is providing up to a 10% discount for all those booking bareboats for the IYCC, a free charter to the winning team and a perpetual trophy. Although this is the inaugural year for the IYCC, it will be the 39th for the BVI Spring Regatta. As in the past eleven years, the 2010 edition will be hosted and presented by the Nanny Cay Marina and Resort, Tortola.

Regatta organizers, with the BVI Tourist Board and Sunsail, launched the event in the U.K. the first week of August at one of the world’s largest regattas, Cowes Race Week.

Wood says he plans to skipper a boat and be part of the BVI team. “While there is no doubt I’ll be rooting for the home team, I’m keen to mix it up.”

Josie Tucci, the Sunsail Brand Manager expects a lot of interest. “The IYCC opens up racing to a lot of people who don’t have their own boats in the BVI. Our Beneteau 39, the boat of choice to race, has performed well in past regattas.”

Judy Petz, Director of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, took time out from planning to talk to All at Sea last month:

AAS: How did the idea come about to add an international yacht club challenge?

JP: The Spring Regatta has always had international reach. About three years ago we wanted to make it more interesting, to have more international teams come and race the regatta. We thought with a competitive one-design charter fleet, it would allow sailors to come to the Caribbean and compete against other sailors—but even better if they represented their yacht club. The key is from the BVI Tourist Board with their marketing reach to yacht clubs around the world.

AAS: Have other regatta organizers done this elsewhere?

JP: There are large clubs with one design fleets who have done this. New York Yacht Club has started a challenge this year. But we are the first that I know of in the Caribbean. 

AAS: You are already targeting German and UK sailors. Will you be marketing to clubs in any other regions?

JP: This is being marketed literally to the world. The U.S. has started a campaign already; letters will be going out to all the RYA clubs in September. We’ll have a big push at the Newport and Annapolis boats shows for the east coast and letters to the West Coast Yacht clubs. The Challenge doesn’t want to prevent anyone from bringing their own boat to race in the regatta; we have 17 classes they can join in for that; this is an additional way sailors from around the world can come and have a race-worthy boat to compete in.

AAS: Where will the challenge racing take place?

JP: The boats will race on the bareboat course. Actually, a yacht club team could win in the bareboat fleet as well as the Challenge.

AAS: Will you be adding any extra volunteers?

JP: Every year the number of volunteers increases. It’s usually because they have so much fun they tell their friends to come and help. Last year we had people taking vacations just to come down and be a part of this great event. As I tell all the volunteers, “you’ll work hard, but you have a lot of fun!”

AAS: Do you and Sunsail have specific goals in mind?

JP: We chose this design for its racing abilities, size to accommodate crews and for the number in the fleet. We’d like to see their whole fleet on the water (and I’m sure Sunsail would, too.)

AAS: And the winning challenge team takes home a free charter.

JP: I hope the winner will use it as an opportunity to return to the 2011 Spring Regatta to defend their championship … 2011 is also the 40th anniversary of the BVI Spring Regatta, so I would hope they would want to come back for that, as well.

AAS: It sounds like 2010 will be the don’t-miss year for the BVI Spring Regatta.

JP: We welcome everyone who makes their way from whatever part of the world, in their own boat, chartered, borrowed—or to just come and enjoy the event.

For more details: www.bvispringregatta.org

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