Best of Caribbean Racing at the 46th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
March 29, 2017, Tortola, British Virgin Islands – There’s nothing like a good party at the finish to entice a fleet of enthusiastic racers to focus on the task at hand, and the Scrub Island Resort laid it on for racers today. Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina, a private-island resort in the BVI, lies approximately 13 km to the north east of Tortola. Today’s course for the Scrub Island Invitational started off Nanny Cay with a light breeze of 7 knots from the west which built to 10+ later in the morning. The fleet got to enjoy another dose of the BVI’s exquisite warm turquoise waters and stunning views as it made its way to Scrub Island for the afternoon celebrations.
In the CSA – Racing division, the J 111 Spike helmed by Sam Talbot (BVI) took first, followed by Pamela Baldwin (ANU) and her crew on the J 122 Liquid, while Quokka 8, the Grand Soleil 43 skippered by Philippe Falle (FRA) took third.
Scarlet Oyster, the Oyster Lightweight 48 owned and skippered by Ross Appleby (GBR) took first in the CSA – Cruising division, in second was The Blue Peter, the Alfred Mylne 65 owned and skippered by Mathew Barker (GBR). Third place went to Luna, the Dufour 44 skippered by Andreas Berg (GER).
First in the CSA – Bareboat division was Subversive-JogFund, the Beneteau Oceanis 50 skippered by Warwick Dunnett (USA), followed by Legacy II, the Moorings 45.3 skippered by Dan Gourash (USA), and in third was Team Merlin-Sohcahtoa, the Sunsail 41 skippered by Charlie Garrard (USA).
In the Offshore Multihull division, first place went to Arethusa, owned and skippered by Phil Lotz (USA), while Little Wing, the Antrim/Perry 52 skippered by Ron Boehm (USA), took first in the Multihull division.
Lotz, who has his Gunboat 60 in the Caribbean for the first time is enjoying the opportunity to put the boat through its paces in a relatively easy mode. “The race today was training for us, so it was good practice,” he explained. “We wanted to stay in the breeze so we sailed a little more offshore than the rest of the fleet and were happy to stay out on our own. We’re learning plenty and are mindful that tacks and jibes can cost a lot.”
Pamela Baldwin has owned Liquid (formerly known as New Horizons) for about three years and is in her second season racing the J 122. She said, “Today was just the best, the crew performed really well and it showed, plus the breeze was better than we thought it would it be. We did get stuck in a hole for a while off Beef Island but we weren’t alone!”
Ross Appleby and his wife Sarah double-handed Scarlet Oyster today, and as Appleby noted, “It was a bit busy! Sarah was working really hard trimming the jib as it was quite shifty. We were toying with the idea of putting the asymmetric up but glad we didn’t. On the long reach we were able to get past the bareboats fairly easily and got in a bit of tussle with The Blue Peter which didn’t cost us too much, and then there was a nice beat to the finish. The Gunboat had just got past us, then we managed to pass them just before the line so got line honours!”
Mathew Barker on The Blue Peter is racing the oldest – and one of the most beautiful – boats in the fleet, yet she’s still very competitive. “We are a very different boat to most of the boats that were out there today,” he said. “We were up there with Scarlet Oyster most of the time which has similar speeds to us so we were having our own private battle with them. There’s always someone on the water you’re racing yourself against, and today it was fun to be doing that with Scarlet Oyster. The race did have its challenges after the reach up to the end of Beef Island when it got pretty technical going into the finish because there were a lot of wind shifts in the bay. We’re a 65’ heavy wooden boat so tacking doesn’t happen as quickly for us in those conditions, so that’s where they got us!”
At the awards ceremony, Judy Petz, BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival Director expressed her gratitude to the Scrub Island hosts, “This is such a beautiful location! I’d like to acknowledge a few people who make this happen at Scrub Island; Gary Eng, Norwood Smith, Rosalie Jennings, Kelly Stafford and Nicolle Schultze. They have worked hard for the last year to make sure everything is as perfect as it could be for a gorgeous day, so thank you.”
“There is no happier person in this room than me,” said Norwood Smith, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. “If it weren’t for all you sailors, I would be in my cubicle in Tampa, Florida where my office is, so thank you BVI Spring Regatta! It is truly a privilege to partner with you and to bring the Scrub Island Invitational back here for the second year. We’re looking forward to many more years to come, so thank you for being here.”
The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival continues with Maritime Heritage Day on Thursday at 1100 with the 4th VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge. The Skippers Meeting for the BVI Spring Regatta is at 1700 followed by the annual Mount Gay Rum Party at the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay that will be in full swing, with food vendors and live band, Final Faze from 1900 to midnight.