From the 45th BVI Sailing Festival and Spring Regatta to the 46th…

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You haven’t sailed until you sail in the BVI

The 45th BVI Sailing Festival and Spring Regatta wound down on Monday, with many racers handing back their chartered boats, and reluctantly rushing off to catch ferries and airports. While the process of dismantling the Regatta Village began, and calm has settled once again over Nanny Cay, already the wheels are in motion for the 46th edition of the event, which will be held 27 March-2 April, 2017.

At the Awards Ceremony on Sunday night, Chris Haycraft, Master of Ceremonies and Vice Commodore of the BVI Royal Yacht Club, reminisced on Spring Regattas past and thanked hosts Nanny Cay, the Race Committee, volunteers and all involved for their tireless support.

diva_DSC_1988“There’s a few people here who have raced every Spring Regatta – that’s 45 years, but it’s also great to see so many boats from all over the world and many competing for the first time too! We’d like to thank you all for a great 45th event this year. It was a lot of fun.”

One veteran BVI sailor, octogenarian Robin Tattersall has raced at most Spring Regatta’s, and this year was no exception. Taking third place at the awards ceremony in Jib & Main 2, his 1930s classic yacht Diva, a modified 30-square meter made her finale.”

“I must say I’m glad that this is the last BVI Spring Regatta in Diva. I’ve been racing her for the last 16 years and this boat that should be sailed by much younger, fitter and smaller people and I will be handing it over,” explained Tattersall who has represented the British Virgin Islands at two Olympic Games and was the local surgeon and a long time International racing “I couldn’t have done it without my crew; my youngsters, and I’ve had a great time. Thank you very much everyone. But, if there are any offers to race in next year’s regatta on a nice 60 footer, I’d be happy them take it up.”

This year, 109 boats from 18 different countries registered, with a wonderful mix of nationalities racing together on the stunning waters of the BVI. Races were sailed in 12 classes, across an age range from 9 years old to 83 years. The mix of personalities, the range of boats and the outstanding management of the event, both on the water and off, make this one of the best sailing regattas anywhere, as Premier of the British Virgin Islands, The Honorable Dr. Orlando Smith, acknowledged at the Ceremony.

A fleet of 11 VX One boats competed in the BVI Spring Regatta and Jeff Eiber's This Side Down from USA win class and the first VX One Caribbean Cup © Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta

A fleet of 11 VX One boats competed in the BVI Spring Regatta and Jeff Eiber’s This Side Down from USA win class and the first VX One Caribbean Cup © Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta

He said, “I’d like to add my welcome to everyone who has journeyed from all over the world to take part in this 45th Spring Regatta. I notice that for the first time we have a competitor from Brazil, and that we also have a new class of boat, the VX One fleet – which I hear are very fast! Just yesterday, I was reading an article that said you have not sailed until you have sailed the BVI. I hope all of you who have raced this week have the same feeling! Thanks for coming, please come back because this is what the BVI is all about.”

Cameron McColl, Chairman of host marina, Nanny Cay, also thanked crews from around the world for coming: “I hope you’ve all had a really good time and will take lots of good memories home with you after the regatta. We hope you will return again and as you can see we are expanding Nanny Cay and by the time you come back, we should have another 120 slips. Not only that, we will be able to take boats with a draft up to 14ft so we should have an even bigger party next year and look forward to seeing you again in 2017.”

Awards were presented to winners in each class along with some special prizes:

The Premier’s Award for the Best BVI Boat went to Nanny Cay’s own Boatyard Manager, Keith LiGreci whose Jeanneau 40, Girasoli also won first place in Jib and Main 2. “I want to thank my bottom paint guys at Sea Hawk. Love ‘em. But the best thing I want to thank is my crew. I love my crew! They are the best and finally I want to say thank you to all the wives, husbands and partners who allow all of us to do what we love to do; and I want to thank my lovely wife, Judy Petz. She is the best. Thank you,” exclaimed LiGreci. Mi Amor, BVI’s own jewelry store gave a beautiful BVI bracelet to the winner in addition to the Best BVI prize.

The Royal BVI Yacht Club Youth Sailing Programme also raised over $5,000 during the regatta. The Royal programme operates from the beach at Nanny Cay and there is a thriving race team, green fleet and beginners sailing programme as well as watersports camps in the school holidays.

International Yacht Club Challenge: The winner of a week’s Sunsail charter was awarded to Willem Ellemeet’s Dutch entry from Jachtclub Scheveningen, Warvor, who also won first place in CSA Bareboat 2.

The Most Green Boat Award based on the most interesting recycling or green initiative on a boat in the regatta was present to Sigma 38, Sam of Hamble sailed by Peter Hopps. “Sam of Hamble is named after my son who lost his life in Afghanistan,” said owner of the boat, Serena Alexander. “This is in memory of all those of any age who have a sense of adventure and go sailing. May Sam’s courage and spirit shine upon you all.”

Annie MacPhail who turns old sails into treasured items with Nutmeg Designs also rewarded two other ‘green’ boats: Varuna and Chris Haycraft’s Pipedream. “Sam of Hamble not only has restored a yacht with a lot of recycled products and rebuilding pieces, they also have a recycled crew because they have a lot of history. Some of their crew are from the 1970s so you win the top prize,” said MacPhail.

DSC_2445The Guy Eldridge Spirit and Enthusiasm Award, a wonderful half hull plaque was presented made to Don Brandolini and Sandy Lantz. “Regatta volunteers extraordinaire from Annapolis, USA who come back every year and help build the Regatta Village, deal with the bar and work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep this event going,” said Regatta Director, Judy Petz.

Following the BVI Spring Regatta Awards Ceremony, the skies above Nanny Cay were lit up with shimmering comets and beautiful bouquets in the form of a stunning firework finale supported by Meridian Construction Company. Work on next year’s regatta has already begun. See you there!

More award ceremony photo’s HERE