49th Annual BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival Is Officially Underway! 35-strong fleet race to Scrub Island in picture-perfect conditions

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The Scrub Island Invitational from Nanny Cay to the Scrub Island Resort was a big success with teams from around the globe enjoying champagne conditions on the first day of racing at the BVI Sailing Festival © Alastair Abrehart

The atmosphere was nothing short of festive around Nanny Cay this morning as boats prepared for the first race of the 49th BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which took the fleet on an approximate 15 NM course to Scrub Island. It was quite a sight to see race boats leaving Nanny Cay for the first time in three years and cheering shoreside accompanied the fleet as it headed to the start for a perfect day of racing in paradise. For most it was an opportunity to shake out the cobwebs after a few years of downtime, and Scrub Island Resort provided the perfect venue for sailors to get their Caribbean groove on.

In Racing 1, the Botin 52 FOX, owned and skippered by Victor Wild (US), and racing BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival took first, while long-time participant Tony Mack (UK) and crew on the J-122 El Ocaso took second, and on the J-111 Spike, Sam Talbot (BVI) and crew took third.

Long-time regatta competitor, Bernie Evan-Wong (ANU) also competing in Racing 1 on the RP37 Taz, finished mid-fleet and was just plain old happy to be back on the water.

The impressive fleet competed in four classes and enjoyed some great sailing and a fun afternoon at the Scrub Island Resort © M. Ashley Love

“It was a really nice day, we tried to port tack the whole fleet, but FOX came over the line so fast – we almost nailed it,” Evan-Wong laughed. “We still did pretty well though, it was an awesome day and it’s beautiful at Scrub Island, a lovely spot. Our crew is completely different this year as Covid really played havoc for getting people to commit but it’s so lovely to be out racing again, it just doesn’t really matter. Obviously, you want to do well but it’s most important to get out there and participate.”

Happy to take first today in the Cruising / Performance Cruising division, Antonio Teixidor navigated for his dad, Juan, on Portomar, the family’s Hanse 455. The Teixidors, from Puerto Rico, are regulars to Spring Regatta, keeping their boat in Nanny Cay year-round.

“I do the course, the radio, the time – that’s my job on the boat,” the younger Teixidor commented. “Today was amazing – we’re back and feeling good. We’re racing with just four this week so we’re just taking it easy with relaxing racing – it was a fun day.”

Racing on the Beneteau 40 Libertas, Walter Keenan (BVI) took second in Cruising / Performance Cruising, while fellow BVI local, Pat Nolan, took third on Moxie, a Beneteau 440.

Kent Haeger (US), owner/skipper of Mach Schnell, the Gunboat 62, took first in Performance Multihull. He’s participated in the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival some five times previously and is thrilled to have his boat off the dock and racing again.

“We had 14-18 knots and conditions were beautiful, just perfect,” Haeger smiled. “It’s awesome to be back racing again – this is pent-up demand! We did pretty well today and didn’t break too much so have just a little work list for back at the dock.”

A great result on the opening day for Victor Wild’s FOX Sailing Team from San Diego, USA competing in the Racing class © M. Ashley Love

Todd Slyngstad (US) and his crew on the HH66 Nemo, took second in Performance Multihull, while Bruce Gates (US) and crew on the MC 60 Byzantine MC 60 took third.

In Bareboat / Cruising Multihull, Candle in the Dark, a Sunsail 41 skippered by Brian McCarthy (US) took first, with Makin’ Memories, a Sunsail 41 helmed by Willem Ellemeet (NL) taking second, and the Moorings 45 Sea’s the Daze, helmed by Florian Lienau (GER) finishing third.

Happy with a seventh place in the Bareboat / Cruising Multihull division today, Mike Axford (CAN), skipper of the J-121 Wings is racing Spring Regatta for the first time with seven friends from Canada and the US.

“We have a core crew who come down to the Caribbean every year, charter a boat and have an amazing time,” Axford said. “Everyone told us we had to do the BVI Spring Regatta, this is the first chance we’ve had to get here, and it’s just been amazing. Today was a practice race for us and we were seventh out the thirteen in our division which we were happy with as the crew is racing together for the first time. We’ll improve on that over the next few days!”

1st place in the cruising class for Juan Teixidor’s Hanse 455 Portomar from San Juan © Alastair Abrehart

It has been a mammoth task organizing the Regatta in uncertain times so today’s results were especially gratifying for race organizers and the race committee.

“We were on the shore watching the boats leave Nanny Cay today and it was absolutely spectacular!” Judy Petz, Regatta Director, said. “I had chills just watching – everybody was cheering, we are just so happy to have everybody back in the BVIs, so thank you all. The event at Scrub Island Resort started seven years ago and they have been a strong supporter of our Regatta for which we are truly grateful.”

Winners of the day receive their awards – presented by Regatta Director, Judy Petz Spike – 3rd place racing class © Alastair Abrehart

Michael Schoonewagen, General Manager of Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina General Manager, gave a warm welcome to sailors and guests post racing. “I’m very happy to have you here especially after the past two years of difficulties,” he commented. “I hope this event will now continue every year. The conditions are optimal, you are going to have a great week, we’re very proud of you all!”

On Thursday, Day two of the 49th BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, will take boats to Jost Van Dyke home to the infamous Foxy’s Bar and host for the day. www.bvispringregatta.com