BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival Showcases Diverse Fleet of Top Performing Boats

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The docks at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina are full and ready to roll as ten classes prepare to race in the 51st edition of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. Racing starts with the Sailing Festival, a warm-up event, on Tuesday April 2 with the traditional Round Tortola Race, and on Wednesday April 3, the Scrub Island Invitational.

More sailing fun is scheduled for the lay day on Thursday with dinghy and wing foil racing off Nanny Cay Resort & Marina. The BVI Spring Regatta kicks off on April 5 for three days of the Caribbean’s best racing managed by a world-class race management team.

As always, a quality line up of boats is registered to compete across all classes, some new to the event and others who have been racing BVISR for many years. In CSA-1, the event welcomes newcomers: the Mills 41 Final Final owned by Jon Desmond (Cohasset, MA), the Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners II owned by Adrian Lee, the RP42 Rikki owned by Bruce Chafee (Boston, MA) and Team 42, the Solaris 55 owned by Daniel Segalowicz. Returning CSA-1 competitors include Wavewalker, the Swan 58 owned by Woody and Carolyn Cullen, and last year’s CSA-1 overall winner, Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Racing again on the Lombard 46 Pata Negra, Schlessinger is ready to defend her title with a mainly Santa Barbara, California-based crew.

“We’re not greedy,” she laughed. “It was spectacular racing in the most beautiful venue. Winning is great – the whole experience is greater!”

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, PATA NEGRA

Always a thrilling sight in perfect Caribbean conditions are the Cape 31s, and this year three boats are competing in CSA-2: Flying Jenny, owned by Sandy Askew (FL, USA) who took second in class in 2023 and has been a consistent winner on the Caribbean circuit this winter; she is joined by M2 owned by Marc Morris (CA, USA) took third in class last year, and new to BVISR this year, Shotgunn owned by Michael Wilson (Isle of Man, UK).

Don Nicholson is competing on his J121 Apollo in CSA-3 for his third BVISR event. He bought the boat in 2018, and BVISR was one of its first regattas prior to doing Newport to Bermuda the same year, when Apollo won its class.

“We absolutely love coming down to the BVI -– we enjoy everything about it; the temperature, the winds, the islands,” Nicholson enthused. “A lot of the racing we do in the Newport area tends to be monotonous windward leewards. Here we are doing quality distance racing on courses that mix it up with different angles of sail so that you have to think intelligently about sail choice, and you have islands to use as marks – it’s great!”

David McDonough raced BVISR last year for the first time as guest on another boat. He’s returning this year on his own boat, a J40 Trinity VI racing in Performance Cruising A. He is also a co-partner in Trinity IV, a J42 co-owned and captained by David Hensley racing in CSA-3.

“We raced last year, and it was terribly, terribly good,” McDonough commented with a big smile. “We have friends racing with us. We have reserved slips side by side at Nanny Cay so that we can taunt each other before and after racing – we’re really excited about the prospect of going there to compete.”

In the bareboat classes, 93-year-old Robin Tattersall, a Tortola local and a regular BVISR competitor will be sailing in Bareboat 2 on the Bavaria 37 Jitterbug. Jim Proctor, a regular in the bareboat division who frequently charters multiple boats and fills them with sailing friends from the USA, is back with three bareboat entries. Sailing on the Sunsail 41 Cara, Ben Sampson, (PA, USA), received his bareboat certification in the BVI, and with a small group of friends and family completed passages to Bermuda, Bahamas and back to the BVI.

“We learned to love the BVI and the Sir Francis Drake Channel with all of its outlying islands,” Sampson said. “Four years ago, we entered the Spring Regatta and have competed every year since. It’s been a wonderful journey and a big part of life for my family and friends.”

Charlie Garrard (MA, USA) who is returning with friends to race Bareboat 2 on a Sunsail 42, said: “In the daze of rum punch we seem to have lost count of how many Spring Regattas we have done. It’s upwards of five, possibly as many as ten. We keep coming back because this is simply the best of all the bareboat Caribbean regattas. Due to unforeseen circumstances, or maybe it’s just old age, we have had to switch up the regular crew; two are on the injury list and two decided there were better things to do with their time (they will come to regret this decision). Instead of sailors we filled the boat with members of our local Badminton Club, Gut ‘n’ Feathers (Marblehead, MA), hence the boat name “Smash”. We are hoping for cold beer, Painkillers, warm weather, fair winds, and maybe even a sailboat race or two!”

The International Maxi Association’s inaugural Caribbean Maxi Multihull Series (CMMS) has its deciding event in the BVI Spring Regatta. After three events, the competition is close with Adrian Keller’s 84ft Irens-designed catamaran Allegra holding a narrow lead over Todd Slyngstad’s HH66 catamaran Nemo. Joining Allegra and Nemo in the Performance Multihull division for their first time at BVISR is the Gunboat 68 Convexity² owned by Don Wilson (IL, USA).