Epic Conditions for Round Tortola Race for Nanny Cay Cup

Today was epic for the Round Tortola Race, the kick-off event for the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. Boats started in some 16 knots ENE breeze in five classes, and by the time they rounded Beef Island, it had built to 20 and continued to build to over 24+ throughout the afternoon. The sun shone; the sea condition was perfect – it was literally racing in paradise.

“The north in the breeze made it very tactical going up the south side of Tortola with boats hugging the shore and a lot of ducking and diving to find a lane to get off the south shore,” Chris Haycraft, Regatta Chairman, who raced today on his Corsair F 31 Ting-A-Ling II, commented. “The current was running high, so the waves were steep depending on what boat you were on but once you turned the corner at Scrub (Island), that was it, it was just fun and games! Round Tortola is a great racetrack when its windy and thankfully it was.”

Today’s overall winner Allegra, the custom catamaran owned by Adrian Keller (SUI) and racing for her first time in the BVI, took first in Performance Multihull, winning the Nanny Cay Cup with an elapsed time of 2:45:45. The course record, which was set in 2019, is held by Fujin, the Bieker 53 catamaran owned and skippered by Greg Slyngstad (USA), with the fastest elapsed time of 1:57:16.

Paul Larsen who calls tactics on Allegra, said, “I’ve not raced around Tortola before, so it was a voyage of discovery for us. We made a bit of a change today – we brought Paul Campbell James on board as tactician to reduce the workload at the back of the boat and that enabled me to work with Adrian on the driving. The conditions were perfect for us – starting to step into the range where it favours Allegra at 30 tonnes. We had breeze up to 23 and all the boats – Nemo and Convexity2 were flying hulls. Nemo was even reefed, and it was fantastic to have three very well sailed powered up boats neck and neck. It was smiles all around.”

In CSA division, Sandra Askew (USA), who won the Nanny Cay Cup last year, is racing BVISR for the third time on her Cape 31 Flying Jenny. Today Askew took first in class ahead of her competition Shotgunn, the Cape 31 owned by Michael Wilson (UK).

“It was a fantastic day with the breeze the way that it was and beautiful skies! The first beat we tried to stay close to the shore, we got ahead of Shotgunn, a great team, and when we made the turn around the back of Beef Island, we just did the best we could with the shifts – it gets tricky back there with the mountains. The wind built, we love that and it’s why I love this regatta, it’s one of my favourite races of all time, sailing around Tortola.”

In Performance Cruising, Luis Balzac’s Salona 44 Paroma took first. Balzac (PUR), who has done BVISR some 25 times mostly on his former boat Flako, said: “We were short of crew, so going upwind the tactic was to pinch and feather up because we were overpowered. Coming down, the lighter weight was good because we were going with the wind, so we took advantage of the spinnaker. As always, we stayed close to shore going upwind and going around West End. We loved it out there today – we went out today to practice and did not expect to win!

Georges Coutu, owner/skipper of the Leopard 50 La Novia, sailed the Round Tortola race for the third time today successfully defending their 2023 title.

“We had a beautiful day with a super start and the rest of our race just went smoothly. As we were about to finish, instead of dying the breeze increased to 25 knots and we were just sailing fast. Everything is so relaxed here and we love it!”

Nanny Cay Marina has been a long-time sponsor of the BVI Spring Regatta and Miles Sutherland Pilch, Nanny Cay General Manager, is always proud to present the Nanny Cay Cup.

“I think Round Tortola is one of the best racecourses in the world and the conditions today were incredible, a few breakages along the way with the big breeze but seemingly everyone had a great time. To see newbies do the race today and say, “ I can’t believe I haven’t done this before, everyone needs to try it,” well, it is addictive!”

BVI Spring Regatta 2024, Round Tortola Race, Soper’s Hole. Photo: Alex Turnbull, Tidal Pulse Media
BVI Spring Regatta 2024, Round Tortola Race, Soper’s Hole. Photo: Alex Turnbull, Tidal Pulse Media
BVI Spring Regatta 2024, Allegra, Round Tortola Race. Photo: Alex Turnbull, Tidal Pulse Media
Adrian Keller, Allegra, winner of the Nanny Cay Cup in the Round Tortola Race. Photo: Ingrid Abery