Day Two of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival was blessed with ideal conditions for the Caribbean Insurers Island Invitational Race to Norman Island. Bright sunshine and a gentle breeze provided sublime conditions for the pursuit race with faster boats chasing down earlier starters in a game of cat and mouse around the beautiful islands, south of Tortola.
In the Classic Class, the beautiful vintage sloop, The Blue Peter, skippered by Briton, Mathew Barker was the victor and took the honour of first boat to finish in Norman Island, a tremendous effort from a yacht that is over 80 years old.
The Blue Peter skipper, Mathew Barker has been renovating the boat for many years:
“We crossed the Atlantic in Blue Peter taking part in a classic race from Cascais to Barbados and we plan to go to several Caribbean regattas, the next stop will be St.Barths, before we go onto Antigua.”
The Racing Division was set a course around Peter Island to starboard and Pelican Island to port before finishing just off Norman Island. Other classes enjoyed a shorter course snaking between Pelican and Flannagan Island before the finish.
There was a dramatic finish in the Racing Class with two boats overlapped through the finish line. Pasquale Leone’s First 36.7, Hammertime II took the gun by a whisker from Marcus Chollerton-Brown’s First 44.7, EH01.
Pasquale Leone comes from Ontario, Canada and usually races on Lake Ontario in Albacore dinghies:
“That was great fun today, we started near the front of the pursuit and we knew there would be bigger faster boats chasing us down. I guess the significant point in the race was when we managed to lee-bow a competitor, slowing them down and giving us a kick forward. It is something we often do back home on Lake Ontario and it was just enough to get us to the line before EH01. This is my third visit to the BVI and I just love coming to Norman Island, it’s a great spot to kick back after a day on the water.”
Harry Robinson’s First 40.7, Spirit of Venus was just ahead of Sophie Olivaud’s all-French team on J/109 Albacour IV to take the prize. British Swan 51, Northern Child skippered by Christian Reynolds wasn’t far behind in third. Harry Robinson has no less than eight girls on board the aptly named Spirit of Venus and the young skipper believes that the regatta programme is a great idea:
“We are a charter boat and some of the crew have never sailed before, so it takes a couple of days to reach a good standard, so the relaxed style of the BVI Sailing Festival before the more competitive BVI Spring Regatta, really suits us. It was a real fight to get a win today and it has put so much confidence into the crew.”
Friends and family joined over a hundred competitors for the beach party. The sheltered anchorage known as ‘The Bight’ offers over 100 moorings for guests and is central to numerous world famous scuba dive and snorkel sites such as the Caves and the Indians. The 610-acre privately owned uninhabited Island also boosts numerous hiking trials and a breath taking white sand beach, which is the site of Pirates Bight Restaurant.
Regatta Director, Judy Petz officiated at the prize giving accompanied by Ruth Phillips and Brian Jermyn representing regatta sponsors, Caribbean Insurers Ltd.
Tomorrow, is Tortola Island Day – ‘Wind, Water & Wander’. The day is an opportunity for visitors to really see what Tortola has to offer when not sailing: Snorkelling, diving and dolphin discovery trips, island tours and back at Nanny Cay Resort, Tortola Sloop racing and a Maritime Heritage display as well as the young sailors in the RBVIYC Youth Programme out racing Lasers and Optimist dinghies.
There will be kiteboarding/SUP lessons and a bar open throughout the day as well as local food vendors serving lunch/dinner on the beach. Some competitors may just chose to relax at the pool or under a shady palm tree!
Registration starts at noon for the main event, the three-day BVI Spring Regatta and later in the evening, live music by Final Faze and the Mount Gay Rum Welcome Party will kick off the 2013 Regatta in style.