Life couldn’t be more perfect for the crews of 54 boats competing in Tuesday’s Nanny Cay Cup (Round Tortola Race) with the breeze forecast in the upper teens for the first race day of the 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Registration opened at noon today under blue sunny skies, the famed BVI trades keeping the heat at bay.
The Nanny Cay Cup not only sets the scene for a week of great racing with spectacular views of Tortola throughout the 31-nautical mile race, additionally, the teams can also race for the Nanny Cay Challenge – a perpetual challenge for the fastest mono and catamaran record around the island.
For racers to set a new elapsed time as they make the circumnavigation, starting and finishing at Nanny Cay, they must beat current records: Monohull record (3hrs 29mins 44secs) set at the 2013 Sailing Festival by Peter Corr’s Aiyana, an Alia 82; Multihull record (2hrs 33mins 40secs) set in 2015 by BVI’s Triple Jack, the trimaran owned by Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis.
The Challenge has fantastic awards up for grabs if a team breaks either of the current records: a jeroboam of “Drappier” champagne, sponsored by Tico, dinner for 15 crew, and a suggestion to donate $250 towards a BVI charity of choice.
Spookie, winner of the 2015 Nanny Cay Cup, a Carkeek HP40 owned by Steve and Heidi Benjamin from Norwalk, CT (USA), is back with high hopes to retain the Cup. They are psyched to put their best effort into taking the monohull Challenge record. Racing with them is Olympic silver medalist Peter Holmberg, one of the Caribbean’s best known sailors who may help them set that record. Either way, the 15-strong Spookie crew loves the sailing conditions, scenery and atmosphere at Spring Regatta, especially when it’s snowing back home.
Possibly the youngest sailors in Tuesday’s fleet are Leon (11) and Robert Puche (10), all the way from Berlin, Germany. Their dad Werner will be skippering the Leopard 48 Slow Motion, which he bought 18 months ago to keep based in Tortola so they can enjoy events like Spring Regatta. “We’re really looking forward to racing here and are only disappointed in that we have to leave early as the kids have to be back in school next week,” Werner said. This is the first time for the family to be at the BVI Spring Regatta.
More first timers, Renato Faria, from Brazil, will be racing his Dufour 500 Ventaneiro 3, with friends from Brazil and Germany. A harbor pilot from Rio de Janeiro, Faria is used to sailing various Olympic class boats so he’s not sure how racing Ventaneiro 3 will work out. “She’s really a cruiser, but we’ll try to race with her – we’re looking forward to the best racing in the Caribbean and will keep the boat here to cruise and race in the future.”
Team Slovakia, on board Arthur, a Beneteau First 40, have been in town for a few days now, taking time to soak up the beaches and a few cocktails while getting to know their way around the prevailing conditions. The group of seven friends are under the tutelage of Spring Regatta veteran Chris “Jacko” Jackson, owner’s rep for Arthur. “This is a great regatta for these guys,” Jackson said, “Everything’s in one location, it’s a two-minute walk to the parties from the boat, flat water and great sailing – what more could they want?”
Bob Phillips, Regatta Chairman, has chaired the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival for 19 years so has a pretty good idea how conditions may shape up tomorrow. “We’re looking at 15-20, pretty usual trade winds, maybe a little higher than normal. Of more importance is the direction – usually it’s from the east which means a dead beat for the first part of the race…may not be record breaking conditions but it’ll be close!”
The challenge is out! Start time for the CSA-Multihull class is 0930, CSA-Bareboat class at 0935; CSA-Cruising Class at 0940, and CSA-Racing class at 0945. NOR