Light Breeze Teases Fleet on Final Day of Racing BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

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On Sunday evening, under a setting sun on the beautiful beach at Nanny Cay, the 45th BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival drew to a close with the ritual awards ceremony and fabulous fireworks. The entire fleet was treated to a delightful racing day, with a light easterly of 8 to 12 knots throughout the morning, becoming a little lighter towards the end of racing.

It was no surprise that first place in CSA-Racing 1 went to the TP52 SPOOKIE, skippered by Steve Benjamin (USA), finishing the regatta with 7 bullets over 7 races. The Melges 32 Soca, skippered by Luis Juarbe (PUR) finished second with 18 points, and in third, Tschuss, a Mat 1180, skippered by Christian Zugel, finished with 23 points.
Steve and Heidi Benjamin's TP 52, Spookie at the BVI Spring Regatta © Todd VanSickle

Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s TP 52, Spookie at the BVI Spring Regatta © Todd VanSickle

Heidi and Steve Benjamin, owners of SPOOKIE, always a big presence at Spring Regatta, clearly love BVI sailing and undoubtedly will be back for more. Said Steve, “With respect to the Premier, the Governor, and the entire BVI government, we are so happy to be here in your sailing waters, some of the best sailing waters in the entire world. We thank Nanny Cay and the sponsors; we know Nanny Cay is building a new marina which will be really good for us so that we have more than half a foot under the keel! Thanks also to my crew who say I’m not sailing so well with my new wheel, so they want to put the tiller back on. It’s so wonderful to see all the competition here; it’s the friendliest and the best sailing that we do, here in the BVI.”


In the lighter conditions today, almost all fleets found the conditions quite technical. Winner of CSA-Racing 2 with 13 points, Tony Mac (GBR), racing with his crew Team McFly on the First 40 Southern Child, said, “It was hard work. We think we probably needed more weight today for the boat to perform to its optimum because when the wind died it was really hard work. There are a lot of multi-regatta winners, like El Ocaso, Corr’s Light Racing and LIPTON in this class, and they are all good sailors.”
A fleet of 11 VX One boats competed in the BVI Spring Regatta and Jeff Eiber's This Side Down from USA win class and the first VX One Caribbean Cup © Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta

A fleet of 11 VX One boats competed in the BVI Spring Regatta and Jeff Eiber’s This Side Down from USA win class and the first VX One Caribbean Cup © Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta

Corr’s Light Racing – Hot Ticket, a King 40 skippered by Peter Corr (USA), took second in CSA-Racing 2 with 15 points, and in third was the J122 El Ocaso, skippered by Richard Wesslund (USA), with 25 points.

In CSA-Racing 3, the J105 Dark Star, skippered by Jonathan Lipuscek took first with 8.5 points, including 5 bullets and a tie for first over 8 races sailed; in second was Pipedream, the Sirena 38 skippered by Tortola local Chris Haycraft with 15.5 points. The Melges 24 Team Island Water World, skippered by Frits Bus from St Maarten finished third with 26 points.


The lively crew from Brazil sailing on Ventaneiro 3, a Dufour 500 skippered by Renato Faria took first in CSA-Performance Cruiser 1, having won all five races this regatta and finishing 7 points ahead of Northern Child, the Swan 51 skippered by Sjoerd Bos (GBR) who took second with 12 points. Seabiscuit, the Moorings 445 skippered by Patricia Nolan (BVI) took third with 16 points.
Tony Mac's Team McFly - Southern Child celebrate their class win in CSA Racing 2 © Todd VanSickle

Tony Mac’s Team McFly – Southern Child celebrate their class win in CSA Racing 2 © Todd VanSickle

In CSA-Multihull 1, the Formula 40 Soma, skippered by Nils Erickson (ISV) took 6 bullets over 6 races for first in class, 7 points ahead of sparring partner Triple Jack, the Kelsal 47 from Tortola co-owned by Richard Wooldridge. Third place went to Ten Directions, the Outremer 51 skippered by Glenn Davis (USA), finishing with 20 points. Erickson’s raced Spring Regatta some 9-10 times and said the upgrades he’s made to his boat in the past 18 months contributed to his team’s success.

“It was a fantastic regatta, we had a little bit of everything breeze-wise so we couldn’t have asked for a better time,” Erickson said. “We have a totally new crew sailing together and they took it to the edge. Over the last ten+ years we’ve had a fantastic rivalry with Triple Jack. Our boats are about the same age, around 31+ years old, but we’ve done a bunch of upgrades to our boat over the last 18 months and she’s like a totally new boat. We suddenly found a whole new gear which took us to a new level.”


In CSA-Jib and Main 1, Avanti, the Hanse 430 skippered by Jeremi Jablonski (USA) landed in first place overall with 9 points, while Cachondo, the Hanse 455 owned and skippered by Jose Teixidor (PUR) finished second with 13 points. Wild T’ing, the Dufour 40 skippered by Lawrence Aqui (USVI), finished in third with 13 points.


Jose Teixidor, racing his brand new boat for the first time, was happy with his result, “Racing around the islands was fantastic, I love to do that. We found out that this boat really needs more wind like we had over the past few days. Today was light wind, we couldn’t do better, but that’s part of the game.”
Keith LiGreci (BVI) and his regular team on Girasoli, a Jeanneau 40, took 4 bullets over 5 races to win the 10-strong CSA-Jib and Main 2 class with 6 points, also taking the award for the Best BVI Boat. Fellow competitors Sam of Hamble, the Sigma 38 owned by Peter Hopps and Serena Alexander (GBR) took second with 14 points, and Diva, the 1931 Modified 30 square meter skippered by regatta veteran, 85 year-old Robin Tattersall, took third with 20 points.
In the CSA – Bareboat 1 fleet, Team Crude Yachties aboard The Remedy, a Moorings 45.3 skippered by Mike Hill (BVI) took first overall finishing with 10 points. Following closely in second with 12 points was Team Aquaholics aboard Lady Aubrey, a Moorings 50 skippered by Rene Van Dop (NED). Mary Jewell, Larry Caillouet’s Sunsail 50 took third in the 16-strong class with 16 points.
“It’s been fantastic racing against some really good crews, really high standard and we’ve really enjoyed it,” Hill said. “We couldn’t do it without the other crews, or without my crew who have been fantastic.”
In CSA-Bareboat 2, the strapping Dutch team racing the Sunsail 44i Warvor, skippered by Willem Ellemeet were the clear victors in class, also securing the International Yacht Challenge with 5 bullets over 5 races. Alberto Borin (ITA) skippering Tortola Moon, a Sunsail 41, took second with 11 points while Koen Lindner’s Sunsail 44i Bageal (NED), took third with 18 points.
Thierry Simon, racing Discovery 50, Curante Cridhe (GBR) took first in CSA-Multihull 2, with 5 bullets over 5 races. Wildfire, the Edel 35 catamaran skippered by John Hayes (BVI) took second with 10 points.
Rumor in the IC 24 fleet was that Stinger would be the boat to look out for in this regatta. Sure enough, skipper Jens Hookanson took 9 bullets and 2 seconds, ending the regatta with 24 points, 10 points ahead of second place Alec Anderson on INTAC. Third place went to Gregory Fink’s Kuliagus II with 39 points.
Hookanson said, “The local guys in this fleet are really good; they’re very fast. This is our first IC 24 regatta but I’ve been sailing J24s for a long time and I guess my crew did a good job…just kidding; they were great. I chartered the boat from John and Peter Holmberg (St Thomas). I think the key, like in any racing, was getting off the line at the start, then you have to have competitive boat speed and getting the first shift off the line, then just having good boat speed and tactics to stay ahead. They did an awesome job here with the starts, the lines and moving things around. We had great courses, just windward leewards and the one fun race yesterday. And, the parties are always fun!”
New to Spring Regatta this year was the VX One fleet. Tim Pitts (USA), fleet chairman, who took third overall in class racing on Cruzan Rhode, said, “It was absolutely perfect, we enjoyed everything from the weather, to the conditions, the hospitality here was just great. We had 11 boats sailing all weekend in premium conditions. Jeff Eiber on This Side Down (USA) sailed extremely well and deserves every bit of his win. The courses were perfect, the race committee listened to all our input and it’s probably the best-managed racing we’ve had and we’ll be back next year.”
This Side Down, VX One fleet overall winner and recipient of the first VX One Caribbean Cup, was the family team, Keven and Jeff Eiber with their 22-year old son Emery. “Certainly sailing together as a family this week has been the highlight. It is such a challenge every time (LOL!), but the highlight is that we did it!”
Save the date for 2017 BVI Spring Regatta: 27th March to 2nd April, 2017.