After two days of fabulous racing in the BVI Sailing Festival, the BVI Spring Regatta starts tomorrow, Friday 29th March with three days of racing in the spectacular BVI archipelago based at Nanny Cay Marina & Resort in Tortola.
While weather forecasts are predicting a light easterly breeze of 11 knots on Friday, stronger winds will pick up for the weekend, which should produce some hot racing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel, British Virgin Islands.
Bob Phillips, Chairman of the BVI Spring Regatta explains why the sailing area is so well suited to racing:
“There are so many islands that we are really spoiled with choices when it comes to course design. We have 64 places that we can use and with this variety, we can adjust the races to suit the wind and weather conditions during every day. The regatta uses islands as turning marks or we can set marks for precise windward leeward racing.” “As such, the regatta attracts a wide selection of yachts and sailors; we can provide short sharp windward leeward for one-design and race tracks for performance cruisers and production yachts. The BVI Spring Regatta really can provide racing that suits just about anybody, all in an outstanding location,” continues Phillips.
The scratch boat in the Performance Cruiser Class is Peter Corr’s Alia 82, Aiyana. Corr is a member of the New York Yacht Club but his international crew come from Australia, UK and USA and include Mini Maxi World Champion, David Sampson calling tactics and Match Racing World Champion, Mal Parker on trim.
Marcus Cholerton-Brown sailing Global Yachting’s EH01 and Christian and Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51, Northern Child are back. Last year Northern Child won their class with EH01 second. Two light displacement J Boats will be hoping for surfing conditions to surpass their bigger heavier rivals; Stanford Joines J/36, Paladin from St.Croix Yacht Club and Royal BVI Yacht Club member, Harold Keating racing J/95 Shamrock VII, which was second in class last year.
The Jib and Main Class is designed to be suitable for people wishing to race short handed or for new comers to racing. Stephen Schmidt’s Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too from the Santa Barbara Yacht Club is the largest yacht racing in the class, while David Lake’s Hunter 30, Wicked Winch from the West End Yacht Club is the smallest. Last year’s class winner, Keith LiGreci’s Girasoli is back to try to emulate last year’s triumph. Nikolaus Hartmann’s Beneteau 50 Apollonia has come all the way from Dresden, Germany to take part and it will be the first time that any of the crew has raced. The German crew might be happy to hear that Easter sailing back home in Dresden has been cancelled as the lake is frozen!
Many competitors have chartered yachts from Gold sponsor, The Moorings and with competitors from five different countries, Bareboat 1 is truly international. Sailors from The BVI, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia and the USA will enjoy some tight racing however, Alice Martin’s Painkiller Racing Team from Chicago, Illinois have already laid claim to the best cheeseburger afloat award! In Bareboat 2, the stand out yachts from the BVI Sailing Festival are Dutch veteran Radboud Crul’s Dundee and SAIL Magazine editor Peter Neilson racing Merlin (Kief) representing the Boston Yacht Club.
In Spinnaker Racing 1, Phil Lotz’s Swan 42, Arethusa is in fine form and should have a fantastic battle with last year’s boat of the regatta, Rick Wesslund’s renowned J/120 El Ocaso. However, all of the competing boats in the class are capable of winning. Sergio Sagramoso’s J/122, Lazy Dog from San Juan, van Dijk & Hin’s Dutch Grand Soleil 43, Black Hole (aka: D-Trip) and Canadian Marten 49, Defiance, skippered by Hamnett Hill.
In Spinnaker Racing 2, Tortola’s Kevin Rowlette racing Olson 30, Rushin Rowlette will be looking to go one better after coming second in class last year. The class boasts yachts from Islands all over the Caribbean, apart from Oscar Langenius’ First Class 10, Chamsin. Oscar and three other Swedish students have sailed the 33ft boat to Tortola from Sweden to take part!
Spinnaker Racing 3 is the battle ground for the Melges, bristling with world champions, the flying Melges 32 and sole Melges 24, should provide some of the most exciting racing at the regatta.
In the Racer Cruiser Class, Pasquale Leone’s First 36.7, Hammertime II has shown good form in the BVI Sailing Festival. Whilst Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero at the helm of J/105, Umakua, won the recent San Juan International Regatta. Peter Haycraft has been involved with the regatta since it started and he has raced every year. His Tortolan Sirena 38, Pipe Dream suffered a broken main halyard last year to dash their hopes and he will be looking to come back in style.
Most of the classes can expect one or more races per day with all classes starting in the beautiful surroundings of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. However the IC24 One-Design can expect up to six intense short windward leewards right outside Nanny Cay Resort.
On the eve of the start of the BVI Spring Regatta, hundreds of crew, family and friends will head for the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay for the Mount Gay Welcome Party with music by Final Faze.
First start is scheduled for all classes from at 10:00 on Friday March 29th.