Racing In Paradise

Posted in ,

Although one individual was heard to say, "I prefer sailing in Cowes in the rain," I can’t find anyone else who shares that sentiment. As the West Indian people will tell you, we are blessed. With another perfect day on the water, it is truly racing in paradise at the 2009 BVI Spring Regatta. In today’s action, there were a number of leaders who had a chance to stretch out their leads in the 10 – 12 knot breeze and a few classes in which the tops spots changed hands. In Division A, Vincitore, the carbon fiber Reichel Pugh 52, added a few more notches to its belt with several more bullets. Although Colin Booth, the captain of the boat had said that the boat loves downwind sailing, the crew is proving that it just likes sailing. In Racing Division B, one group hailing primarily from Ireland indicated that they came to the BVI to sail despite the economic hard times in Europe. In fact, one crew member said, "What economic recession?" Calling themselves Team Denial, there is no doubt that they are in "denial" about their current last place standing. Regardless, they seem to be having a great time. Three Harkoms leads the class after the second day of racing. Rob Armstrong’s Bad Girl continues to beat up on Racing class C. Due to business commitments, Rob was unable to sail this weekend and as a results, Bad Girl it is being skippered by Jens Hookanson. After today’s racing, Jens spoke about his main competition, Jurakan. "They are going really well. They have Anthony Kotoun on board, a really good collegiate and professional sailor. We sail against each other a lot in J24’s in Rhode Island. They are going really fast and we are just trying to hang with them." And hang with them they are, with straight bullets today. Pipe Dream, a Sirena 38, owned and skipper by Peter Haycraft, one of the hometown favorites, remains in third place on the scoreboard today after a series of mishaps yesterday. After lost their steering in the second race, Pipe Dream finished last. The steering went after a dragging sheet jammed itself in between the rudder and the hull. After sorting that problem, they came back strong, taking a first in the third race but did not fare as well in the fourth when, hoping for a better angle, took a flyer and rounded three islands rather than just the one specified by the course instructions. The scoreboard looks very different than yesterday for this group. Umakua, has move from fifth to the first place position and Top Gun has dropped to fourth. Kick Em Jenny holds steady at second. The well-sailed Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier, skippered by Great Britain’s David Yelloly moved into the lead in Performance Cruising A. Yelloly’s got his work cut out for him and he?s tied on points with the USA?s Robert Radway’s Arcona 460, Safir III, a tie broken only by Spirit of Montpelier?s great number of first place finishes. Antigua?s Tony Sayer, skippering his Beneteau First 42, Augustine, in Performance Cruising B finished third and would have liked more wind and longer races. ?The wind was okay, but a bit fluky today. On the last race, every tack we made was into bad air and we were over-taken. The first race was a short windward-leeward. The configuration was fine; we just wished it were longer to allow more time to maneuver.? Clover III, a Swan 56 helmed by the USA?s Neal Finnegan, over took Diva for the lead in Jib and Main, and Saga Boy Racing, a Beneteau Cyclades 43, skippered by Paul Johnson held its lead in Bareboat Class A. Speed at the starts is everything in the Bareboat Class, says veteran BVI sailor, Pressley King, sharing helm duties with California?s Justin Barton aboard the Beneteau Oceanis 47, Justice, in Bareboat Class B. ?We got a slow start in both races today and that put us in the middle of the fleet where we lost breeze and couldn’t pull ahead,? says Pressley. ?It?s not about your position at the start, it?s all about speed and timing is everything.? As a result, Team Germany pulled into the lead by two points. Soma, a Formula 40 trimaran, smoked the Large Multihull class even after the race committee split the five-boat class and put the three fastest multihulls in a class of their own for the second race of the day. ?It?s hard to do well in light wind and we had our fingers crossed that it would fill in, and it did,? says owner/shipper, St. John, USVI?s Nils Erickson. In winds of 15 to 16 knots Soma screamed along at 22 knots and easily kept its class lead. First mate, Chris Hansen, says, ?Soma is a speed fix, an adrenalin rush, sailing her is the ultimate drug.? Lots of racing and little room for error marked the competition in the IC-24 Class. The BVI?s Colin Rathbun’s Lime held its lead, with fellow islander, Robbie Hirst on Seahawk moving up swiftly to second with a foursome of firsts. Mark Plaxton’s Intac, with 17-year-old skipper, Alec Anderson, at the helm rounded out third. ?Our goal going into this regatta was a podium placing and that?s where we?re at,? says Anderson. ?If the breeze stays good tomorrow, 10 to 12 knots, we should be able to hold it. This is definitely one of the most competitive classes.? A perfect day ended at the Nanny Cay Festival Village with food, drink, a fashion show and live music. Kay Acott, from KA Yacht Charters summed up BVI Spring Regatta this way, "It’s rum, sun, dancing and a little sailing." Hailing from the UK and sailing their Beneteau First 40.7, Coyote, they are already planning to be back next year. Complete results are available at