Racing at the 2014 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival got underway today with the Nanny Cay Cup Round Tortola Race. With light winds expected, the course was adjusted and the boats did not race around Tortola, but instead took a 14-mile, easterly course. It did not change the fleet’s agenda as Tonnerre de Breskens 3 won overall and Highland Fling XII’s took line honors.
“It shows how good we are,” joked Tonnerre de Breskens 3 owner Peter Vroon. “We’ve competed on this boat extensively, and the yacht is exactly five years old today. We started in Ft. Lauderdale and did Key West Week, then we did the RORC 600 in Antigua, then raced in St. Thomas and now here. And, it’s all been most enjoyable. We haven’t got a light weather boat, but to win by two-and-a-half minutes is commendable.”
Racing is a family affair for Peter Vroon. “I’ve got five family members here – two sons, a grandson, and a son-in-law,” he said. Sons Bart and Coco, grandson Carlo and son-in-law Rinus were all part of the race crew as the yacht finished with a time of 3 hours, 15 minutes, 23 seconds.
All four classes – racing, cruising, bare boat and multihull – sailed the same course. Off the line, yachts started in Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay on a beat up to Ginger Island, sailing down the outside in the Caribbean Sea for a broad reach to the famous Dead Chest, finishing with a run back across the channel. The breeze was at 8-10 knots at the start, picking up to 12 around the back side of the course.
Jon Charlton’s Red Stripe / Reba took advantage of local knowledge to win the cruising class. The British Virgin Islands crew onboard the C&C 41 CB class yacht finished fourth overall in the fleet at 3:27:18 on corrected time.
“We are from here, so that may give us a little bit of an advantage,” said Charlton. “We might have a better idea where we should go. The entire fleet went up the coast and stayed on the north side of Drake’s Channel. We were the only boat to go straight across towards the islands, and we went right up along Peter, Salt, Cooper and got lifts all the way. A huge advantage for us. We finished with a lot of the boats in the racing class, so we are quite happy.”
Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling XII led the fleet across the line and finished with an elapsed time of 2:40.56, ending second in the racing class on corrected time (3:19:04). Matt Brooks’ vintage S&S 52 yawl Dorade, launched in 1930, finished third at 3:23:48.
“It was a great day,” said Highland Fling XII skipper Peter Holmberg. “The conditions were mild, but we had one boat like us, Tonnerre, so we can gage ourselves against them. It’s tricky when it gets light – the challenges change from boat handling with big breeze, to finding the wind and going to the right spots. The team did a good job and had a good day. We have a new sail coming that we’re anxious to see, and the team’s looking forward to the weekend.”
The Jeanneau 44i Ka Wai Ola won the bare boat class with a time of 4:30:05, followed by the Beneteau Cyclades 39 Pretty Girl (4:41:49) and the Sunsail 515
Ferry Tale / Mary Jewell (4:48:43).
For multihulls, Boss Lady II (4:36:54), Moorings 4600, finished ahead of Mari’s Leonardo (5:20:03), an Orana 44 cat, to win the class.
On Wednesday is the CIL Island Invitational – a pursuit race to Pirates. Race start time is set for 10:00 local, and boat shuttle services will be available to transport guests to Pirates Bight Bar on Norman Island for the festivities. Round-trip shuttle tickets are available for $20. The BVI Spring Regatta runs Friday-Sunday, April 4-6.
For compete results and more information on racing, party schedules and more, visit www.bvispringregatta.org.