Visit Pensacola

Warm Water, Hot Racing, Cool Parties

Published on February 23rd, 2016

Nearly 80 entries are signed up to race the 45th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta, scheduled for March 28-April 3. Prominent amid the Caribbean winter circuit, the 2016 edition will have teams coming from the US, Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Canada, Ireland, Argentina, Germany along with local sailors from the British Virgin Islands.

“This is a fantastic event, with lots of variety in the racing, great race management and wonderful shore-side activities – get involved and enjoy,” advises Rick Wessland, veteran BVI Spring Regatta competitor. Wessland, owner/skipper of the J122 El Ocaso, will be competing in the event for his ninth time.

Chris Haycraft, from Road Town, Tortola, will be racing his Sirena 28 Pipedream and considers he has a leg up over the competition in at least one regard, “We locals know where the after parties are! And, most importantly we know where to get the good coffee in the morning.”


Hoping to retain the Nanny Cup – 2015 winners, Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s TP52 Spookie, © Todd VanSickle/BVISR

With the Opening Party on Monday March 28, Tuesday March 29 brings on the Nanny Cay Challenge, a 31-nautical mile jaunt around Tortola for the Nanny Cay Cup and challenge for the fastest mono and catamaran record around the island, setting the stage for a competitive and challenging week of racing in the spectacular waters of the BVI.

Spring Regatta is fortunate to have so many past competitors return year after year simply because the event is so much fun, a must-do on every racer’s sailing calendar. Steve and Heidi Benjamin owners of the TP52 Spookie, from Norwalk, CT, are excited to be back again with a new boat. They’ve upgraded from a Carkeek 40 to the TP52 and as such have expanded their usual crew to 15 with the addition of four grinders who they’ll be counting on to get them around the race course in quick time.

“It’s a good idea to arrive early and really enjoy the entire Sailing Festival,” Benjamin said. “It’s some of the most fun racing around beautiful islands, and helps your team practice for the main event.”

Sam Talbot, from Centerpoint, New York and owner/skipper of the J111 Spike, also likes to start the party early at BVI Spring Regatta, “We are always sailing with different crew so we have become pretty efficient at crash courses for various areas of the boat. We plan to put a solid day of practice in before the Nanny Cay Cup race so everybody can get familiar with their position.”


Arriving in good time for the BVI Sailing Festival and Nanny Cay Cup is recommended by Sam Talbot, owner of J111 Spike. © Todd VanSickle/BVISR

This year Talbot’s upgraded his sail inventory from North 3DLs to 3DIs, and is looking forward to more control with the new sails across a bigger wind range. Nonetheless, equipment aside, he advises newcomers to the event not to take anything too seriously at Spring Regatta, “The banter out on the water is what makes it so much fun!”

With a different race course every day and guaranteed no-two-days-of-racing-the-same sets BVI Spring Regatta apart from other yacht racing events. Fabulous beach parties every evening are the only way to end a perfect day of warm-water Caribbean racing. With a long-time “home” base at Nanny Cay where families can also enjoy all that Tortola and the surrounding islands offer, the event offers something for everyone.

“There is so much to like – the incredible scenery, reliably strong winds, challenging courses, and of course the parties at Nanny Cay!” Benjamin commented.

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