BVI Spring Regatta kicks off
Published on March 28th, 2016
British Virgin Islands (March 28, 2016) – Registration opens Monday for boats and crews in the 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. The buzz is building shore-side, with the event Village under construction and docks filling up. With 18 classes and three race areas, the event allows all participants exclusive races depending on wind, waters and conditions. Racing in three bodies of water; the main Sir Francis Drake Channel, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by over 60 islands, give the race committee a variety of windward/leewards and around island races to choose from.
The racing is complimented by Caribbean parties at the Regatta Village, located right at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. Each night there is have live music, plenty of local and international food, and the main bar serving the coldest beer, rum drinks and champagne for all those thirsty sailors, friends and families to enjoy under the stars on the beach side of the turquoise waters.
In addition to the BVI Spring Regatta is the Sailing Festival prior to the Round Tortola regatta on Tuesday and an island adventure on Wednesday. These days are made for some good sailing, but to let crews gain some experience in the BVI waters, with their crew and their boats.
Life couldn’t be more perfect for the crews of 54 boats competing in Tuesday’s Nanny Cay Cup (Round Tortola Race) with the breeze forecast in the upper teens for the first race day of the 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Registration opened at noon today under blue sunny skies, the famed BVI trades keeping the heat at bay.
The Nanny Cay Cup not only sets the scene for a week of great racing with spectacular views of Tortola throughout the 31-nautical mile race, additionally, the teams can also race for the Nanny Cay Challenge – a perpetual challenge for the fastest mono and catamaran record around the island.
For racers to set a new elapsed time as they make the circumnavigation, starting and finishing at Nanny Cay, they must beat current records: Monohull record (3hrs 29mins 44secs) set at the 2013 Sailing Festival by Peter Corr’s Aiyana, an Alia 82; Multihull record (2hrs 33mins 40secs) set in 2015 by BVI’s Triple Jack, the trimaran owned by Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis.
The Challenge has fantastic awards up for grabs if a team breaks either of the current records: a jeroboam of “Drappier” champagne, sponsored by Tico, dinner for 15 crew, and a suggestion to donate $250 towards a BVI charity of choice.
Spookie, winner of the 2015 Nanny Cay Cup, a Carkeek HP40 owned by Steve and Heidi Benjamin from Norwalk, CT (USA), is back with high hopes to retain the Cup. They are psyched to put their best effort into taking the monohull Challenge record. Racing with them is Olympic silver medalist Peter Holmberg, one of the Caribbean’s best known sailors who may help them set that record. Either way, the 15-strong Spookie crew loves the sailing conditions, scenery and atmosphere at Spring Regatta, especially when it’s snowing back home.
Possibly the youngest sailors in Tuesday’s fleet are Leon (11) and Robert Puche (10), all the way from Berlin, Germany. Their dad Werner will be skippering the Leopard 48 Slow Motion, which he bought 18 months ago to keep based in Tortola so they can enjoy events like Spring Regatta. “We’re really looking forward to racing here and are only disappointed in that we have to leave early as the kids have to be back in school next week,” Werner said. This is the first time for the family to be at the BVI Spring Regatta.
More first timers, Renato Faria, from Brazil, will be racing his Dufour 500 Ventaneiro 3, with friends from Brazil and Germany. A harbor pilot from Rio de Janeiro, Faria is used to sailing various Olympic class boats so he’s not sure how racing Ventaneiro 3 will work out. “She’s really a cruiser, but we’ll try to race with her – we’re looking forward to the best racing in the Caribbean and will keep the boat here to cruise and race in the future.”
Team Slovakia, on board Arthur, a Beneteau First 40, have been in town for a few days now, taking time to soak up the beaches and a few cocktails while getting to know their way around the prevailing conditions. The group of seven friends are under the tutelage of Spring Regatta veteran Chris “Jacko” Jackson, owner’s rep for Arthur. “This is a great regatta for these guys,” Jackson said, “Everything’s in one location, it’s a two-minute walk to the parties from the boat, flat water and great sailing – what more could they want?”
Bob Phillips, Regatta Chairman, has chaired the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival for 19 years so has a pretty good idea how conditions may shape up tomorrow. “We’re looking at 15-20, pretty usual trade winds, maybe a little higher than normal. Of more importance is the direction – usually it’s from the east which means a dead beat for the first part of the race…may not be record breaking conditions but it’ll be close!”
Lucy Jones, owner of the Swan 51 Northern Child & the Beneteau First 40 Southern Child, is back for her 7th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival with two new race charter crews: a group of 24 from the company Samsin has chartered Northern Child & will race 12 guests on, 12 off, throughout the week.
Tony Mac & his Team McFly have chartered the First 40. Jones says, “These boats are completely race-ready – they’re both performance boats that people know they can go race and do well here in the BVIs.”
Damien Parnhouse, the Aussie skipper aboard Northern Child says, “This is my first Spring Regatta and I’m ready for it! I love sailing and sharing that with other people in a great place – where I live – Paris – the snow is just melting!”
Jonathan Bamberger, from Toronto, Canada, has arrived with his Farr 45 Spitfire for his first Spring Regatta. Bamberger says, “It had to be done, look around – it’s a beautiful place – and the Painkiller cocktails are great!”
Bamberger bought Spitfire in England last year and transferred her to the Caribbean a few weeks ago to participate in the RORC Caribbean 600, and now this week, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival.
Christian Reynolds, a Director of Performance Yacht Racing, is no stranger to the event, here for his 6th event with the Grand Soleil 43 Quokka. One of the aspects he welcomes is that the BVI Spring Regatta offers up some flat water racing, unlike other Caribbean racing.
“The Sailing Festival is the ‘fun racing’ and the Regatta is more serious – that mix is good, not to mention, it’s stunning here,” Reynolds says.
The challenge is out! Start time for the CSA-Multihull class is 0930, CSA-Bareboat class at 0935; CSA-Cruising Class at 0940, and CSA-Racing class at 0945.
Report by Event Media