Everybody Wins at 30th Annual Pro Am Regatta
Published on October 28th, 2016
Virgin Gorda, BVI (0ctober 28, 2016) – Officially, it was named the Bitter End Yacht Club’s 30th Annual Pro Am Regatta, but right from the opening whistle it certainly looked like ‘The Taylor Canfield Show.’ Sailing in IC24s, Canfield won the opening fleet race and seemingly never looked back.
As the seven pro skippers rotated boats, they rotated crews – all of whom were BEYC guests who came to the regatta for a chance to sail with the elite skippers – but none of that was able to slow down the ‘Canfield Express.’
It was widely believed that one of the seven IC24s used for this event was a bit off the pace – a bit slower than the other six. Nonetheless, when it was Canfield’s turn to drive the ‘pig,’ he won. Big!
Canfield grew up in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – just a stone’s throw from BEYC. And while he was totally familiar and comfortable in the IC24s, he simply reveled in the shifty, ‘now you see it – now you don’t’ wind patterns on Virgin Gorda’s North Sound during the regatta.
Canfield finished the fleet racing potion of the regatta with a one point lead over seven-time Pro Am champion Ed Baird with Dave Ullman just two points further back in third place. However, Baird and Ullman missed their chance to dethrone Canfield as both had to catch flights today for an important conflict – their induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. That moved up Dave Perry, Anthony Kotoun and Steve Benjamin into the match racing knock out stage.
In the Semi-Finals, Perry dispatched Kotoun 2-1 while Canfield’s match racing experience was simply too much for Benjamin. That score was 2-zip.
That set up a Finals between two match races experts – the five-time U.S. National Match Racing Champion Dave Perry and the world’s top ranked match racer, Taylor Canfield. Great races, but Canfield was simply on fire and won the championship 2-0.
During the Semi-Finals and the Finals, Canfield displayed more than just match racing expertise. He was so in tune with the shifty, light air sailing conditions on the North Sound that he’d occasionally split from a competitor he was leading to go after a favorable puff of shift, and he’d consistently increase his lead on the process.
So what was the final result? Taylor Canfield has now won his third Pro Am Regatta in four attempts, Dave Perry took second place with a huge smile on his face, former Pro Am champ Anthony Kotoun won the event’s bronze medal, and all the remaining pros and guest, after a week of comradery and competition, were reminded why sailing is such a great sport.
Background: The 30th edition of the Bitter End Yacht Club Pro-Am Regatta, an adult fantasy camp held annually in the British Virgin Islands, brings together an all-star line-up to join resort guests for a week of competition on October 22-29.