British Virgin Islands: Exceptionally competitive sailing throughout 2006 BVI Spring Regatta
Saturday, 15 April 2006
This year’s BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, presented by Nanny Cay Marina, March 27 – April 2, 2006, hosted a record 154 boats ranging in size from15’ Lasers to the Riechel Pugh 75’ Titan XII. Winds were light but enough to support six days of exceptionally competitive sailing throughout the BVI. Organizers feared the worst, in terms of wind – or lack there of - but in the end, there was only one race, on one day, on one course, in which not all the boats finished before the time limit.
Robert Phillips, event coordinator, was a happy man on Sunday afternoon, April 2nd, “Each year this event gets better. We all wanted more wind but regardless, there was plenty of exceptional racing, partying and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
Racing began with the kick-off of the BVI Sailing Festival, the low pressure three day warm-up for the regatta, with a race from event host, Nanny Cay Marina, to North Sound’s Bitter End Yacht Club, for the Bitter End Cup. After making an early morning decision to shorten the course, the race committee started the three classes in five knots of breeze but, as the boats approached the western tip of Virgin Gorda, a squall line rolled in kicking the winds up to approximately 20 mph. Although Equation, Bill Alcott’s Andrew’s 68 was first across the line, DSK Comifin, a Swan 45, raced by Danilo Salsi was the first place finisher in the Racing class. In the Cruising class, Jeroboam CA NOVA, Vittorio Codecasa’s Swan 45, placed first finishing almost two minutes ahead of last year’s first place finisher, Tom Mullen’s J 120, Shamrock, and Dunbar, a skipper from the Moorings in Tortola, was the big winner in the Bareboat class.
March 29, 2006, day two of the BVI Sailing Festival was a “Layday Bitter End Style” with a choice of activities at the Bitter End Yacht Club in North Sound. Many yachties chose to participate in the one design racing, Lasers, Hobie Waves or Hobie Getaways, or in the Nation’s Challenge Cup, sailed in Bitter End’s fleet of 216’s. The sailing activities were so popular that by the end of the day, Bitter End had all of their 32 one-design dinghies racing in North Sound.
Layday activities have grown in popularity and this year, with eleven teams competing in the Nations’ Challenge Cup, there were two fleets racing for their nations’ honour. The early favorite in the event was Team Poland, winning two of the three morning races. But the tide turned in the afternoon with the Irish team taking the lead and leaving Team Poland in the second place position.
Thursday, March 30, 2006, the last day of the BVI Sailing Festival, 33 boats competed for the Nanny Cay Cup, sailing under sunny skies, with 10 -15 knots of breeze from the Bitter End Yacht Club to the Nanny Cay Marina. With all competitors finishing the primarily downwind race in just under four hours, top honours went to Roger Sturgeon’s Rosebud in the racing fleet, Paul King’s Disco Inferno in the Cruising class and once again, Tortola’s own, Dunbar, took home the gold in the Bareboat division.
Thursday was also registration for the main event, the BVI Spring Regatta, presented by Nanny Cay Marina. Regardless of uncertain weather conditions, a record 154 boats registered, an all time high for the 35 year old event.
The event was part of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (CORT), the Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS), the US IRC Gulf Stream Series and the Swan 45’ Class Caribbean Series.
The CORT series is comprised of the St. Croix International Regatta, the Culebra Heineken Regatta and the BVI Spring Regatta.
The CBBS is a trio of events that kicked off with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and concludes with Rolex Antigua Sailing Week.
The US IRC Gulfstream Series runs from January through June and includes the Ft Lauderdale to Key West Race, IRC races of Acura Key West, IRC races of Acura Miami Race Week, The Rolex International Regatta - St Thomas, The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, The Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race, The New York YC 152nd Annual Regatta, IRC Divisions of The Cruising Club of America and The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Centennial Newport Bermuda Race and The Royal Bermuda YC Anniversary Regatta.
Weather conditions throughout the 2006 BVI Spring Regatta, Friday, March 31st , through Sunday, April 2nd, improved with each passing day. Although Friday’s racing was postponed for an hour due to lack of wind and several boats on the Norman course were scored as DNF due to not finishing before the time limit, by Sunday, boats were sailing in the Caribbean sunshine with 10 –12 knots of breeze.
The Cooper course hosted Racing Divisions A – D, and the Racer Cruiser class; each of which sailed eight races during the three day regatta. The race committee chose to utilize both windward-leeward and touring courses (round the islands).
In Racing division A, Rosebud (1-4-1-1-1-1-2-2, 13), Roger Sturgeon’s Transpac 52 was the overall the class winner, with Daniel Meyers’ CM 60, Numbers (3-2-2-2-3-4-1-1, 18) second, and Puerto Rico’s Titan XII (2-1-3-3-2-2-4-3, 20), owned by Tom Hill, third.
Numbers now narrowly leads in the Caribbean Big Boat Series, Titan XII is a very close second and Equation is third.
In the US-IRC Gulfstream Series A, Numbers also moves into the lead with Equation second.
Sailing in Racing B, Tim Kimpton’s first time entry of his Melges 32, Crash Test Dummies (1-1-2-1-2-2-1-2, 12), sailed to a solid lead. Chippewa (2-2-1-4-3-5-2-4, 23) finished the regatta in second place, while DSK Comifin (8-3-4-3-1-1-DSQ-1, 30) took a third in spite of a protest and disqualification called on kinetics, or having its crew hang too far over the lifelines.
DSK Comifin, however, is enjoying the first place position in the US-IRC Gulfstream Series B, with Devocean second.
No stranger to the winner’s circle, James Dobbs kept his accustomed class position aboard his Olson 30, Lost Horizon II (1-1-2-2-2-1-1-1, 11), in Racing C, in spite of a few losses to Frits Bus, who kept up the pressure aboard his Melges 24, Carib.natufit (2-2-1-1-1-3-2-3, 15). The Kosa Loka (3-4-5-4-3-4-4-2, 29) crew from Puerto Rico launched into a rockin’ dock party once ashore Sunday afternoon, celebrating their overall third place finish.
Dobb’s performance was enough to edge a one-point lead over Guy Eldridge's, Melges 24, Mistress Quickly, to win the Spinnaker Racing A class in the CORT series.
In Racing D, John Foster and Bill McConnell’s newly rebuilt Kirby 25, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1-7-1-1-3.5-1-1-5, 20.5) ran away with first place. Broken Drum (5-3-4-5-2-2-7-2, 30) finished second, while St. Thomas’ Chris Thompson’s J Walker (2-2-5-8-1-5-5.5-3, 31.5), a J/27, was third with 17-year-old Cy Thompson at the helm.
Interestingly, the five boats competing in the Spinnaker Racing B class in CORT all tied in points for the lead. It took a tiebreaker that looked at each of the 21 races the boats sailed, calculating who beat whom the most, to break the tie. Even then, the boats finished only half a point apart with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly first, Sorceress second and Ex Mero Motu third.
With 35 years of experience racing every BVI Spring Regatta, Peter Haycraft aboard Pipedream (1-1-2-1-2-3-3-3, 16) won the Racer/Cruiser class. Kick ‘Em Jenny (6-3-1-3-1-2-2-1, 19) finished second, while Boomerang (3-7-3-2-3-7-1-6, 32) placed third.
After a hard fought battle, Pipedream wrestled the first place CORT Racer/Cruiser award from Boomerang, who finished second and John Haracivit’s Tempest from St. Thomas was third. It was a joke enjoyed by many when on stage, accepting their trophy, several of Pipedream’s crewmembers threw a number of boomerangs into the crowd.
Racing on the Norman course, the Performance Cruising A and B classes, Jib and Main, Bareboat A and B and the Multihull classes sailed four races each. The courses took them around the islands, touring Norman, Dead Chest, Little Thatch, Frenchman’s Cay and Peter Island.
In Performance Cruising A, it was not until the final day of the regatta that Jeraboam (2,2,2,1, 7) and Affinity (4,4,3,2, 13) finally beat Stuart Robinson’s Swan 70, Stay Calm (1,1,1,3, 6), on corrected time, but regardless, the final positions in the Performance Cruising class did not change. Stay Calm was first, Jeraboam second and Affinity third.
In Performance Cruising B, Christopher Lloyd’s Three Harkoms (DSQ,1,1,1, 15) was hurt by a starting line incident on the first day that resulted in a DSQ and an overall third place finish. Ron Noonan, with Wildflower (1,2,4,2, 9), finished first overall and Odin II (5,3,2,2, 12) took the second place spot.
The CORT final result in the Performance Cruising class was Cayennita in first place, Shamrock in second and Three Harkoms in third. Considering that Three Harkoms did not sail the St. Croix International Regatta because it was out of the water and the DSQ on the first day of the BVI Spring Regatta, Christopher Lloyd’s results should be considered to be quite respectable.
Bareboat A’s overall class winner was Rob Swain Sailing School (1,1,3,2, 7); Team 020 (2,2,2,1, 7) was tied on points but lost to RSSS in the tie-breaker. Inn Harmony (4,4,1,3, 12), the British Virgin Islands UK Tourist Board Team, led by double gold medalist, Shirley Robertson (who happens to be expecting twins), walked away with third.
Jan Soderberg’s Chess (1,1,2,1, 5) proved to be nearly unbeatable in the Bareboat Division B class. Southeby’s International Realty (2,2,1,2, 7), co-skippered by Neil Harvey, and Tom Barrett, was second overall. Andrea Betty Lee (6,4,3,5, 18), sailed by local Moorings skipper, Dunbar, retained the third place spot.
Neal Finnegan, sailing Clover III (1,1,2,1, 5), easily beat his competition taking home the first place prize in the Jib and Main class. The real race was for second place. In the last race of the series, Cosmic Warlord’s corrected finish time tied with Mensae’s. Both boats were awarded 2.5 points for the race. Overall, Clover III was first, Mensae (3,2,4,2.5, 11.5) second and Acadia (6,6,1,4, 17) moved from fourth place, into the winner’s circle.
Sailing in the Multihulll class, Mike Hirst debuting his Hatfield 34’ trimaran, Manta (4,1,1,1, 7), won three out of four races. Mike’s final first place broke the tie with Joe San Martin’s Piglet(1,3,2,2, 8); following in third place was Richard Woodridges’ Triple Jack (2,2,3,3 10). On stage, when Joe collected his prize he jokingly stated, “Next year, no more Mr. Nice Guy.”
On the One Design course, the IC24’s and Lasers sailed twelve races throughout the three day event. The Beach Cats got in thirteen. As this course was set more inshore than the Cooper or Norman race areas, there was slightly less breeze than the bigger boats saw out in the channel.
Racing was as competitive as ever in the IC24 fleet. Before prize giving Sunday evening, Chris Curreri was unable to point out a scoring error as he had spent the afternoon at the Willy-T, a popular floating bar, and as a result, Robbie Hirst and crew on Sea Hawk was initially awarded the overall first place prize. The next day, Curreri set the record straight and so, the final and correct standings show Brand New Second Hand (2,3,12,1,2,7,7,5,2,9,4,1, 55), sailed by Chris Curreri, in first place, just one point behind, Robbie Hirst and his crew on Sea Hawk (5,2,1,2,12,1,11,2,7,3,6,4, 56) in second and Orion (1,1,17,6,1,10,8,1,5,1,3,8, 62) in third place.
Brand New Second Hand was the big winner in the CORT series. Fiona, helmed by Colin Rathbun, was second and Mark Plaxton’s Intact was third.
Winning easily in the Beach Cat class, Olympic hopeful, Francisco Figueroa (1,1,3,1,2,3,2,1,2,1,1,2,1, 21), sailing Heineken, a Hobie 16, was first. Thomas Anger, Caribbean Auto Mart (2,2,2,2,1,2,3,2,1,3,2,3,2, 27), finished in second place and Wave Magnet (3,3,1,3,3,1,1,3,3,2,3,1,3, 30), Douglas DeReu, was third.
Although off to a slower than usual start, in the standard Laser rig, Thomas Barrows (1,3,2,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1), 2005 US Youth Laser Champion, had perfect finishes on Saturday and Sunday. He took home the first place overall trophy; Hugo Roller (2,1,1,3,4,2,2,2,2,3,3,2) finished in second place and Daniel Alsop (3,4,3,2,2,5,3,3,4,2,2,3) in third.
There was exceptionally close racing in the Laser Radial class; first through third places were only two points apart. Lightweight Sidney Jones (1,5,4,4,6,2,1,4,5,1,1,2, 32), of St. Croix, did exceptionally well in the light air and won her first big regatta. After losing last year to Emma Paull of the BVI, and stating that her goal was to beat Emma, she wore one of the biggest smiles accepting her first place trophy. St. John’s Mimi Roller finished the regatta in second place (3,3,5,1,1,4,2,2,4,3,2,3, 33) and Emma Paul (1,5,3,3,6,2,1,4,5,1,1,2 34) was third overall.
Sailing Laser 4.7 rigs, Alec Anderson (1,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,3,1,1,2, 16 ) bested Morgan Bryan (2,2,2,2,1,2,2,2,1,2,2,1 21).
There were a number of special prizes given out on the Nanny Cay stage, April 2nd. The Tourist Board Team Award was presented to Team UK, who was assisted by Olympian Shirley Robertson, winner of two gold medals.
The Chief Minister’s Award for the Best BVI Boat was won by Robbie Hirst and his crew on Sea Hawk.
The Bitter End Award for Spirit and Enthusiasm was presented to John Haracivet. Sailing his Beneteau 38, Tempest, for many years he has entertained the racing fleet with his sense of humour sporting wigs, hats, and blowup toys.
The Moorings/Sunsail Charterers Cup is given to the best bona fide bareboat charterer. This year, it was presented to Jan Soderberg who proved to be nearly unbeatable in Bareboat B.
The Caribbean Big Boat Series award went to Numbers, which currently leads the series. The overall trophy will be presented following Rolex Antigua Sailing Week.
Results were available to the sailors and the world via the Internet almost instantaneously. Thanks to the technology provided by Caribdata and their “realtime” results system, as Chris Haycraft, on Pipedream, sailed into the dock after racing on Sunday, his cell phone rang. It was friends living in Portugal calling to congratulate him on Pipedream’s BVI Spring Regatta and CORT wins.
As anyone knows, regattas are not just about the racing. The Regatta Village located at Nanny Cay Marina hosted a number of “restaurants”, an outstanding bar and red hot nightly entertainment. There were a few “rock stars’ floating around including America’s Cup Sailor, Brad Butterworth, sailing on Stay Calm, and US Youth Laser Champion, Thomas Barrows. There were also a fair number of Olympians; Shirley Robertson, Robbie Hirst, Tim Pitts and Robin Tattersall.
As the regatta weekend happened to span April Fools Day, April 1, a traditional day to play pranks; local celebrity, Kevin Roulette, driving one of the press boats, convinced several crews that a notice had been posted on the board indicating that all participants must wear PFD’s (personal flotation device) or risk disqualification. With winds barely reaching 12 knots and the sun shining brightly, panic ensued as skippers made sure they had enough PFD’s for all crew members and then required that they be worn.
With the 2006 event barely over, planning for the 2007 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, March 26 – April 1, is already underway.
For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including daily news, photos and complete results from the 2006 event, visit the official web site: http://www.bvispringregatta.org
Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 April 2006 )