Day one to Sotto Voce

Alaistair Abrehart reports from day one of the BVI Spring Regatta

Saturday April 5th 2003, Author: Alaistair Abrehart, Location: Caribbean
Last night's torrential Caribbean downpours didn¹t dampen competitors' enthusiasm on the start line today and many a boat was called back by Principal Race Officer (PRO) Peter Reggio.

The day dawned overcast and blowing a solid 18 knots. As the day wore on the clouds dissipated, and the wind remained leaving typical Caribbean trade winds for the rest of the day albeit blowing from the east south east. The spinnaker course saw its windward mark set off Salt Island, resting place for the RMS Rhone sunk in a hurricane in 1867.

Reggio got off 26 races for the seven classes on the spinnaker course with racing A, B, C and racer/cruiser A and B rattling through four races and beach cat spinnaker and non-spinnaker three each. Using an evolution of the multi-start, multi-finish format introduced in 2001 there are eight permutations of windward-leeward courses and both a windward and a leeward finish line.

Sotto Voce, the JV66, smoked around the courses beating Chippewa and Equation by approximately five minutes in each race. But after their corrected times were calculated Sotto Voce and Chippewa each had two wins, two second places and six points each. Equation has thirteen points and was disqualified in race one for "incident on the start".

Lolita, Frank Savage¹s Swan 56, bulleted racing B with four firsts and beat scratch boat for the class Flirt around the course once today. Flirt gives Lolita two minutes and 33 seconds per hour under the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) rating system ­ and Lolita finished a lot closer than that. Marc Ewing's Riot, Flirt and Carlo Falcone's Caccia Alla Volpe are close with 12, 13 and fourteen points respectively.

The highly competitive racing C was a little incident-prone today. Slam, only recently re-rigged after its dismasting on the last day of St Maarten¹s Heineken Regatta last year, 'lost it' again in race two. Lost Horizon II, Cape Air CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) leader coming in to the BVI Spring Regatta, was Y-boned by Beneteau First Class 10 Uncle Sam on the last race of the day. Lost Horizon was given redress and received a nice round score of 3.67 for the race ­ an average of its three first races of the day. John Foster and his Magnificent 7 team have stepped into the top spot with Melges 24 2 Contact Caribe in second place. Despite its mishap Lost Horizon II is in third place and will be repaired for the start tomorrow morning at 10.00am.

BVI Olympian Robby Hirst is topping the IC/24 class having won four of the six races today in this 11-boat one-design class. His new boat Crowley Shipping was only completed the night before it was due to leave for the International Rolex Regatta and although Robby and crew have quickly found their groove racing is extremely tight.

UK Swan 48 Celerity owned and skippered by Stuart Robinson is leading Igoodia, a Jeanneau 52.2 by three points in racer/cruiser A. Another Swan 48 Wind Dancer, with a John Glynn/Jim Connor combo at the back, is third.

Racer/cruiser B saw on of those racing rarities ­ a corrected time tie. Dehlerious and Cold Beer both had a time of 44 minutes and 19 seconds and tied for second place with 2.5 points each. BVI boat Cold Beer is leading this class while Pipedream made a very unwelcome course error in race one and DNF¹d receiving 13 points for its trouble. This puts them in fifth place in class.

Ron Noonan's Wildflower is actually racing in the cruising class despite erroneous information last night, and winning it. Natural Magic is second and Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall, third. This has helped last year's winner in the Jib & Main class winner Second Nature, a Hughes 38, continue its run by topping that class today.

Dot Com is topping bareboat A and Bavaria 36 Next Best Thing, bareboat B.

If conditions hold tomorrow could see big boats and non-spinnaker boats racing round Tortola.

The BVI Spring Regatta is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association. The 2003 BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Marina and also sponsored by Heineken, Road Town Wholesale (1975) Ltd, Bitter End Yacht Club, the BVI Tourist Board, Cable & Wireless BVI, Village Cay Marina, Maui Jim, Tortola Yacht Services, Prospect Reef Resort, Caribbean Star, Cape Air, Zephyrhills Water and Island Marine Outfitters.

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