Brit boats dominate

Yeoman XXXII wins the race around Virgin Gorda in the BVI Sailing Festival

Wednesday April 1st 2009, Author: Linda Phillips, Location: United Kingdom
The second day of the BVI Sailing Festival, layday, Bitter End style, filled North Sound with keel boats and dinghies. The Bitter End Yacht Club hosts the boats and sailors participating in the Sailing Festival portion of BVI Spring Regatta. After an energetic night of partying, the layday activities were a big hit. Those who raced around the island of Virgin Gorda had nearly ideal conditions while small boat sailors were treated to exciting dinghy racing and the annual Nation's Challenge Cup Regatta.

A Round Virgin Gorda race is a new twist to the BVI Sailing Festival, although a favorite at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Today, unlike previous Round Virgin Gorda races, sailors had the choice to round the island either to port or starboard. With winds of 12 – 14 in the morning, lightening up in the afternoon, the bigger, faster boats had the advantage. John Glynn, VP North American Sales, thought that today’s race would finally shed some light as to which direction is faster but for some reason, all of the boats took the island to starboard, rounding it in a clockwise fashion.

The keel boats started the race at 9:35 and Yeoman XXXII, David Aisher's Rogers 46 finished in just less than four hours, taking line honours and first place, correcting out two minutes ahead of Tom Mullen’s Shamrock. Nisida, a GY51, owned by Peter Hopps, finished third. Ten of the eleven boats entered were able to finish within the time limit but Nomad, the smallest boat in the fleet, a Santana 26, did not make it.

While some of the crews were taking the scenic trip around Virgin Gorda, others were sailing dinghies in North Sound. In the morning crews were out practicing for the afternoon’s Nation’s Challenge Cup. After lunch, sailing in 10-12 knots of breeze, Team Brazil, with sailors from the yacht Arethusa, took the top spot in both the Hobies and Lasers. Second, from the yacht Vincitore, was the New Zealand team, with third place going to Holland I from On Deck Sailing.

At the end of today’s racing, John Glynn remarked, “We had everything that floats out today in the sound. With 48 boats in the Festival fleet, the event continues to grow and evolve in ways we never expected. We look forward to seeing everyone back in 2010 and we wish the racers good luck for the rest of the week."

Tomorrow the BVI Sailing Festival fleet will head back down the channel, competing for the Nanny Cay Cup. The Festival Village opens tomorrow night with the annual Mount Gay Party and live music from MJ Blues. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Drake Channel will come alive as more than one hundred boats compete on three courses in the 2009 BVI Spring Regatta.

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