Big breeze BVI

A report from day two of the Spring Regatta

Sunday April 6th 2008, Author: Linda Phillips, Location: United Kingdom
With winds of 22-25 knots, it was a little less breezy as the 128-boat fleet set sail for the second day of competition at the BVI Spring Regatta.

In Spinnaker Racing A, Storm continues to dominate the scoreboard. But the crew on the current second place boat, UK’s Richard Matthew’s Humpheys 42, Oystercatcher XXVI, is having fun anyway. “It’s been a beautiful day,” says John Munns, navigator and skipper.

Dave West, a Great Lakes sailor who transplants to the BVI six months of the year, saw the Trinidad-based Melges 32 Crash Test Dummies last year, and decided he had to have one of his own. Christening his Melges 32 Jurakan, after the Taino God of wind, West admitted the blustery gusts didn’t bother him, his crew or his boat any. “The boat’s light. Sure, we crashed a few times, but we didn’t break anything.” Jurakan, in fourth place after six races this weekend, hasn’t yet answered West’s prayers for a win. The Trinis on Bmobile Enzyme are still in first place in Spinnaker Racing B.

In Spinnaker Racing C, Jean-Philippe Gallois, sail trimmer aboard Clive Llewellyn’s Grand Soleil 50 Mad IV enjoys the strong winds. “This boat Mad IV does best in 18 to 25 knots of wind. In the south of France, where we sail during the summer, you can get 10 knots one minute and 30 knots the next.” Mad IV is in second place, with 10 points, only two points behind Global Yacht Racing.

Yesterday, in Spinnaker Racing C, Three Harkoms had an incident on the race course in which one crew member was seriously injured. Kevin Rowlette of Husky Salvage & Towing, who was standing by on one of his salvage vessels, overheard the call to the race committee and proceeded immediately to the scene. First response was provided by two of Three Harkoms’ crew members. VISAR (Virgin Islands Search and Rescue) was called out while Kevin towed Three Harkoms into Road Town. VISAR crew met the boats in route, transferring personnel onto Three Harkoms. Once in Road Town, the casualty was transferred by ambulance to Peebles Hospital, where his condition was stabilised. Overnight, there was some improvement in his condition and late today, he was airlifted to Florida.

St. Croix’s Devil 3, sailing in Spinnaker Racing D, may get the prize for the most determined. St. Croix’s Stanton Brothers - Chris, Peter, Scott - and their crew aboard the Melges 24 Devil 3 did not let strong winds and heavy seas keep them from sailing in the BVI Spring Regatta. “We set off from St Croix Thursday morning and had to turn back because it wasn’t safe,” says Chris, who skippers. “So, we headed out again at 6am yesterday, cleared customs in Road Town, picked up a crew member at Nanny Cay and headed right out to the course. The race committee was nice enough to fill us in on the course and we raced the last race.” By the time Devil 3 made it to the Shell Race Course on Friday, they had missed three out of four races. Today, although on the final race of the day, their jib exploded and they couldn’t finish the final upwind leg, their results look much healthier. In second place with 23 points, it will be tough to catch Silver who only has nine.

John Foster and his St. Thomas crew aboard the Kirby 25, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, took a risk for boat speed in the second race of the day and ended up in the drink. “We had a huge broach, it was classic,” says Foster’s son, Johnny, about the action in Spinnaker Racing E. “It was just as if we were kite-boarding, sailing the 40 to 50 feet downwind to catch up to our spinnaker.” The problem, Foster explains, “is that we put up our biggest sail, but it was too big. Let’s just say our plan turned out to be all wet.” Foster and crew are currently in fourth place.

Up until yesterday, when one looked at the list of competitors in Spinnaker Racing F, they might have been surprised to not to see a familiar BVI raceboat on the list, Peter Haycraft’s Pipe Dream. Son, Chris Haycraft, explains: “Paul Miller, who does the scoring, always uses Pipedream as the test boat in each of the regattas he scores. As a result, we get asked all the time - ‘are you going to Grenada?’, ‘are you going to St. Maarten?’, ‘are you going to Cowes!’. The answer is no, but I thought I’d call us World Tour this year as a joke for Paul.” Going into Sunday’s racing, Pipe Dream is tied for third place with Kick ‘Em Jenny.

Looks like St. Croix’s Chris Schreiber, campaigning his Hobie 16 AutoWorld Express is the last man standing in the Beach Cat class. “We played around the IC24 class, but frankly, by the third race, we got tired of sailing against ourselves.” Strong winds kept many beach cats from sailing the the BVI Spring regatta and fellow competitor, St. Thomas’ Paul Stoeken, sailing Hobie 16, lost a jib car minutes after leaving the beach for the first race and didn’t have a replacement. Schreiber’s had a great time racing this season with his teenage son, Chris, as crew.

Alec Anderson, skipper of IC24 Intac, currently in second place, is a 16-year-old, who has been sailing since the age of seven. His crew is made up of two mates, Rian Bareuther and Eric Spencer, the owner of the boat, Mark Plaxton, and his coach, Chris Watters. Alec was born on Tortola and has lived here all of his life, but it was not until this year that Alec drove Intac in any international regattas. “This is the best we have ever done. We are ahead of some really big names.“ When asked why he thinks he is doing so much better this regatta, Alec replied: “Just consistency. We have had regattas when we had a few firsts but a bad or a crappy race and your out. We’re doing our best to keep in clear air and out of any jumbles.” Alec added: “During the last race, I almost started to hyperventilate. At the finish, we were with B-Mobile and Robbie Hirst was right behind us. We caught a wave and won that race by about a half a boat length. My heart was out of my chest.”

Bad Wine is leader after two days in Performance Cruising A. Sailing the BVI Spring Regatta for the third time, Patrick Krol and crew are from the Netherlands. For seven years, the group sailed another Caribbean regatta but wanted something a little smaller and now have decided that the BVI is the best sailing anyplace. Patrick went on to say: “Half my crew races all the time and the other half only race twice a year. Given that half the crew are tourists, we’re doing pretty well. They’re not experienced, but they listen pretty well.” He added: “ Stay Calm is our biggest competition. They are a Swan 72 and are really doing good. They’re chasing us at the moment, only one point behind. Tomorrow is definitely a deciding day for us. And we should do better tomorrow if we can control ourselves tonight. Last night we had a little too much fun at the Governor’s party.”

Tony Sayer, owner/skipper of Augustine from Antigua, is currently winning Performance Cruising B. Following the Rolex Regatta last weekend, Tony says he only had five crew who could stay for BVI Spring Regatta. Thinking that he did not have enough hands to fly a spinnaker, he originally registered for the Jib and Main class. It wasn’t long after that he picked up five more crew members and switch classes. When asked how he accomplished this feat, Tony replied: “We have a bow lady that helps us. She is very pretty and she likes to hang out. The courses are nice here, sailing in the Sir Frances Drake Channel is fantastic, it’s not too rough. It’s great racing and very exciting. ’m, really enjoying this regatta, the racing and all the boats being in Nanny
Cay. It’s nice that the parties are right here, you don’t have to drive anywhere and then you can walk down the dock and crash on the boat.”

Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 37th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas. The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; Gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, CCT Global Communications, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken, Scrub Island Resort, The Moorings, Mount Gay, and SOL. Highland Springs and Maui Jim are Silver sponsors and supporting sponsors are Virgin Textiles, Sea Hawk, Tortola Yacht Services, and BVI Yacht Charters.

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