Fun in the sun

As BVI Spring Series kicks off, reports Alaistair Abrehart

Friday April 4th 2003, Author: Alaistair Abrehart, Location: Caribbean
At the close of registration on Thursday night, 139 boats had registered for the 32nd BVI Spring Regatta presented by Nanny Cay Marina, substantially beating the record set last year of 114; the increase was spread through a number of classes.

Bob Phillips, BVI Spring Regatta chairman said: "I was very pleased with the Sailing Festival turnout and now I even more pleased with this growth. When you consider that many other Caribbean regattas have dropped in numbers this year it's all the more pleasing for me and all the people that have been working on this event since last April.

"We've been evolving and listening to our visitors to ensure that we give them what they want and I think our efforts are paying off."

A cold front has been moving through the British Virgin Islands throughout the day dropping a lot of much-needed rain on the island. However, it was a little less welcome in the regatta village as the Mount Gay welcome party and opening night celebrations kicked off. But every cloud has a silver lining; a little spontaneous, al fresco, mud wrestling cheered the crowd for a while and a high pressure system is expected to follow the front bringing building winds over the three day regatta with 25 knots on the last day. The race committee may even crack a smile if winds prevail throughout the event; last day of racing last year was cancelled through lack of wind.

Racing A will see Equation, Sotto Voce and Chippewa continue to battle it out for class and Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS) honours.

Racing B has pitted Richard Matthews' Corby 50 Flirt against new kid on the block Riot with new Farr 40 owner Marc Ewing on the helm and Terry Hutchinson calling the shots. Swan 56 Lolita has been thrown into this mix together with Noa 3 a Danish IMX 45.

The 21-boat racing C will see the final act of Cape Air CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) play out but the top slot in class could go to a non-CORT participant. While Antigua's Lost Horizon II is in pole position for Cape Air CORT honors and won this class last year, there are some other boats in contention for the BVI class crown.

Antigua's Caccia Alla Volpe, Mick Schlens and his chartered Express 37 Cosmic Warlord, Dutch J105 No Face To Face and one of the five Melges in this class could do well. Mick Schlens won this class in 2001 in his own Express 37 Blade Runner knocking Lost Horizon II into second place.

The burgeoning IC/24 class stands at 11 boats and some excellent one design racing is expected in this class with the likes of the BVI's Robby Hirst taking on Chris Rosenberg who has developed this class.

Racer/Cruiser A has fours Swan 48s ­ Wind Dancer, Celerity, Affinity and Tikdoo VII. St Maarten's Synergy is also in this class as is the Formula 1 Sailing Farr 65. Kinship, a Baltic 52, Vanish, a J/46, Peter von Danzig, a Nissen 55 and Jeanneau 52.2 Igoodia complete the class.

Racer/cruiser B will be the final battleground of the race season for BVI boats Cold Beer II and Pipedream. Pipedream needs 10 races and 10 points to win the racer/cruiser class of Cape Air CORT but has won the last two regattas in which it has competed against Cold Beer ­ the Puerto Rico International Regatta and International Rolex Regatta. Cold Beer won the first northern Caribbean, and very breezy, St Croix International Regatta.

On the non-spinnkaer course, cruising class will see BVI Tourist Board entry Team Italy, a Cigale 16, pitted against J/120 Jahazi - last year's second placer. Last year¹s winner Wildflower has moved to jib & main.

Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall will be trying its non-spinnaker rating in this class while 1st Away, Red Baron, Atlantic Harp, Balaju and two Beneteau 42s7s Natural Magic and Joie de Vie also join the fun.

Last year's Jib & Main winner Second Nature is up against tougher competition this year with Ron Noonan¹s Sabre 42 Wildflower joining this 12-boat class.

Bareboat classes A are B and 24- and 15-boat strong respectively. The multihull class is 7-boats strong with Richard Wooldridge's BVI trimaran Triple Jack returning to defend its title.

Beach cat spinnaker has Enrique Figueroa and Suzuki Movistar beating off the likes of the Glasers in their NACRA Formula 18 while Lolo Too and HF Mortgage Bankers will be vying for top slot in the non-spinnaker beach cat class.

Festival Ends With Pursuit Race For Nanny Cay Cup

After a day of Lay Day fun and frivolity at the Bitter End Yacht, sailing festival participants raced back to race headquarters for the BVI Spring Regatta, Nanny Cay Marina today. A pursuit race had them dog-legging in the North Sound, out of Colquhoun Reef, and then west to the finish off Nanny Cay.

28 boats started with Takalani, a Moorings 362 skippered by Mr du Preeze, leading the pack off the line at 10.00am. Last to start was Equation a full one hour and 38 minutes later. High winds met them on the start on and some decided to save their race sails for the next three days of racing. 20-25 knot squally winds and lumpy seas were the order of the day, "but they were not as lumpy as I've seen up there," said Nittan II owner Cameron MacColl.

Voyage 430 Endangered Species took line honours two hours and 30 minutes later and topped the three boat multihull division. Tom Mullen's Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall, which= started 15 minutes after Endangered Species, seized the day for monohulls finishing in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Sailing for the first time with a jib & main rating, Mullen and
crew were ninth off the start line this morning. With two other Antrim sailors onboard: Rolf Van Dissell from Belgium and Tom Montoya from the US West coast; and Peter Ratcliff from the BVI providing the local knowledge things came together for a pleased Tom Mullen who has been campaigning the Caribbean racing season. Peter covered a lot of ground to give Tom his win. They sailed from the North Sound over to the "Dogs" then crossed the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Ginger Island and then back across the channel to Tortola and a squall that gave them "a nice lift from Road Town to Nanny Cay". "It can't hold its rating upwind and it surpasses its rating downwind," said Mullen of the boat designed for one design and offwind racing.

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