Photo © Todd Van Sickle

Vela Veloce claims opening race

BVI Sailing Festival gets underway

Tuesday March 30th 2010, Author: Linda Phillips, Location: Virgin Islands

The day dawned with perfect conditions for the 46 boats racing in the Bitter End Cup, the first day’s racing of the 2010 BVI Sailing Festival.

Competing in four classes, the boats beat from Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola to the North Sound on the east end of Virgin Gorda. Boats and crews ranged from the sleek, sexy and professional to those who were just along for the fun of it, from the stripped out carbon Frers 44s to a Moorings 4700 towing a dinghy, making their way east to the finish line and the parties at the Bitter End Yacht Club.

Big winners today in the Racing class were Vela Veloce, Richard Oland’s new Southern Cross 52 taking first place, Defiance, a Martin 49 was second and only 17 seconds behind, BVI’s Three Harkoms placed third. Vladiimir Kulinichenko (better known as Kuli), tactician/driver for Three Harkoms described the raced as ‘benign’, with 11 to 16 knots of wind and very little chop.  “Going up the course, we tried to help the Bareboats  stay out of our way and avoid the tricky parts.," There was a big wind shadow around the Dogs and we told them to follow us and it paid off.  There was also a 20 degree wind shift going through Colquhoun Cut and we played it right.”  He went on to explain that due to the current, the big boats were favoured in today’s race.

 Somehow after three hours of racing Cayennita Grande, Tony Sanpere’s J/36, and Jack Desmond’s Swan 48 Affinity tied for first place in the Cruising class. Steve Schmidt’s Hotel California, the short rig Santa Cruz 70 took third.

 Regardless of leaving the dock this morning without a jib trimmer, Justin Barton sailing with Caribbean legend Presley King on Justice, a deep keel Beneteau Oceanis 473 took home the biggest prize in the Bareboat class. Second was claimed by Alistair Mcewan on Party of Four, a Moorings 515 and Jim Proctor, on Caribbean Soul, also a 515, finished third.

Sundowner, a Leopard 4700 skippered by Ron Boehm, placed first in the Multihull fleet. James Connor can brag that he placed second while towing a dinghy with the Moorings 4700 Captains Guide. The third boat in the class did not finish the race.

 Tomorrow it is layday at the Bitter End; dinghy racing for those inclined and snorkeling, sleeping, sunning, diving or whatever for those that are not.  On Thursday, the fleet races from North Sound to Nanny Cay competing for the Nanny Cay Cup.  When the fleet returns, the Regatta Village will be ready to rumble with food, drinks, live music and more.

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