Once again, it was a picture perfect day in the British Virgin Islands for the last day of racing of the BVI Spring Regatta, with sun and wind all day long. There were a number of battles out on the race course which were fought to the very end providing plenty of action on the SOL, Norman and LIME One Design Race areas.
It was a given that Tom Hill sailing Titan XV would take the top spot in Racing A. With five firsts and two seconds, they ended the series three points ahead of Vela Veloce, Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Hill is always gracious. On stage he thanked the organisation and said: “I look forward to sailing BVI every year. I race up north in the rain and cold and I love coming to the BVI.”
Bad Girl, St. Croix's Rob Armstrong's J/100, sparred with the BVI's Dave West's Melges 32 Jurakan all weekend in Racing C. "In the first race today," said Bad Girl trimmer, Carlos Skov. "We definitely let Jurakan back in the game. Just one point separated us. The second race, we put our heads down, sailed well and ended up beating the two Melges in the last five minutes. It was like that all weekend. The level of competition has really come up and we think its because we all push each other."
Jurakan finished second in the class, while St Maarten's Christopher Marshall's Melges 24 Budget Marine/Gill ended third.
With only one point separating first through third place in Bareboat A, it’s not surprising the standings were turned upside down on the last day of racing. Tony Mack’s second place finish with Re-Joyce put him at the front of the pack. BVI Yacht Charters dropped from first to second and Toodles dropped from second to third. Justin Barton’s first with Justice today was not enough to get him into the overall winners’ circle.
Over the three days of racing, each of the top four boats in the nine-boat class swapped the lead.
"We were tied for second on points going into the last race," said Mack, who has raced with friends and family in the BVI Spring Regatta for many years. "In the last race, we finished second and BVI Yacht Charters got a third. So, we beat them by scoring higher." Mack and his crew have sailed off with the winner's trophy in the past. But this year, he says, "there's no question we had to work hard for it."
This year marks the debut of the International Yacht Club Challenge. Three teams, one representing the Royal BVI Yacht Club, one from Puerto Rico and one from Boston took the challenge and each raced new Jeanneau 42’s. The Puerto Rico club sailing on Pelican Pat not only won the Challenge, but also won the Bareboat B Class in which the yacht club boats raced with eleven other boats.
"It was great to be able to have a chance to win our class and win the Challenge," said Puerto Rico skipper, Gustavo Pinto. The Puerto Rican team traded first place standings in the class with the Boston Yacht Club sailors throughout the weekend and were one point behind the Northeast US team going into today's racing.
"We knew there was only one race today and we had to beat them, so we just stayed focused," said Pinto. We'll be back to defend our title next year. This is definitely the start of something good and has really raised the standard of the bareboat class."
Perelandra, a Beneteau Oceanis 361, from the Rob Swain Sailing School finished second in class, while the Boston Yacht Club finished third and second in the Yacht Club Challenge. The Royal BVI Yacht Club's entry A Million Vacations ended 9th in the class and third in the Challenge.
As usual, the most intense, nail-biting finish came from the IC 24 course. It came down to the final rounding of the leeward mark in the last of 21 races to determine the winner in the IC-24 class. "I saw the door open and I took it," says Puerto Rico's Fraito Lugo, about the manoeuvre that put the necessary three boats in-between his Orion and closest competitor, Team Lime, to win the class by one point.
Team Lime, sailed by the BVI's Colin Rathbun, had a three-point advantage going into the last race. "We had a horrible rounding and then a big shift," says Rathbun, who finished second by one point. "But, it was exciting and a lot of fun."
Intac, raced by the BVI's Mark Plaxton, finished third in the nine-boat class.
One of the most coveted prizes for the local sailors is the award sponsored by the Premier for the Best BVI Boat. This year it was awarded to Kevin Rowlette who took seven bullets in the Racing Class D’s seven race series. “The conditions favoured us, it’s Olson 30 weather, in the middle," said Rowlette. We’re scratch boat in our class which is favourable, we’re out sailing ahead of people, not having to duck, crash tack. We don’t have to look out for other boats or worry about where you are on the start line, we just go where we need to be. We had a great weekend last weekend at Rolex. It made us feel good coming into it; we were optimistic, hoping we were going to do well.”
Full results here
The BVI Spring Regatta is the last race in the CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) Series. Winners of the series are as follows-
Spinnaker A: 1. Bad Girl, 2. Soca, 3. Rushin Rowlette
Spinnaker B: 1. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, 2. Magnificent 7
Performance Cruising: 1. Cayennita Grande, 2. Bonne Chance
Racer Cruiser: 1. Pipedream, 2. Shamrock
Jib & Main: 1. Hotel California, 2. Mary Ellen
IC24: 1. Lime