Photo; Leighton King

Blue Peter wins into Norman Island

Racing continues in the BVI

Wednesday March 27th 2013, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Virgin Islands

Day Two of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival was blessed with ideal conditions for the Caribbean Insurers Island Invitational Race to Norman Island.

Bright sunshine and a gentle breeze provided sublime conditions for the pursuit race with faster boats chasing down earlier starters in a game of cat and mouse around the beautiful islands, south of Tortola.

In the Classic Class, the beautiful vintage sloop, The Blue Peter, skippered by Mathew Barker was the victor and first to finish into Norman Island, a fine effort from a yacht that is over 80 years old.

The Blue Peter skipper, Mathew Barker has been renovating the boat for many years. "We crossed the Atlantic in Blue Peter taking part in a classic race from Cascais to Barbados and we plan to go to several Caribbean regattas, the next stop will be St Barths, before we go onto Antigua."

The Racing Division was set a course around Peter Island to starboard and Pelican Island to port before finishing just off Norman Island. Other classes enjoyed a shorter course snaking between Pelican and Flannagan Island before the finish.

There was a close finish in the Racing Class with two boats overlapped through the finish line. Pasquale Leone's First 36.7 Hammertime II took the gun by a whisker from Marcus Chollerton-Brown's First 44.7, EH01.

From Ontario, Leone usually races there in Albacore dinghies: "That was great fun today, we started near the front of the pursuit and we knew there would be bigger faster boats chasing us down. I guess the significant point in the race was when we managed to lee-bow a competitor, slowing them down and giving us a kick forward. It is something we often do back home on Lake Ontario and it was just enough to get us to the line before EH01. This is my third visit to the BVI and I just love coming to Norman Island, it's a great spot to kick back after a day on the water."

Harry Robinson's First 40.7 Spirit of Venus was just ahead of Sophie Olivaud's all-French team on the J/109 Albacor IV to take the prize. The British Swan 51 Northern Child, skippered by Christian Reynolds, wasn't far behind in third.

Robinson has no less than eight girls on board the aptly-named boat: 'We are a charter boat and some of the crew have never sailed before, so it takes a couple of days to reach a good standard, so the relaxed style of the BVI Sailing Festival before the more competitive BVI Spring Regatta, really suits us. It was a real fight to get a win today and it has put so much confidence into the crew."

Friends and family joined over a hundred competitors for the beach party at Pirates where Regatta Director, Judy Petz officiated at the prize giving accompanied by Ruth Phillips and Brian Jermyn representing regatta sponsors, Caribbean Insurers Ltd.


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