The second day of the BVI Spring Regatta was blessed with perfect sailing conditions and wonderful azure blue water, pumped up by 15 knots of warm tradewinds, blew through the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The British Virgin Islands offer stunning scenery and Mother nature has created one of the best racing areas anywhere in the world. In sharp contrast to the previous day’s survival conditions, tactics and strategy were far more important. Reading the wind and the current correctly were the keys to a good performance on the penultimate day of the BVI Spring Regatta.
BVI Spring Regatta Chairman, Bob Phillips explains the rational behind today’s three courses: “On Norman Course, the Bareboat, Jib & Main and Multihull Classes had a downwind start towards The Cut, the narrow gap between Tortola and St. John. I would have been heading directly down the rhumb line – straight shot. My take was that the current was flowing towards the destination, and the back eddy off Towers Point was definitely worth avoiding. The One Design Course is two miles off Nanny Cay. The issue that we have is that we want them to sail in clear air and tactically they need two miles of width. Offshore the boats get away from the land effect, but we have enough room in the Channel so that the One Design Course doesn’t overlap the others. Today the CSA Racing Classes beat all the way up to Beef Island Bluff, playing the Tortola shoreline, including the harbour and headlines all the way up, which was a lot of fun. After that they reached around Salt and were downwind all the way to the finish.”
In CSA Racing 1, Ola Hox’s TP52, Team Varg/Conviction won the first two races of the day, putting pressure on class leader, Steve & Heidi Benjamin’s HP40, Spookie. However Spookie fought back to take the last race, to retain the class lead, but only on countback. Stefan Jentzsch’s Carkeek 47, Black Pearl tore a spinnaker on day one, but today the all-carbon, German flyer had a consistent day scoring a trio of podium finishes to lie third overall.
In CSA Racing 2, Tony Mack’s J/122, Team McFly / El Ocaso scored two firsts and a second to take a commanding lead in the class. Peter Corrs First 40, Corr’s Light Racing/Southern Child drops to second place. Rupert & Jan Thouron’s J/122 Dunder had an excellent day winning the first race and scoring two second places to move up to third in class.
The Melges 32 and IC24 classes enjoyed an intense battle over four races today. In the IC24 Class defending champion, Colin Rathbun, racing Tortola Express was in dominant form, winning all four races to open up a 10 point lead. The two young guns; Jason Putley’s Tortolan team on CYM/INTAC and Tyler Rice’s St.Thomas team on Bill T, both faltered in the first race of the day, but recovered to be equal on points in the race for second place.
The Melges 32 class was an extraordinary sight today, fizzing downhill in close formation with white water hissing and foaming at the rail. Luis Juarbe’s Soca and Jaime Torres’ Smile and Wave are now locked on points for the lead. Sergio Sagramoso’s Lazy Dog was sporting an aluminium spreader (fashioned on the dock) after yesterday’s carnage. Lazy Dog won the first race and is placed third in class with one day to go.
Two bullets for Scarlet Oyster in CSA Performance Cruising 1 have put the British Oyster 48 into a commanding position. Skipper Ross Appelbey commented dockside: “We only have six on board, so we have needed to alter our manoeuvres and setup to accommodate this, but I really think it is now working to our advantage. All of the crew are involved all of the time and I think that has really increased the concentration level. Today, we got a couple of wind shifts spot on, which put us in good positions. The weather today was just fantastic; it is why we all come to the Caribbean – a very happy day on Scarlet Oyster.”
After two days of racing, congratulations should go to the two teams that remain unbeaten in the BVI Spring Regatta; Bareboat 1- Charles Garrard’s Team Merlin from the Boston Yacht Club, which won the class in 2013 and in CSA Multihull 1 – Trimaran, Triple Jack, skippered by Ryan Wooldridge, who began sailing with his Father and Mother on board, even before he was born.
Cameron McColl, Chairman of Nanny Cay was racing with his wife Gail on board Triple Jack. “It is rare that we both get out racing. We had a great day; at one point we were flying along at 18 knots,” commented Cameron. “Watching the fleet enjoying a superb day on the water was a joy. You get a great perspective of the beauty of these islands, especially as the courses took us outside the Channel. Over the past few days there has been a great atmosphere which is very rewarding to the hard working team at Nanny Cay.”
Racing at the 44th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival comes to a conclusion tomorrow (Easter Sunday). This evening, the Regatta Village is expected to be standing room only for the Bastanaak Swimwear Show and later, music from well-known Tortolan band, Quito and the Edge who will be playing some soulful reggae melodies along with hard-hitting dance grooves.