April 2, 2017, Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Competitors in the 46th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta were only too happy to call it quits after one final race on Sunday when extremely light air made for very shifty and challenging conditions. Little breeze translated to a very hot day so a swim and a cold beer was the perfect race substitute for most of the 86-strong fleet. Final results in several classes came down to the wire in the last race: in CSA Racing 2, Chris Haycraft (BVI) racing on Pipedream took first in class by just half a point, beating Tony Mack (GBR) on Team McFly who has won the division for the past four years. In the IC 24 class, Frits Bus and Chuck Pessler racing on Island Water World Racing prevailed in a tie breaker with Aeropost.com skippered by Colin Rathbun.
Haycraft, Commodore of the Royal BVI Yacht Club said, “The beauty of this Regatta is that you are racing against boats you don’t know, so you don’t know how they are going to perform which makes it all the more interesting. I love meeting all the new people who come to BVI Spring Regatta; it’s just a great atmosphere. It’s also been enjoyable to see more of our local ex-pats visiting the event village to see what it is all about.”
In racing results, Peter Corr took first in CSA Racing 1 on his new boat Blitz, a King 40. Corr has previously sailed the event and for the past few years chartered a King 40 to race before deciding to purchase one. He loves his new boat and has been having fun optimizing it this past week. He was thrilled with his class win. “Today was super light air with the breeze shifting dramatically at the start and throughout racing,” Corr said. “We saw 2 knots at one point then as much as 8-9. The competition here this week has been really high level, you had to be on it and not let up for a minute. I love racing here, it’s just magical!”
Pipedream is a 32-year old boat so Haycraft is only too happy that it is still holding together to be able to win races, especially today’s race in which they took line honors in CSA Racing 2. “Not bad for the slowest and probably the oldest boat in the fleet,” Haycraft joked. “Today was about the wind clocking back to the left so it’s where we wanted to go. We found clean air, the boat likes light air so it was our conditions.” His crew did mention that five of them had to go below to sit on the keel for a while to manage weight…which of course was like sitting in a sauna in today’s heat. The things people do for a win…
It was a thrill to have the relatively new and very exciting C&C 30 class racing in a small but very competitive fleet. Don’t Panic, owned and skippered by Julian Mann from San Francisco racing just his fourth regatta, took first in class. “After last weekend in St Thomas, I feel like we came into Spring Regatta as the underdog,” Mann said. “We knew we were in controlling and potentially winning positions in St Thomas in virtually every race, but it seemed like we were racing ourselves. This week we’ve really put a lot of time and effort into fixing that and there are certainly more things to work on, but our improvement shows in the results which we’re really happy with.”
Avanti, the Hanse 43 skippered by Jeremi Jablonksi (USA) took first in Jib and Main, has raced BVI Spring Regatta at least four times, and Nanny Cay is the boat’s winter home. This week they had crew from their home town yacht club, Cedar Point YC on Long Island. “We sailed in a pretty large division with great sailors and super friendly competition,” Jablonski said. “It’s probably the friendliest regatta you can participate in! We’re beginning to feel like we have some local knowledge now and so we’ve been improving our performance over the years.” Jablonski added that they were excited to have two new people on board and to be able to introduce them to yacht racing.
Racing their second BVI Spring Regatta, In Bareboat 1, Subversive-JogFund, skippered by Warwick Dunnett (USA) took first, finishing with eights point. “An experienced San Francisco crew, stronger breeze and some good tactical decisions picking the favoured side of the course earlier in the series suited us and led to a very satisfying win,” Dunnett said. “Thanks to all the organizers!”
Bob Beltrano has done BVI Spring Regatta eight times and still considers it his favorite regatta. He previously raced the event on his former Swan 53 NAIA and this year for the first time chartered a boat winning CSA Bareboat 2 on the Sunsail 44i Pinel. “Racing was fantastic, we had a lot of good starts and our local knowledge helped us,” Beltrano said. “Today was about shifts so we were constantly looking up and down the course trying to stay out of currents upwind. We traded positions with Presley King on Bageal all week which made for exciting racing. I also enjoyed racing on a charter boat with insurance as my team likes to get into tight places, so this year they didn’t have to worry about the paint!”
In CSA Bareboat 3, Team Horizon racing their first Spring Regatta on Jitterbug, a Bavaria 37, took first in class. Skippered by Frank Rowsell from Devon, UK, the team has enjoyed racing with different guests on board each day. “The conditions yesterday with more wind suited us better so we made good on that,” Rowsell said. “Today we concentrated on boat speed to keep moving and we were keeping up with all the larger boats in our fleet. Our plan was just to keep mistakes to a real minimum, which we seemed to manage to do!”
In the IC 24 class, Frits Bus & Chuck Pessler from Island Water World Racing noted the competition was incredibly close, especially between his team and Aeropost.com. “Colin (Rathbun) is a very well-known match racer and we were battling the entire week; it was like our own match race,” Bus said, “Our boat speeds were about the same, we were constantly changing leads and were right next to each other at all the finishes – it was nerve wracking! Today was a bit light but we still had fun playing the shifts.” A Melges 24 sailor from St Maarten, Bus said he always enjoys the competition at Spring Regatta.
Piglet, the Teegall 2300 owned and skippered by Joe St Martin from St Croix, took first in CSA Multihull division. The Offshore Trimaran division was won by local BVI team on Triple Jack, the Kelsall 47 skippered by Richard Wooldridge. In the Offshore Multihull Division, the Gunboat 62 owned by Jason Carroll (USA) took first.
After racing today, the 2017 BVI Spring Regatta Awards Ceremony took place in the regatta village at Nanny Cay where winners from all classes and special prizes were presented by VIP guests, including the BVI Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith and Cameron McColl, Chairman of host marina, Nanny Cay.
Be sure to save the date for next year! 2018 BVI Spring Regatta: March 26 to April 1. Includes the new Full Moon Race, 64 islands, one brilliant night on March 27. Not to be missed. Stay tuned for more details: http://www.bvispringregatta.org/