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1 April 2004, 01:57 pm
Team USA Takes Inaugural Nations Challenge Cup
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© Alastair Abrehart

BVI Spring Regatta
Virgin Gorda

Continued light winds for the BVI Sailing Festival meant that the LayDay was fully embraced by participants as they scattered throughout the North Sound and beyond for a day of rest and recreation BVI-style.
However, while the Around Virgin Gorda Race was cancelled, the Nations Challenge Cup went ahead with five teams competing in light but enough wind for some close racing. The teams were divided into A and B teams with the B team racing four races in the morning and A four races in the afternoon.

Team UK emerged with the upper hand at the end of the morning' racing winning three out of four races under the guidance of Martin STARCH, the UK's Over-60s Fireball national champion.

However, Team UK saw their lead eroded in the afternoon as Team USA (Los Angeles) which comprised of Pyewacket crew also racked up three firsts followed by a second place to finish with a total of fifteen points while Team UK rounded out the day with 22 points.

Ben MITCHELL Pyewacket's keel canter helmed for Team USA (Los Angeles) in the morning while Bill Hardesty Pyewacket's strategist skippered Team A. Bill's recent claim to fame, in addition to winning the inaugural Nations Challenge Cup, is his elimination of Peter HOLMBERG in the early rounds of the Bermuda Gold Cup late last year - after a week of training and mentoring with Peter...

"It was a lot of fun to watch," said Peter REGGIO, ISAF International Race Officer and veteran America¹s Cup PRO (Principal Race Officer) who presided over the racing and is used to a little more action on the race course. "What was amazing was when they started racing with new crews in the boat in the morning or the afternoon they were really strung out. But as the learning curve got going they had some good racing towards the third and fourth races. They were actually packed together."

Final standings:
Team USA (Los Angeles) - 14 points
Team UK 22 points
Team Germany 25 points
Team USVI 25 points
Team USA (Great Lakes) 34 points

While Hardesty et al defended their national honour, the rest of the Pyewacket posse headed off to Anegada for a day of snorkeling while a number of faces from Equation were seen competing against each other in the Laser fleet.

A good sportsmanship postscript to the day's racing yesterday is that Roy E. DISNEY handed over the Bitter End Cup to Chippewa's Clay Deutsch after he discovered that notwithstanding the time limit, Chippewa had beaten them by two minutes on corrected time.

The Sailing Festival fleet races back to Nanny Cay tomorrow for the Nanny Cay Cup and with only seven of the twenty boats in the bareboat division finishing on the race to Bitter End on Tuesday, competition will be hot for The Moorings Sailing Festival Cup which will be awarded to the best performing bareboat in the Sailing Festival.

The three-day BVI Spring Regatta kicks off on Friday and takes place on the south side of Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on three different courses. The largest ever BVI Spring Regatta concluded last year with 138 boats.

For news, results and photos on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival as it unfolds, visit the official web site via the link below.

Alastair Abrehart (As Amended by ISAF)
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