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24 March 2005, 09:41 am
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BVI Spring Regatta
Tortola, Britis Virgin Islands

With the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival presented by Nanny Cay Marina (28 March - 3 April) only a few days away, approximately half of the expected fleet has now signed up online. Seventy entries ranging from the big boats like the 75-foot Titan XII and 68-foot Equation to Laser sailors and Formula Windsurfers racing at the regatta for the first time on the one-design course have signed up.
So far there is a good spread across all the classes and a typical mix of boats for a Caribbean regatta. Seventeen knots of breeze are forecast for the first day of racing in the Sailing Festival on Tuesday March 29 that will see competitors racing from Nanny Cay to the Bitter End for the Bitter End Cup. Similar winds are expected for the downwind ride back two days later for the Nanny Cay Cup and The Moorings Sailing Festival Cup for best performing bareboat in the two races.

Nations' Challenge Cup

Five team slots are still available for the second annual Nations' Challenge Cup which will take place on the LayDay (30 March) of the Sailing Festival in the North Sound.

The event is open to a maximum of eight two-boat teams flying their national flags. With two flights, the 'B' teams race in the morning, and the 'A' teams race in the afternoon. Four races are sailed in each flight with the boats swapped after each race. The event will be sailed in the Bitter End Yacht Club's fleet of Hunter 216s and a maximum crew weight of 675 lbs is allowed.

The inaugural Nations Challenge Cup took place in light wind with some close racing. Sailing in the matched fleet of Hunter 216s, 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 SCARTH, 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 headed by Ben MITCHELL 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.

BVI Spring Regatta

While final class allocations are still far from complete Swans Vixen and Hissar/Lolita, a 45 and 56 respectively, will be playing out another battle in class B after their recent tussle in St Maarten's Heineken Regatta and will be joined by IMX 45 Temptress, Farr 36 Stray Dog and Celtic V, a Frers 45 from the Dominican Republic.

John FOSTER's Magnificent 7 from the US Virgin Islands will be aiming for a win in Class C after his second place last year. Swan 44 Crescendo returns to defend Class E and Mort WEINTRAUB's Beneteau First 40.7 1st Home will be seeking to topple her having fallen five points shy in the seven race series last year.

The multihull fleet will see old rivalries rekindled with Piglet and Charis from St Croix and Tryst from St Maarten already entered. The BVI's recently re-launched and blister-free Triple Jack will be seeking to attain local dominance and beat Tryst after her three-point defeat in St Maarten.

In the IC-24 class John HOLMBERG returns to defend his title in this highly competitive Caribbean one design class. Last year this class banged through twelve races in two days and this year the Hirst brothers, homegrown in the BVI, are out to turn the tables on Holmberg.

Two of the BVI's top windsurfers have signed up for the inaugural Formula Windsurfing event including Olympic hopeful Chad EMMANUEL. The Dominican Republic's top windsurfer with a number of overseas titles, Pablito GUZMAN, is on the board.

Racing Seminar

For those looking for a little extra advantage, Island Surf & Sail will be holding a Pro Clinic Tune Up for Laser sailors and windsurfers on Thursday, 31 March at 15:30. The session will be held at the Surf Shak at Nanny Cay. To sign up contact Owen WATERS, Chairman of the Boards, on + (284) 494 0123 or e-mail owen@surfandsailbvi.com

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is billed as 'seven days of fun with two great events in one'. The expanded seven-day format introduced in 2003 has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands. Three days of destination cruising, racing and Lay Day fun, in, around, to and from Virgin Gorda's enclosed North Sound starting 28 March lead up to the main three-day regatta starting on Friday 1 April. The three-day regatta takes place on the south side of Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on three different courses.

For full details on the 2005 BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival and the complete coverage of 2004 event, visit the official web site via the link below.

Alastair Abrehart (As Amended by ISAF), Image: 2004 Nations Challenge Cup Action, © Alastair Abrehart
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