With the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival only 33 days away, work continues apace on one of the pre-eminent regattas in the Caribbean. The new beach for the regatta village has been completed at Nanny Cay and the entrance to its marina is now 14ft.
An Around Virgin Gorda Race has been announced for the LayDay of the Sailing Festival and seven out of eight possible teams are confirmed for the inaugural Nation's Challenge Cup.
New Beach At Nanny Cay
Big boats will be docking together and competitors will be partying with sand between their toes in six weeks time following the completion of the new beach. Regatta host and presenting sponsor Nanny Cay Marina dredged the marina to 14 feet and created a new beachfront for the regatta village for the thirty-third outing of this popular Caribbean regatta.
The deeper access will allow many, if not all, of the big boats expected the ability to dock at the heart of the regatta's shore side activities.
This new area is larger than the existing regatta village site 'further inland' and the additional space will provide an ample 'dinghy park' for the beach cats and plenty of room for a new and improved regatta village.
Nanny Cay has a two-year plan to develop the premiere event facility in the British Virgin Islands which includes creating permanent booths for vendors, bars and restaurants, running power throughout the area and building a permanent sound stage. Although all the initiatives will not be in place for this year's event, competitors will see a marked improvement of the infrastructure over previous years together with the beach frontage.
Watch regatta developments with Nanny Cay's webcam
Lay Day Around Virgin Gorda Race Announced
On the Sailing Festival LayDay - Wednesday 31 March 2004 - the Bitter End Yacht Club will be hosting an Around Virgin Gorda Race. While not formally part of the BVI Spring Regatta scoring, this race will be open to all Sailing Festival and Spring Regatta competitors. According to the Bitter End's John GLYNN, "We've injected one more very scenic distance race to the schedule to allow the bigger boats to stretch their legs."
The highly tactical Around Virgin Gorda Race is approximately 24 miles, and will provide for some stunning spinnaker runs down the backside of the island. A number of maxi+ raters, such as the new Pyewacket, transatlantic record holder Mari Cha IV, sleds Equation and Titan, and IMS giant AERA, are expected to race. Early reservations are recommended and potential participants should contact John Glynn at the Bitter End Yacht Club.
As an aside John added. "People that are planning on doing the Sailing Festival portion (as it looks like many are), and don't plan on sleeping aboard, should begin the process of securing accommodations up in North Sound. Rooms at Bitter End, Saba Rock, and Leverick Bay are going quickly."
Nation's Challenge Cup On Track
Seven teams are now confirmed to battle it out on the waters of the North Sound in Virgin Gorda for top honours in the first annual Nation's Challenge Cup also scheduled to take place on the Sailing Festival LayDay.
While some sailors may be "laying" about during the Layday of the second annual BVI Sailing Festival and precursor to the BVI Spring Regatta, teams from the USA, Great Britain, Italy, France, Puerto Rico, the BVI and the USVI will be flying their national flags.
The Sailing Festival Nation's Challenge Cup, is open to two-boat teams representing their country of entry.
The event will be sailed in the Bitter End Yacht Club's new fleet of Hunter 216s. With two flights, the "B" teams will race in the morning, and the "A" teams will race in the afternoon. Four races will be sailed in each flight with the boats swapped after each race. Crew weight per boat will be no more than 675 lbs.
There is one team slot left and the entry fee is $100 and includes boat usage and backstay national flag.
The 2004 Sailing Festival - a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta - starts on Monday, March 29 with a welcome party at Nanny Cay. Three days of destination cruising, racing and Layday fun including the Nation's Challenge Cup, lead up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday, April 2. The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands. The inaugural Sailing Festival introduced this year saw 38 boats.
The three-day regatta 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 this year with 138 boats.
Visitors can fly to the British Virgin Islands through San Juan, Puerto Rico with American Airlines, Caribbean Sun and Cape Air. Air 2000 has direct flights into nearby St Thomas; a scenic 40-minute ferry journey across to Tortola completes the journey. Flights are also available through Antigua and Barbados on Virgin Atlantic and British Airways and BWIA.
For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including the complete 2003 results and photos, visit the official web site at the address below. For more information on Nanny Cay Marina visit their website at the address below.