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30 March 2007, 11:59 am
Sailors Battle The Elements For Nanny Cay Cup
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BVI Sailing Festival 2007
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Battling the elements of light air and rain, sailors beat their way back to Nanny Cay in the last leg of the BVI Sailing Festival. Although the Race Committee was able to start the Nanny Cay Cup in 5 knots of breeze, there were some wicked holes on the course and only one boat finished within the time limit, Tuesday's Bitter End Cup winner, Dark and Steamy.
Although given the prevailing breeze, the money would have been for the fleet to coast downhill from Bitter End to Nanny Cay, instead, what little wind there was, shifted from the northeast to the southwest. Bob PHILLIPS, Chairman of the BVI Sailing Festival remarked, 'This year the boats beat up to Bitter End and back. It was only two years ago when we had just he opposite situation, and boats sailed downwind up and then downwind back to Nanny Cay. I guess that makes us even now.'

Behind Dark and Steamy everyone else in the Racing class was awarded second place. In the Bareboat and Cruising divisions, no one finished before the time limit expired.

Weather is on everyone's mind. At this point, predictions call for more wind on Friday, 11-15 knots, with some rain. Even more wind and less rain are predicted for Saturday and Sunday.

With registration now closed, organizers can safely give a relatively accurate number of participating boats. With a total of 146 entries, there are 40 sailing on the Cooper Course, ranging in size from the notable Volvo Ocean Race champ, ABN AMRO ONE, to J/24s. The Norman Course has six classes with a total of 70 boats. The One Design Course has 34 total between the Laser, IC 24 and Beachcat classes.

ABN AMRO ONE Prepares

Today ABN AMRO ONE, winner of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race could be seen out training in Sir Francis Drake Channel in preparation for the 2007 BVI Spring Regatta. Skipper Brad JACKSON (NZL) commented, 'We're really looking forward to competing in the BVI Spring Regatta this weekend. It's a fantastic sailing venue and hopefully, with the right weather conditions, we can show everyone here what this boat can do. The fastest speed ABN AMRO ONE recorded during the Volvo Ocean Race was 42.6 knots, sailing across the Atlantic just near the end of the race. I'm not sure we'll reach that here in the Caribbean but if we get some good breeze, the racing should be great.'

One of the biggest areas of growth for the regatta is the Laser class. This year, there is a Trinidadian contingent of five young men, ages 14-17, who have travelled with their coach for the regatta. They were so wet when they arrived to Nanny Cay in the pouring rain yesterday that it was joked that they swam here. When it was clearly too wet that evening for their tents to be pitched, Nanny Cay, the event host, provided rooms for the night.

Sailors have come from throughout the world to participate in this event, hailing ports are from throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Given that this is the year that ISAF is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival joins with countless other sailing organizations and events from throughout the world to mark this momentous occasion.

Different Course For Saturday

Tomorrow, the fleet of 146 boats will be on three different courses in the Sir Frances Drake Channel. The Norman course will provide Bareboat A and B, Jib and Main, Performance Cruising A and B, and large Multihull classes round the islands/tour racing. On the Cooper course, the race officer will have the choice to send the five Racing classes round the buoys or around the islands. The one design course will be the closest to shore and will host the IC24s, Lasers, and Beachcats sailing as many as eight races a day.

BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival encompass two great events. The 2007 Sailing Festival - a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta - started on Monday 26 March with a welcome party at Nanny Cay. Three days of destination cruising, racing and lay day fun, including the Nation's Challenge Cup, led up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday 30 March. The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a weeklong sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands.

Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas. The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, CCT Global Communications, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken, The Moorings, Mount Gay, and SOL.

Linda Phillips (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from the Bitter End Cup:© Yacht Shots BVI
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