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29 March 2006, 11:31 am
Race One Starts Slow And Ends Fast
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BVI Sailing Festival 2006
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day One of the British Virgin Islands Sailing Festival, the low pressure warm up to the BVI Spring Regatta, started off looking like a bust. However the winds picked up to provide an exciting opening race. which bodes well for the week ahead.
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Before the start of the race, the course was shortened, sending the boats directly from Nanny Cay to Bitter End, by passing a mark at the Baths and several islands off the north coast of Virgin Gorda. The race committee started the three classes in five knots of breeze but as the boats approached the western end of Virgin Gorda a squall rolled in kicking the winds up to approximately 20 mph.

David BRENNEN, Principal Race Officer for the event, remarked, 'Equation crossed the finish line at the beginning of the squall line. Boats had to change gears and sails as they power reached in a driving rain into the finish line. The big boats were fun to watch.'

In the racing class, Equation took line honours finishing more than 26 minutes in front of the next boat but it was the second boat across the line, DSK Comifin, raced by Danilo SALSI (ITA), that won the first place Bitter End Cup. Highlife, a Ker 11.3, sailed by Peter ROGERS and Roger DUCKWORTH (GBR), placed second, and Bill ALCOTT's (USA) Andrews 68, Equation, placed third.

Jeroboam Impresses Amongst The Cruisers

Jeroboam CA NOVA, Vittorio CODECASA's (ITA) Swan 45, placed first finishing almost two minutes ahead of last year's first place finisher, Tom MULLEN's (USA) J/120, Shamrock. Stay Calm, a Swan 70, sailed by Stuart ROBINSON (GBR), took the third place spot.

There were few surprises in the Bareboat fleet with DUNBAR, the 2005 big winner, sailing Andrea Betty-Lee, a Moorings 44.3, finishing first. He was followed by In Harmony, sailed by Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR), a double Olympic gold medallist and 2000 ISAF World Sailor of the Year, and a Beneteau 52, Rob Swain Sailing School.

The big question of everybody's mind is, 'What is the weather going to do?' Yesterday was overcast with little wind except in the squall lines. Most agree that the BVI may be in for a little more rain before the weekend but predictions differ as to how much wind the main event, the BVI Spring Regatta, from 31 March-2 April, will have.

National Competition

Today is the official LayDay at Bitter End. The third annual Nations' Challenge Cup in which teams take part on a 'first come first served basis' to represent their country will take place. The event will be sailed in the Bitter End Yacht Club's 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. Team USA, comprised of Pyewacket crew headed by Ben MITCHELL (USA), won the inaugural event and last year it was Team Ireland.

On Thursday, the boats will be racing for the Nanny Cay Cup, returning to Nanny Cay in time for registration for the main event, the 2006 BVI Spring Regatta. Registration will be open from 1200-1800 local time and the Regatta Village will officially open with the annual Mount Gay Welcome Party from 1630-1830 and entertainment throughout the evening.

The BVI Spring Regatta racing will take place 31 March- 2 April on the south side of Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on four different courses.

The BVI Spring Regatta is presented by Nanny Cay Marina and is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association. The BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor; The Moorings, Heineken, Mount Gay Bitter End, First Caribbean International Bank, CCT Global Communications and the Sol Group are Gold sponsors; Highland Spring Natural Mineral Water and Maui Jim Sunglasses are Silver sponsors and Fujifilm is a Bronze sponsor.

Linda PHILLIPS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from day one:© Broadsword Communications
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