Thirty-eight boats hit the start line at 10:05 this morning with all three classes - racing, multihull and bareboat - starting together. Despite some enthusiastic barging and yelling on the crowded start line there were no incidents and no protests.
The majority of the fleet hugged the coast as they beat up the south side of Tortola and then, via The Dogs, continued their way from Beef Island Bluff to Prickly Pear Island and Colquhoun Reef, the entrance to Virgin Gorda¹s North Sound. A short beat from the channel markers found the finish line off Bitter End Yacht Club and Bill Alcott¹s Andrews 68 Equation was first over the line with a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 33 seconds.
"It¹s what the islands are about, get them started and get them racing. Perfect weather and they started on time. No-one was over, perfect," said Peter Reggio, principal race officer for the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival.
Attendance at this new three-day precursor to the BVI Spring Regatta surpassed expectations. "We really had no idea how many boats would show up," said Bob Phillips, race committee chairman. "We knew the Sailing Festival was a good concept and thought that ten to fifteen boats would be a nice number, so of course we're extremely pleased with this turn out. It¹s a great start to a great week of sailing in the British Virgin Islands."
The biggest contributor to this larger than expected turnout was the 20-boat racing fleet. There were fifteen bareboats and three boats in the multihull fleet.
When the results were tallied Equation had won the race beating Cosmic Warlord, an Express 37 chartered from the Bitter End Yacht Club, by one minute and 35 seconds. Swan 48 Affinity was third, one minute and 37 seconds behind Cosmic. Equation sailed with six tacks to Beef Island bluff followed by a further six to the cut through Colquhoun reef "making sure they stayed in deep water". "I¹m so glad to be here," said Alcott at the prize giving. "When you live in Michigan where it¹s dull and cold six months of the year, it¹s good to be here.
"But that bit," he said pointing out towards the channel through Colquhoun Reef, "had me sweating," he said. Unfortunately for him, and perhaps the rest of the fleet, they will be racing back out through the cut in the pursuit race back to race headquarters for the BVI Spring Regatta on Thursday.
San Francisco sailor Mike Schlens has returned to the BVI Spring Regatta for the second time. He last visited in 2001 when he won the highly competitive racing II class in his own Express 37 Blade Runner; he knocked Antigua¹s Lost Horizon II into the very rare position of second.
Dot Com, a Moorings 463 and first over the line in the bareboat division, was also victorious on corrected time with Black Hole second and the BVI Tourist Board entry Team Europe third. Both these boats are rated higher than Dot Com and in theory should have beaten them over the line. Endangered Species topped the multihull division with Cover Shot second and Manana third.
Today sees a day of fun a frivolity as the BVI Sailing Festival Lay Day kicks off at the Bitter End Yacht Club.
"The Coconut Man Triathlon will be the highlight of this action packed day. " Says Gord-O Overing, Bitter End¹s activities director. "The event will start at Mo Ryan¹s Pub, where athletes can hydrate before the event begins. Teams will be made up of two members, one male and one female. The participants will sprint to the watersports beach, jump on to a Hobie Wave, Le Mans-style, and sail around Prickly Pear Island. Teams will hand-off their Hobies and grab a double kayak." continues Gord-O. "A brisk paddle up to the north end of the property will follow. Competitors will beach the kayaks, and then traverse the challenging 500-foot Biras Hill via the now-legendary Guy¹s Trail. The race finishes back at the Pub where hydration of another sort will no doubt take place. It should be a blast!"
Other planned activities include snorkeling trips, one-design dinghy (Laser) and keelboat (Rhodes 19) racing, as well as simply "power lounging by the pool" sipping a cocktail.
Thursday will see the pursuit race back to Nanny Cay for the Nanny Cap Cup and the 32nd BVI Spring Regatta starts Friday morning.