At the close of registration on Thursday night, 139 boats had registered for the 32nd BVI Spring Regatta presented by Nanny Cay Marina, substantially beating the record set last year of 114; the increase was spread through a number of classes.
Bob Phillips, BVI Spring Regatta chairman said: "I was very pleased with the Sailing Festival turnout and now I even more pleased with this growth. When you consider that many other Caribbean regattas have dropped in numbers this year it's all the more pleasing for me and all the people that have been working on this event since last April. We've been evolving and listening to our visitors to ensure that we give them what they want and I think our efforts are paying off."
A cold front has been moving through the British Virgin Islands throughout the day dropping a lot of much-needed rain on the island. However, it was a little less welcome in the regatta village as the Mount Gay welcome party and opening night celebrations kicked off. But every cloud has a silver lining; a little spontaneous, al fresco, mud wrestling cheered the crowd for a while and a high pressure system is expected to follow the front bringing building winds over the three day regatta with 25 knots on the last day. The race committee may even crack a smile if winds prevail throughout the event; last day of racing last year was cancelled through lack of wind.
Racing A will see Equation, Sotto Voce and Chippewa continue to battle it out for class and Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS) honors.
Racing B has pitted Richard Matthews' Corby 50 Flirt against new kid on the block Riot with new Farr 40 owner Marc Ewing on the helm and Terry Hutchinson calling the shots. Swan 56 Lolita has been thrown into this mix together with Noa 3 a Danish IMX 45.
The 21-boat racing C will see the final act of Cape Air CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) play out but the top slot in class could go to a non-CORT participant. While Antigua's Lost Horizon II is in pole position for Cape Air CORT honors and won this class last year, there are some other boats in contention for the BVI class crown. Antigua's Caccia Alla Volpe, Mick Schlens and his chartered Express 37 Cosmic Warlord, Dutch J105 No Face To Face and one of the five Melges in this class could do well. Mick Schlens won this class in 2001 in his own Express 37 Blade Runner knocking Lost Horizon II into second place.
The burgeoning IC/24 class stands at 11 boats and some excellent one design racing is expected in this class with the likes of the BVI¹s Robby Hirst taking on Chris Rosenberg who has developed this class.
Racer/Cruiser A has fours Swan 48s Wind Dancer, Celerity, Affinity and Tikdoo VII. St Maarten¹s Synergy is also in this class as is the Formula 1 Sailing Farr 65. Kinship, a Baltic 52, Vanish, a J/46, Peter von Danzig, a Nissen 55 and Jeanneau 52.2 Igoodia complete the class.
Racer/cruiser B will be the final battleground of the race season for BVI boats Cold Beer II and Pipedream. Pipedream needs 10 races and 10 points to win the racer/cruiser class of Cape Air CORT but has won the last two regattas in which it has competed against Cold Beer the Puerto Rico International Regatta and International Rolex Regatta. Cold Beer won the first northern Caribbean, and very breezy, St Croix International Regatta.
On the non-spinnkaer course, cruising class will see BVI Tourist Board entry Team Italy, a Cigale 16, pitted against J/120 Jahazi - last year's second placer. Last year¹s winner Wildflower has moved to jib & main. Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall will be trying its non-spinnaker rating in this class while 1st Away, Red Baron, Atlantic Harp, Balaju and two Beneteau 42s7s Natural Magic and Joie de Vie also join the fun. Last year's Jib & Main winner Second Nature is up against tougher competition this year with Ron Noonan¹s Sabre 42 Wildflower joining this 12-boat class.
Bareboat classes A are B and 24- and 15-boat strong respectively. The multihull class is 7-boats strong with BVI trimaran Triple Jack returning to defend its title.