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6 April 2003, 08:43 am
Day Two
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BVI Spring Regatta
Tortola

The anticipated high pressure bringing sun and winds was usurped by a low-pressure system that developed north east of Puerto Rico and is travelling south east.
The overcast and 18 knot conditions deteriorated into thunder, lightning, downpours, squalls and then a progressively dying breeze.

However, Principal Race Officer (PRO) Peter Reggio managed to get another 19 races started on the spinnaker course. "I'm just back from running an event where there was wind speed minimum," he said referring to the Louis Vuitton Cup where he was PRO, "and now I'm thinking about suggesting a sun minimum," he joked as he stepped ashore. "But it was a good day. We got in four races for the beach cats and three for the other classes. We had enough time to run one more but people were getting cold and tired. It was wet but a great day's racing."

Organizers had planned to send the boats from the non-spinnaker course out to the picturesque Sandy Cay and Jost Van Dyke while the Big Boats in racing A were slated for a race round Tortola. However, weather conditions, particularly the relatively large NE swell, put paid to that idea this morning.

Racing C saw some extremely close racing in its first race today. Olson 30 Fastidiots, a BVI boat racing for the first time this season after a hiatus, won by one second on corrected time with 2 Contact Carib and Magnificent 7 tying for second place. Places one to six spanned only 25 seconds. Lost Horizon II, back after its repairs last night, had a day of highs and lows recording an 11th place after a series of broaches in the first race, and then two first places. This race saw yet another tie, this time between Fastidiots and Cosmic Warlord.

In racing A Sotto Voce continued to dominate with three bullets but Chippewa did get close in the first race only 17 seconds behind.

Caccia Alla Volpe found its form today and racked up two firsts and a second place. Farr 40 Riot got the other first place and two seconds. Lolita ended up with three third places but continues to lead the class by three points.

UK Swan 48 Celerity reveled in the 'English weather' and bulleted racing B and is now a full 11 points ahead of second placer Igoodia, a Jeanneau 52.2. "We were on the pace today. We had good starts and our number one up," said skipper Stuart Robinson.

Racer/Cruiser B saw delighted owners of Dehlerious, Bungie and Di Flynn, whooping for joy as they notched up their first ever win in their Dehler 34 bought in November.

"In the rain, we went right and they [Cold Beer and Pipedream] went left," said Bungy. "We had fantastic spinnaker sets and drops and didn't really make any mistakes," added Di. But it was close. Lazy Dog, a Beneteau First 40.7, was also in the mix and was only nine seconds behind while Cold Beer was only five seconds behind her. Dehlerious was second in the first two races and has been getting progressively faster as the Caribbean season has progressed.

The three BVI boats of Cold Beer, Pipedream and Dehlerious won a race each today. Pipedream pipped Dehlerious by two seconds in the first race of the day and Cold Beer took the second race with a margin of 20 seconds. Barring any unfortunate incidents, Cold Beer looks favorite to win this class tomorrow together with the racer/cruiser class in Cape Air CORT.

Minutes into the first race of the day Nissen 55 Peter von Danzig lost the upper portion of its mast. The forestay broke and the mast snapped at the upper shrouds the third break in the mast's life so far.

Crowley Shipping bulleted the two races in the IC/24 class today. Brothers Robby and Mike Hirst are on the boat. "He waggles the stick and I pull the ropes," said Mike. Barney Crook, one-time BVI resident and owner of Melges 24 Airgasm, is also guesting on the boat. No Expectations is second and Green Boat is third.

Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall bested Beneteau 40.7 1st Away in the cruising class leaving Wildflower, which normally finds itself up against Jerry Ficks' KIS, third.

In Jib & Main Second Nature's third place could be attributed to the bolt from the blue it received. "It was an electrifying race," said skipper Bill Bailey. The lightning bolt headed down the forestay and backstay. Crew on the rail got zapped but Bailey received a bigger jolt as the bolt jumped the gap and hit the wheel. "I had sparks coming out of my fingers," he said. There were other reports of lightning strikes but the numbers seemed to increase the longer crews stayed in the bar. However, there does appear to have been at least two other strikes.

Testing times were had on the non-spinnaker course. While Reggio, running the spinnaker course, was able to delay starts while he waited for a squall and 30-degree shift to pass, competitors on the non-spinnaker course were in the middle of the race when it hit. Visibility dropped to 800 yards and no one could see the marks. Richard Wooldridge, skipper of trimaran Triple Jack rounded a jibe mark as the squall hit: "It was a crazy race. After we jibed we were pinned on a port tack and heading to Flanagan island. With 30 knots apparent we couldn't tack or reef the main. We were sailing with our main flogging and blowing our foghorn. When it cleared we were at the windward mark. Full marks to the committee for keeping the race going."

Bahia 46 Manana topped the multihull class for the second day with other skippers in the class questioning the rating.

Steve Martin and his Add To Life crew won Bareboat A and are now on top of the leader board for the class. Luzula won Bareboat B while yesterday's winner Next Best Thing was third. Something Hot was second. Luzula leads the class by one point with Next Best Thing second.
Alastair Abrehart
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