The downwind race today that brought participants back from Virgin Gorda to Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola, saw the fleet weaving through some of the outlying islands on the south side of Tortola; it turned into a race lasting up to six hours for some of the smaller cruisers and bareboats.
In the cruiser class Russell STEINER's Genesis was first over the line but the win, and the overall prize, went to Tom MULLEN's J/120 Shamrock V. Celestial Zephyr valiantly brought up the rear finishing six hours after she started.
For Justin BARTON on Justice it was another win in Bareboat A with Dunbar on Dot Com second. Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR) and her crew started to find form today and placed third in their Moorings 494 Salaway. Team Germany topped Bareboat B.
134 yachts, Lasers and windsurfers have entered the 34th annual BVI Spring Regatta to take place this weekend. They will be spread between three courses and twelve classes.
The 'big boats' Titan XII and Equation have been merged into Racing B and will be up against the likes of Edgar CATO's Hissar and Bill DOCKSER's Zingala - both Swan 56s. Based on their CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) ratings Titan will be giving these Swans between sixteen and seventeen minutes in an hour-long race and will have her work cut out. A posse of boats that are working their way around the Caribbean race circuit will be joining them including Stray Dog, Vixen, Temptress and Celtic V.
In racing C, the Joubert Nivelt 40 Mermaid II will be racing again after a year on the hard. She is under the new ownership of Geoffrey PIDDUCK and carrying the Antiguan flag. Whilst PIDDUCK and crew shake the boat down, they will be up against the strong teams of Crescendo and Cosmic Warlord who, both having won their classes last year, have been thrown into the ring together this year. The first Bulgarian entry to hit BVI shores, Vasil BEYAZOV's Bull 9000 Push the Tempo joins this class too.
Racing D is the 'Caribbean class' for this year. BVI Melges 24 Mistress Quickly will be looking to top her recent Rolex win but will be toughing it out against a strong cast of players from throughout the Caribbean. The US Virgin Islands' Paul STOEKEN, in a breakaway move from the IC24 fleet will be sailing One Love with a spinnaker in this class.
In Bareboat A, previous class winners and local sailors Cassian GLASGOW and Kenneth POWELL will be hunting the honours in Bareboat A while Phil OTIS, who collected a lot of trophies throughout the Caribbean last year, has returned with a new boat, Gitana, a Beneteau Oceanis 423, which was fresh out of the box at the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten.
The racer/cruiser, performance cruising, jib & main and multihull classes round out the classes on the Copper and Norman courses.
The BVI Spring Regatta will be the last major battleground for the IC24s for a while. Twelve of these Caribbean-grown one-design boats will be racing - most by their owners, but with a couple of charters thrown in like lambs to the slaughter.
Eight windsurfers will hit the water in the inaugural running of a Formula Windsurfing class, the introduction of which has encouraged a number of local windsurfers to compete. They will be joined by the beach cats and a fleet of eleven Lasers also racing for the first time at the BVI Spring Regatta.