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4 April 2005, 01:07 pm
Regatta Comes To An End
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BVI Spring Regatta 2005
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Yesterday saw the final day of racing in the BVI Spring Regatta. The freshest breeze of the competition greeted the sailors on Sunday morning as they raced to decide the final placing.
For the last day of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival presented by Nanny Cay Marina, the 'Willy-T Run' was cancelled. This run to the infamous floating bar at Norman Island had become a dangerous habit the last couple of years due to lack of wind. Instead the fleet went racing much to the consternation of those grinders needing a little light libation after back to back racing in the first two days of the regatta.

However the race committee was kind and the final two races were banged off in quick succession for the yachts on the windward leeward Cooper Course.

Titan XII racked up two more firsts giving her six out of the nine race series. She finished the regatta with 13 points while Richard SHULMAN's Temptress was seven points behind. Edgar CATO and his Hissar crew finished in third with 30 points. Temptress got one gun during the event while Hissar got two.

In racing C Martin JACOBSEN's Crescendo finally got the better of Mick SCHLENS' Cosmic Warlord. With racing throughout the weekend that was won on seconds or fractions thereof, they both placed first and second today but Crescendo's five point advantage gained yesterday kept them at the top of the pack. It was tough said Jeremy WILMOTT, Crescendo's headsail and spinnaker trimmer and son of skipper. 'We were more the middle boat. In the light stuff we were able to hold our own and in the windy stuff we were able to hold our own but they [Cosmic Warlord] are a very fast boat in the light. We were lucky we got a couple of medium breeze days and we were able to edge them out a couple of times.'

Peter NEWLANDS' Beneteau 40.7 Anticipation was third. Geoffrey PIDDUCK and his predominantly Antiguan crew sailing the Joubert Nivelt 44 Mermaid II for the first time since it's purchase came in a creditable fourth. PIDDUCK found putting eleven crew together a little different to his other boat Trouble, a 6 meter, which only needed four but was 'delighted' with his performance. 'Considering none of us have really sailed together before and the technicality of the boat I think we didn't dishonour ourselves too much,' said PIDDUCK. 'I think we had at least two firsts but unfortunately we had a seven and a five and that puts you out of contention in hot competition like you have here.'

While Jamie DOBBS on Lost Horizon II got three bullets and John Foster's Magnificent 7 only two, it was FOSTER's consistency, never dropping below third place, that earned him the win in racing D comprising eleven Caribbean boats. BVI Melges Mistress Quickly came in a disappointing third after their class win at the Rolex Regatta last weekend.

The BVI's Sirena 38 Pipe Dream skippered by Peter HAYCRAFT with son Chris calling the shots, dropped only one race - the first. Jose SANCHEZ and his Myett's Balaju II crew from Puerto Rico were never far behind. Only three seconds on corrected time separated them in the last race but they never broke into the first place position enough to dent Pipe Dream's score. Pat NOLAN and her all-women crew were third.

On the Norman course the fleet was sent on scenic Course E today. From the start in the middle of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, Dead Chest, Carrot Rock off Peter Island, Norman Island and Flannagan were used as marks and all taken to starboard bringing them in a loop back to the finish line.

Tom MULLEN, having forsaken his Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall for the J/120 Shamrock V, topped the five-race Performance Cruising class with four first places and a second. The BVI's sailing surgeon Robin TATTERSALL was second with Diva and Julian SINCOCK's Northern Child in third.

'I've learned that upwind boats have a better chance here than downwind boats,' said MULLEN. 'We went from being a charter boat a month ago to a race boat. We went to work on the bottom, we went to work on the sails and went to work on the rig. We learnt our way around the boat in St. Croix and St. Thomas and finally we got it all pulling together here in Tortola, which is homeport which made us feel great.'

Steve SCHMIDT's Santa Cruz 70 Hotel California Too took the prize in Jib & Main seven points ahead of David HUETER's Big Ben with Andy KAISER on the helm. This Beneteau 50 crew returned after competing in the Bareboat class last year and were bumped up to Jib & Main with new Vectran sails. 'We had some experience behind us and it was just a natural. We decided to do the Rolex this year as a shakedown warm up and we had a great time with this regatta,' said HUETER. 'It was good last year and it was much better this year.' Dutchman Erik VAN OUWEKERK on the Grand Soleil 43 Aix d'or was third by just one point.

Gerald MILLER and Neil HARVEY on Moorings 463 Platinum Harken beat Justin BARTON on Justice, class winner in St. Maarten's Heineken Regatta by two points and Dunbar was another three points behind in third place.

Phil OTIS on BVI Yacht Charters/HIHO finished the regatta five points ahead of Joerg MOESSNANG on Team Germany. John THOMPSON on Compass Rose finished first today and managed to bump himself up from fifth to third.

Crucian sailor Llewellyn WESTERMAN on Free Air Sailing Team managed to best local BVI trimaran Triple Jack by three points. However, Triple Jack's crew could seek solace in turning the tables on third placer Tryst which beat them in St. Maarten.

In the ever-competitive IC24 class the HIRST brothers sailing Seahawk came out 20 points ahead of the USVI's John HOLMBERG, who clawed his way back from a fourth place position to second.

The IC24s had 17 races over the last three days, getting through five more today. Andrew WATERS obviously not knowing the all good stories have a good beginning, middle and an end, started well, ended well but had a bit of a rough middle. He won the first race of the series and the last two but too many sixths and sevenths put paid to his chances of the win and he ended in third place.

The Beach Cats managed to squeeze in one more race than the IC24s making it an even eighteen for the three-day regatta - Thomas AINGER on Caribbean Auto Mart won 13 of them to finish 16 points ahead of Douglas DEREU on Wave Magnet. Bruce MERCED on RUSH was third.

Thomas BARROWS did not drop a race in the 15-race Laser class, Doug STEWART was second and Ron GURNEY was third. Emma PAULL, the Royal BVI Yacht Club's captain of sailing, cleaned up in the Laser Radial but not quite as convincingly Barrows - three second places ruined her perfect score. Sydney JONES was second and Clair BURKE, with a bit more breeze, collected a prize for third place.

'Sydney JONES from St. Croix was definitely my main competitor all the time. I think things would have turned out a lot differently if she hadn't had problems yesterday with her boat,' said PAULL. 'Today she really had me a couple of time and she made a couple of silly mistakes. I think when she's the same age as I am then she'll be getting me without a problem. She's ten years younger than me and she's going to be kicking my butt in another ten years.'

Sydney's response, 'Of course I'm coming back next year.'

Alastair Abrehart (As Amended By ISAF). Image: © Alastair Abrehart
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