Team Merlin Victorious at BVI Spring Regatta
The 2013 BVI Spring Regatta kicked off in tourist-brochure conditions and ended in an action-packed day of winds gusting to 30-plus knots and blinding rainsqualls. It wasn’t a good day to take the family out, but it was perfect for hardcore sailboat racing. Among the boats that thrived in the strong conditions were Debbie Classen’s venerable Tartan 10 Windemon, which ran away from the competition in Spinnaker Racing 2, and Harold Keating’s J/95 Shamrock VII in Performance Cruising 2.
Peter Corr’s luxurious Alia 82 Aiyana, also made her mark on the opening day of the regatta, completing the 37-mile Round Tortola race in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 44 seconds, lopping more than 30 minutes off the previous record.
About a third of this year’s fleet comprised charter boats sailing in two bareboat classes, which are no less tightly contested than any section. The Round Tortola race was a perfect example: after five hours of racing, just 20 seconds separated the Sunsail Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44 Dundee and its Dutch crew led by Radboul Crul and the Sunsail Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Team Merlin/Kief, helmed by Charlie Garrard with a crew from Marblehead, Massachusetts, that included SAIL editor Peter Nielsen.
These two battled each other throughout the entire regatta, swapping the lead until the final day when the Team Merlin crew won the final two heavy-air races to take not only the series but the International Yacht Club Challenge prize of a one-week Sunsail charter. The Whalers, from New Bedford, Massachusetts, also sailing a Sunsail 41, took a solid third place after an equally competitive series.
For complete results, visit bvispringregatta.org.