Bareboating it all at the BVI Spring Regatta - Sail Magazine

Bareboating it all at the BVI Spring Regatta

The 2010 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, as it’s more properly called, falls in the height of the Caribbean racing season, a couple of weeks after the Heineken regatta in St Maarten and a couple of weeks before Antigua Sailing Week. Plenty of serious racers do all three regattas, and probably also the Rolex regatta in St Thomas and the Heineken regatta in Puerto Rico, which are also
Author:
Publish date:
bvi1

The 2010 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, as it’s more properly called, falls in the height of the Caribbean racing season, a couple of weeks after the Heineken regatta in St Maarten and a couple of weeks before Antigua Sailing Week. Plenty of serious racers do all three regattas, and probably also the Rolex regatta in St Thomas and the Heineken regatta in Puerto Rico, which are also squeezed into that hectic two-month time period.

Like every other regatta, the BVISR was hit last year by the recession, but the organizers approached 2010, the 39th running of the event, with their customary vigor. The eventual field of 98 boats was well down on the peak years of the Nineties and Oughties, but, given the economic turmoil of the last couple of years, this was hardly surprising.

It is really two regattas in one, taking up the week leading up to the first weekend in April. The Sailing Festival portion consists of a race from Nanny Cay marina up to the Bitter End resort on Virgin Gorda on the Tuesday, and a race back to Nanny Cay on the Thursday. Wednesday you can spend racing Hobies and Lasers at the Bitter End, or just hanging out in the sunshine recovering from Tuesday night’s party. The Spring Regatta itself takes up the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

You can see that this agenda gets you plenty of time on the water and, with the races only being two to three hours long, there’s plenty of time to kick back and enjoy just being in the BVI.

There are 14 classes in the Spring Regatta, and entries run the gamut from Tom Hill’s all-conquering Titan XV in Racing A down to boardsailors in the Windsurfing class. Traditionally, the two bareboat classes have been heavily subscribed and hotly contested. Team SAIL, consisting of yours truly, Charlie Garrard, Tim Sheehy and Scott Alexander from Marblehead, Massachusetts, along with Peter Cook (Annapolis) and Christian McMahan (Fairfield, Connecticut), were determined to get on the podium this year after disappointing finishes at Antigua in 2008 and St Maarten in 2009.

This year we had entered the inaugural International Yacht Club Challenge, which was to be sailed in identical Sunsail Jeanneau 42i’s. A bunch of us sail on helmsman Charlie Garrard’s J/105, and we liked the one-design flavor of the IYCC.

Up against us was a crew of hotshot sailors from Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico, and a boatload of canny local sailors from the BVI Yacht Club. We would have our own race-within-a-race in the Bareboat B class.

What followed was a fascinating and entertaining week, which culminated in us waking up on the last morning of the regatta in first place in Bareboat B, and finishing the day third. Our chief competition was the hard-sailing Puerto Ricans, whom we had decisively beaten a couple of times only to see them outsmart us in the final race, in which we finished a distant 7th. At the end, a well sailed Beneteau 36 just beat us into second place overall. Still, we were on the podium for the first time in three regattas, and we celebrated long and hard.

Having experienced most of the big-name Caribbean regattas, I think that the BVI Spring Regatta is my new favorite. Not only is it fast and easy to get to from the US, but the islands themselves are beautiful, and racing around and among them was a sublime experience.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more