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:
Updated:
Original:
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

CONNECTING-SHROUD-2048

Experience: Wild Ride

My Hartley 38, Moet, is pounding into massive Pacific Ocean seas. One week of continuous storm conditions has taken me 700 miles south of Fiji, heading for New Zealand. Every few seconds the bow lifts out of the water and hangs in midair for a moment while I tense my muscles, ...read more

01-LEAD-nSterling-ProCombi-S-2

Know-how: Inverter, Charger Combos Offshore

With solid-state inverters and domestic AC devices becoming increasingly efficient, it only makes sense for many sailors to install the necessary 120V AC power for the many appliances now finding their way onboard: including washing machines, TVs, microwave, laptops, chargers ...read more

IMG_5308

Chartering in the British Virgin Islands

Not for nothing are the BVI known as the “nursery slopes” of sailing charters. There simply is no better place to ease yourself into a first-time sailing vacation; for that matter, such is the appeal of these islands that many charterers return year after year. The islands ...read more

IMG_7831

Racing and Bareboat Chartering in the BVI

If not all who wander are lost, then not all who charter are content with sailing between snorkeling spots and sinking a few Painkillers at beach bars. Some want a dose of hard-sailing action blended in with their sunshine and warmth—the kind of action you can only get from ...read more

01-GMR19FP45_1194

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

With new catamaran brands springing up like mushrooms, France’s Fountaine Pajot is something of an oak tree in the market, with a story that goes back to its founding in 1976. It is also one of the largest cat builders out there, sending some 600 boats down the ways in 2018. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no Chances This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

190910_ROSS_PORTSMOUTH_0187-2048x2048

Cup Boats Hit the Water

Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the first to launch a new-generation America’s Cup boat, but it was the New York Yacht Club’s challenger, American Magic, that had the last (first?) laugh. Just a few days after ETNZ’s radical-looking AC75 hit the water in mid-September, ...read more