The final day's racing at the BVI Spring regatta was dogged by light airs with only a handful of yachts completing a race
In contrast to yesterday’s stormy conditions at the BVI Spring Regatta, competitors had to contend with light airs and basking sun for the final day’s racing from Tortola. The decision to send all the racing fleet, particularly the smaller classes, on a round the island race in less than 10kts of breeze at the start was an interesting one and resulted in only Racing Class A and B completing the shortened course. The rest of the Racing fleet had their race cancelled two hours in and had to make their way back to Nanny Cay. The remaining classes including the IC-24s and multihulls completed two races while the beach cats completed one.
In the IC-24s (modified J/24s with Melges cockpit and deck layout) in the incredibly shifty conditions, Taylor Canfield’s Boat Drinks sailed a good race to take line honours while Crowley Shipping had to settle for an eight, her worst result of the regatta. However, having notched up a string of first places over the three-day regatta, Robby Hirst’s Crowley Shipping did enough to secure overall first place.
In today’s one race in the spinnaker beach cats Enrique Figueroa Tornado, Movistar took another race win to add to his three other first places but was unable to knock Terry Jackson, also sailing a Tornado, off his perch in first place overall. Figueroa had to settle for third overall.
Meanwhile the round the island fleets made slow but positive progress off their respective start lines and continued their inter-fleet battles throughout. First off were the largest boats in the fleet including Racing A Sotto Voce, the Judel Vrojlik 66, Chippewa the Swan 70 and Equation the Andrews 68, and Racing B including Carlo Falcone’s Caccia ala Volpe – the Vallicelli 44, Lolita, a Swan 70, and Riot, the US Farr 40. However, after several hours when progress round the back of the island continued to slow up, the race committee wisely made the decision to cancel the race for all classes except Racing A and B.
Not surprisingly it was the big, lightweight boats that made the most impact in today’s light, shifty conditions. Sotto Voce with Jens Christensen at the helm had the best start at the pin-end of the line and took an immediate lead towards the turning mark off Virgin Gorda. Christensen commented: “Once round that mark, we had a three-mile run but then got stuck in a wind hole for two or three minutes behind one of the other islands. This is where Equation caught up with us. It was really interesting today because it was fairly tactical and we had to do a lot of thinking. We changed from an asymmetrical spinnaker to a Code 0 which got us out of the hole. Equation tried to cut inside of us but then she parked just as we picked up a breeze. We then sailed on for another eight miles before the wind shifted from 170-250, it was kind of a sea breeze so we sailed on that for two or three miles before it swung back to 150-160 again.”
So with a shortened course shortly after the bottom turning mark, Sotto Voce crossed the finish line three and a quarter hours after the start with Equation 16 minutes behind and Chippewa, the Swan 68 well over an hour after that. The impressive six first places puts Sotto Voce well at the top of the scoreboard for an overall Racing A win with 10 pts. Chippewa had to settle for second, five points adrift.
Christensen added: “This has been an amazing regatta. The race committee, in particular Peter Reggio, have done an excellent job, we like the way they treat the competitors and tell us what’s going on. If all race committees around the world were like this it would be much more pleasant. It’s such a pleasure having a guy who knows what’s going on and is not afraid to make a decision, and you know what he’s thinking. He’s there for us, to do a good job and he’s doing it very well.”
Because of the lack of racing today for those classes involved in the Cape Air CORT Series, the results from yesterday still stand which leaves Lost Horizon III, the Olson 30 taking overall first place in the Racing class from the J/27, Magnificent 7. In the Melges 24 fleet 2 Contact Carib took an overall win, and Cold Beer, John Shultheiss’ Tartan 10 won a close-fought battle with the Sirena 38, Pipe Dream in the Racer/Cruiser Class.