The first day's racing at the BVI Spring Regatta three-day sailing festival produced an unexpected large entry

No one was more surprised than the race committee this morning at the start of BVI Spring Regatta’s three-day Sailing Festival when entry numbers exceeded all expectations with 37 boats on the start line.

This inaugural event, which precedes the ‘serious’ BVI Spring Regatta racing at the end of the week, was expected to attract 10 possibly 15 boats but the large, unexpected entry was enough proof to show this year’s racing extension was exactly the right move. Alastair Abrehart, head of race week PR commented: ‘The extension to include the Sailing Festival really was an experiment this year and we were sure we’d only get a few entries. We never expected that almost half the Spring Regatta fleet would sign up; naturally we are delighted.”

The one-fleet, mass handicap start just off the entrance to Tortola’s Nanny Cay Marina at 1005 was the ideal setting for the first race. With a classic 15kt south-south-easterly Trade Wind blowing in 30 degrees of sunshine and clear turquoise blue waters, no one could have wished for more perfect conditions as the fleet headed on a one-leg course to the island of Virgin Gorda. However, despite a race dubbed as a non-serious, fun event, the usual raised voices and closer than close start line barging caused more than a few heart-stopping moments for Peter Reggio the Race Officer.

It was interesting to see that most of the fleet stayed well inshore along the Tortola coast in an effort to cheat minimal current and head straight for Beef Island. According to some of the locals, the current really makes little difference it is sometimes actually more advantageous to head offshore away from the wind disturbance from the island before tacking round the end of the island.

However, there was little to disturb the 20-strong American team on Equation, the Andrews 68 owned by Bill Alcott. Heading inshore they soon stormed in to the lead and, after a 15 mile race almost did the unthinkable – beat the committee boat to the finish line at Bitter End YC. Fortunately, the eagle-eyed race committee got there in the nick of time to finish Equation 33 minutes ahead of the next boat Noa 3 from Denmark.
Stu Argo, tactician aboard Equation commented after the racing: “It was a superb day with ideal conditions, although it was all upwind which wasn’t particularly good for us with our high rating owing to our large spinnakers.” Despite their high rating however, they sailed an excellent race managing to beat Cosmic Warlord, the Express 37, by just 1 minute 35 seconds on corrected time. Noa 3 had to settle for sixth overall despite finishing second across the line.

In the Festival Bareboat category, Dot Com the Moorings 463 was also first across the line and managed to hold on to an overall win by just over two minutes from Black Hole a Beneteau 45f5.
So as the remaining cruising yachts head for the finish line, the rest of the fleet are already sampling the delights of Bitter End YC resort, this unique tropical regatta location with its white sand beaches, palm trees clear turquoise water and some of the best cocktails you’ll ever hope to find. And after one exhausting day’s racing, the fleet can now look forward to tomorrow’s lay day where ‘fun’ is once again the key word.


Racing class

1st USA 323 Equation Alcott

2nd 87549 Cosmic Warlord Shlens

3rd 50007 Affinity Desmond

4th 51333 Kinship Selldorff

5th 50474 Jahazi Frank Giampoli

6th DEN 1 Noa 3 Thomsen

7th GBR 7698T Natural Magic Cook

8th GBR 4808 Celerity Robinson

9th GBR7788 Hullabulloo Phillip Allen

10th USA 17 Rhumb Squall Mullen


1st Dot Com Dunbar

2nd Black Hole Jeroen Hin

3rd Team Europe Loos

4th Little Wolf Day

5th Best Friends Barton

6th Spirit of the Eagle

7th Jecy Palmer

8th Team Germany German Tourist Board

9th Rafiki Giampoli

10th Team UK UK Tourist Board