A total of 132 boats are planning to be on the start line today for the opening race of the BVI Spring Regatta

Registration for the 33rd annual BVI Spring Regatta eventually closed at about 8pm last night with 132 boats planning to be on the start line today for the opening race of the BVI Spring Regatta.

The four boat racing A will pitch Pyewacket against Titan XII, Equation and Chippewa, all in the Caribbean Big Boat Series and out to gain some points against Morning Glory, Spirit and Venom which as BVI no-shows will be penalized class plus one point.

Class B welcomes an interesting group of boats with Swan 45s Vim and Bandit owned by Craig Speck and Andrew Fisher respectively joining the fun in the BVI for the first time. They’ll be up against Roger Sturgeon’s Transpac 52, the Ker 55 Aera, Richard Matthews Corby 49 Flirt and Les Crouch’s Caribbean-built and Reichel Pugh designed 44-footer Storm.

Terry Hutchinson who made an appearance in the BVI last year on Farr 40 Riot is calling the shots on Vim. “It’s great here,” said Terry. “We’ve been out practicing for the last couple of days and the owner already wants to come back.” And while the forecast lights winds have him a little concerned against the likes of Storm, Flirt and Aera “at least it’s flat water.”

Volvo Ocean Race veteran Jez Fansone is skippering Aera, Storm is carrying some Caribbean racing talent including the boat’s builder Paul Amon. Rosebud is coming into this regatta looking strong having beaten both Flirt and Storm at the International Rolex Regatta in St Thomas and placing second in class in St Maarten’s Heineken Regatta.

Class C is the home of the hot Caribbean boats including Jamie Dobbs from Antigua and his Lost Horizon crew, John Foster’s Magnificent 7, Jack Bishop’s Broken Drum, the BVI’s Willy-T. Three Melges 24s and a number of other boats bring the class total to 15. In fact there are only two ‘foreign’ crews in the class: Mick Schlens in his chartered Express 37 Cosmic Warlord and Heiko Godel’s Jeanneau OD 35 Wild at Heart.

Swan 44 Crescendo is up against a number of Beneteau 40.7s in class E. In class F Steve Kuhl and his UK Sunbeat III team are up against a posse of Caribbean racing veterans – Pipe Dream, Diva, Boomerang, Tempest, Dehlerious and Trouble.

Thirty-five bareboats will be battling out while in Multihulls a record nine boats are entered with hometown favourite and class winner at the Heineken Regatta, Triple Jack, expected to do good things.

Twelve one-design IC-24s will also be in close competition with many skippers looking to reverse the results of last weekend’s International Rolex Regatta.

Seven beach cats will be nipping about while 13 boats in performance cruising and 16 in jib and main round out the classes.