The BVI Sailing Festival began with little wind, but picked up for some gusty and gutsy racing 29/3/06

The low pressure warm up to the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola of the British Virgin Islands started off looking like a bust. Before the start of the race, the course was shortened, sending the boats directly from Nanny Cay to Bitter End, by-passing a mark at The Baths and several islands off the north coast of Virgin Gorda. The race committee started the three classes in five knots of breeze but as the boats approached the western end of Virgin Gorda a squall rolled in kicking the winds up to approximately 20 mph.

Principal Race Officer David Brennen remarked: “Equation crossed the finish line at the beginning of the squall line. Boats had to change gears and sails as they power reached in a driving rain into the finish line. The big boats were fun to watch.”

In the racing class, Equation took line honours finishing more than twenty six minutes in front of the next boat but it was the second boat across the line, DSK Comifin, raced by Danilo Salsi, that won the first place Bitter End Cup. Highlife, a Ker 11.3, sailed by Peter Rogers and Roger Duckworth, placed second, and Bill Alcott’s Andrews 68, Equation, placed third.

Jeroboam CA NOVA, Vittorio Codecasa’s Swan 45, placed first finishing almost two minutes ahead of last year’s first place finisher, Tom Mullen’s J 120, Shamrock. Stay Calm, a Swan 70 sailed by Stuart Robinson, took the third place spot.

There were few surprises in the Bareboat fleet with the 2005 big winner Dunbar, sailing a Moorings 44.3 Andrea Betty-Lee, finishing first. In second place was In Harmony, sailed by Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson followed by Rob Swain Sailing School, a Beneteau 52.

The big question of everybody’s mind is: “What is the weather going to do?” Today was overcast with little wind except in the squall lines. Most agree that the BVI may see a little more rain before the weekend. However, predictions differ as to how much wind the BVI Spring Regatta 31 March – 2 April will have. The event is taking place on the south side of Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on four different courses.

LayDay at Bitter End

Tomorrow is the official LayDay at Bitter End, the third annual Nations’ Challenge Cup in which teams take part on a ‘first come first served basis’ to represent their country will take place. The event will be sailed in the Bitter End Yacht Club’s fleet of Hunter 216s. With two flights, the “B” teams will race in the morning, and the “A” teams will race in the afternoon. Four races will be sailed in each flight with the boats swapped after each race. Team USA (Los Angeles), comprised of Pyewacket crew headed by Ben Mitchell, won the inaugural event and last year it was Team Ireland.