Friday, April 1, 2016

BVI Spring Regatta Preview

J/122 El Ocaso sailing Caribbean (Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI)- “This is a fantastic event, with lots of variety in the racing, great race management and wonderful shore-side activities – get involved and enjoy!” – is the sage advice from Rick Wesslund, veteran BVI Spring Regatta competitor. Wesslund, owner/skipper of the J/122 EL OCASO should know as 2016 marks his 9th entry in the competition.

EL OCASO is just one of 108 boats participating in the 45th edition of this iconic Caribbean racing event that takes place from March 30th to April 3rd at the Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola, BVI. Entries come from all corners of the Seven Seas: the US, Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Canada, Ireland, Argentina, Germany and, of course, local sailors from right here in the British Virgin Islands.

Sam Talbot, from New York and owner/skipper of the J/111 SPIKE, also likes to start the party early at BVI Spring Regatta;  “We are always sailing with different crew so we have become pretty efficient at crash courses for various areas of the boat. We plan to put a solid day of practice in before the Nanny Cay Cup race so everybody can get familiar with their position.”

This year Talbot’s upgraded his sail inventory from North 3DLs to 3DIs, and is looking forward to more control with the new sails across a bigger wind range. Nonetheless, equipment aside, he advises newcomers to the event not to take anything too seriously at Spring Regatta, “The banter out on the water is what makes it so much fun!”

With a different race course every day and guaranteed no-two-days-of-racing-the-same sets BVI Spring Regatta apart from other yacht racing events. Fabulous beach parties every evening are the only way to end a perfect day of warm-water Caribbean racing. With a long-time “home” base at Nanny Cay where families can also enjoy all that Tortola and the surrounding islands offer, the event offers something for everyone.

Bob Phillips, Regatta Chairman, has chaired the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival for 19 years so has a pretty good idea how conditions may shape up for the regatta, “We’re looking at 15-20, pretty usual trade winds, maybe a little higher than normal.”

Joining the fun in the CSA Racing 2 class are both Wesslund’s J/122 EL OCASO and Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE.  In addition, Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID from Antigua will be pressing their classmate EL OCASO hard; as will another Antigua boat, Bernard Evan-Wong’s J/120 TEAM TAZ- SUNSET.

While the CSA Racing 2 class looks relatively good from a relative competitiveness standpoint (mostly 36 to 43 footers), the CSA Racing 3 class has to be the most eclectic of them all!  It ranges from a J/24 to fully race-equipped First 40s- a bit of a free-for-all for everyone!  Speaking of which, hoping for lots of reaching against the bigger boats will be Aaron Gardner’s J/24 BRAVISSIMO from the Royal BVI YC.  Joining him is Cynthia Ross & Eduardo Lucas’ J/30 J-DOE and two J/105s- Jon Lipuscek’s DARK STAR from Puerto Rico and Bryan Coon’s SOLSTICE team from New York.

The CSA Performance Cruiser I Class is just “white-sails” only.  It’s about the most perfect class for BVI Regatta, as you “can have your cake and eat it too”!  Sailing double-handed or with an entire family, it’s fun, laid-back and just as challenging as it is for the racing classes.  In this class is a past multiple BVI winner, Stanford Joines’ crew of high-school kids from St Croix- the J/36 PALADIN.  Hoping to work some of that magic, too, will be David Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS! from Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

The J/24-mod crews racing on the IC-24s will have fun sailing one-design just off the front of the marina; eleven boats are participating with some amazingly “hot” crews from across the sailing landscape.  For example, Jens Hookanson (Sunfish World Champion and J/24 Champions) from St Croix YC is racing STINGER while Jaime Torres from Puerto Rico (multiple class champion in the Caribbean Circuit) will be racing the familiar SMILE AND WAVE.  For more BVI Spring Regatta sailing information