BVI Sailing Festival: a quick FOX takes a first in the race to Foxy's
A steady 18 knots+ which built to 24 throughout racing, greeted the fleet for another day of competition at the 49th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. An exciting start by FOX, in Racing division, saw the sleek and extremely fast Botin 52 come down hard and slide through a tight port-tacked fleet to easily take the line, and onto a first-place finish. The big breeze today saw a few boats sustain some breakages along with a few early retirees knowing they still have plenty of racing ahead of them this week.
Racing in Performance Multihull, and as the youngest of eight, Todd Slyngstad (US) is no stranger to sibling rivalry. This week he's racing his HH66 Nemo alongside Fujin, the Bieker 53 owned by his older brother Greg. While Fujin beat Nemo today on a course that took the faster boats in the fleet from Nanny Cay, around Norman Island, to Thacher Island, around Sandy Cay to finish off Jost Van Dyke, the win was not lost on the younger Slyngstad.
"It does take us back to our childhood days when as the youngest I used to get beaten up on all the time," Slyngstad joked. "Naturally, we want to beat Fujin but with sailing there are so many variables – crew, boat, gear – it all must perform and if it doesn't, you fall back. Tomorrow is the first day of racing, so we'll see what happens!"
On board Fujin, Jonathan McKee, a well-known US sailor and Olympian who has called tactics on the boat for many years commented, "Today was fantastic, it was on the windier side, and it was a reaching-oriented course around islands which made for really tricky navigation and tricky sail handling too because the legs are pretty short but that close reaching angle is really nice for Fujin."
Also in Performance Multihull, Mach Schnell, the Gunboat 62, retired after blowing up a kite on the west end of Norman Island.
Willem Ellemeet (NE), a four-time BVISR competitor and his crew sailing on a Sunsail 41, Making Memories, took third in Bareboat / Cruising Multihull. The Dutch crew finished less than a minute after BVI local legend Robin Tattersall racing on the Sunsail 41 Moon Rainbow. The multihull Leopard 50 La Novia took first.
"We had an excellent start, we were across the line first, and we just drove very hard," Ellemeet said. "We had a bit of a battle with Moon Rainbow, they couldn't pass us which annoyed them! We had great fun with them, on the reach to Thacher Island they passed in front of us, then we were tack for tack until we passed them around Sandy Cay – a great day of racing for us."
In Cruising / Performance Cruising, the Beneteau 40, Libertas, took first, Moxie a Beneteau 440 placed second, and the Salona 44 Paroma, took third. Moxie, owned and helmed by local BVI sailor Pat Nolan, replaced Nolan's former Beneteau 440 Sea Biscuit which she lost in Hurricane Irma. She's done BVISR some thirty times, and this week is racing with an almost all-women crew (her husband Martin was on board today), who, as a sailing instructor, she taught to sail some 20 years ago.
"This is a wonderful event, it's just a week of fun every year," Nolan said. "Local knowledge helped a lot today – it was breezy, but we know where the lifts are, we know where the wind shadows are, we know where the rocks are around Sandy Cay or how far we have to go before we can tack – it really does give us a leg up!"
In Racing, OMII, owned and skippered by Shahid Hamid, took third, after the Cape 31 Arabella who took second, and FOX, the Botin 52 who "We didn't make any mistakes, yesterday we made a lot of mistakes," Hamid noted. "We have a new tactician on board, and he's settled in now. We are not going to beat the Botin 52 and some of the other faster boats, but it was close racing for us with the fourth placed boat (TAZ) finishing less than 30 seconds behind us. We had a perfect start, it was breezy, and we had a great day, it was amazing."
Relaxing at Foxy's Bar on Jost Van Dyke was a fitting end to a great race day – the legendary Foxy regaled the crowd with stories around his humble start on the beach some fifty years ago.
"I've been here since 1968 - I first started down the beach next door to the church until the church began to complain about my customers for making too much noise, then I later found out that the real reason was because I was making more money than they were!" Foxy laughed.
Tomorrow kicks off Day 1, BVI Spring Regatta and the Mount Gay Race Day. Racing starts at 10am off Nanny Cay, with a forecasted easterly breeze in the mid-teens and temperature in the low 80s. Mount Gay will host the awards ceremony along with specialty cocktails, 6pm at the Nanny Cay Regatta Village.