Three Cape 31s: Flying Jenny, M2 and Adrenaline are set to compete at the 50th BVI Spring Regatta March 27 to April 2, 2023 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Cape 31s to show at 50th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
The Cape 31 is a relatively new fun sport boat quickly making waves around the world for its performance across a varied range of conditions. The boat was developed in South Africa to perform in Cape Town, one of the world’s windiest sailing locations, with the design direction defined from the outset as a “simple clean high performance One Design without constraint”. The Cape 31 follows in the wake of a previous boat also by designer Mark Mills, the C&C30, a fleet of which had its own division in recent years at BVI Spring Regatta in 2017.
The first Cape 31 to debut at BVI Spring Regatta was Arabella owned by Niall and Olivia Dowling, who last year had her shipped from the UK to the Caribbean to compete. Racing under champagne BVI conditions, Arabella turned eyes with her sleek look and outstanding performance, easily sweeping her class for first place. The fleet promised to return with more Cape 31s in 2023, and the Regatta is thrilled to welcome three boats making the journey to duke it out this season in beautiful BVI waters.
Sandy Askew, from Annapolis, MD, was part of the C&C30 fleet who raced BVI Spring Regatta in 2017 on her boat Flying Jenny. Trading up, she took delivery last summer of a new Cape 31, also named Flying Jenny and is back to the Caribbean for more racing, warming up with the Heineken and St Thomas regattas prior to BVI Spring Regatta.
“My family and I love to sail in the Caribbean, so back we go!” Askew smiled. “The BVI Spring Regatta is very special, it’s very well run, the shore parties are spectacular, and the racing is fantastic. The Race Round Tortola, and the race to Scrub Island are a couple of my favourites.”
Askew grew up sailing in Detroit, where her dad owned marinas and sold Pearson Yachts for twenty-five years. Flying Jenny is named after her mother, Jenny McLaughlin, her dad named all his boats Flying Jenny, so Askew felt it was fitting to carry on the tradition. Askew is passionate about sailing and is excited to get back to the Caribbean in her new boat.
“I bought the Cape 31 because it’s designed by Mark Mills, the same gentleman who designed the C&C30, and it looked like a fun boat to sail. What keeps me interested sailing is that it is just fun to go for a sailboat ride! Sailboat racing is a lifelong sport that I absolutely adore.”
Askew will be one to watch on the water as she has the benefit of knowing the racecourse over her two Cape 31 competitors who are first timers to BVI racing: professional sailor and Olympian, Hartwell Jordan (US), is managing M2, which will be helmed by Steve Rowland, and Darren Wright (IRE) will compete in his Cape 31 Adrenaline.
M2 is owned by Mark Morris, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He purchased a Cape 31 after a few years of successfully campaigning a J-88, and he also owns an Etchells. After selling his J-88 and then not having a boat to sail the Bay Area’s renown Big Boat Series, Morris, with Jordan’s direction, bought a Cape 31 and the boat was delivered in early September 2022, just in time to race Big Boat Series.
“Mark is enjoying the boat,” Jordan said. “All of us on the boat are from the Bay Area and we were all more than pleasantly surprised at how nice the boat was to sail. Because of that, Mark really wanted to share the boat so others could see it and experience it, which hopefully helps grow the fleet.”
Morris will sail the St Thomas regatta as it worked with his schedule, then he turns the boat over to Jordan to race BVI Spring Regatta.
Jordan smiled, “Given we had bought a container and I’d made the frames to put the boat in and out of the container, and since there were a couple of other Cape 31s doing BVI Spring Regatta, I mentioned to Mark that it would be good for me if I didn’t have to unpack the boat, sail it for four days and repack it. I had a few friends who I know would love to experience the boat in the BVI – we’re looking forward to some great racing.”
Jordan added, “We’d love to include a shout out from our boat to Sandy and her crew on Flying Jenny who have been fantastic, she really helps out and they are a really good group of people. At this stage, we’re all doing the same thing, learning the boat, and doing these regattas because the boat is a freaking blast, it is so fun!”