Competitors from across the Caribbean are heading for the BVI, including Bernie Evan Wong's RP37 from Antigua © Ingrid Abery/https://www.ingridabery.com/
Countdown to the 50th edition BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
With just one week to go, local Caribbean boats are preparing to join the 70 strong fleet for this year's special edition – the 50th anniversary – of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. The J/130 Bad Decisions, owned and skippered by Fuzzy Stoddard from Christiansted, US Virgin Islands, has been busy over the past fourteen months refitting the boat and is ready to race. Formerly known as Annick II, the boat has been around the USVI and surrounding areas since 1980, often sailing with youth programs and junior sailors on board.
"I hope people will recognize the sail number and appreciate our effort at restoring the boat," Stoddard noted. This year will be Stoddard's second time racing BVI Spring Regatta and the first time on his own boat, having previously raced the event in a Melges 32. He's racing with a group of close friends and some new to the boat, some with racing experience and others who are new but willing to learn, he noted.
"The BVI Spring Regatta is in our core circuit and has always been a fun time for us with great competition and fun times," Stoddard said. "Racing the boat around all the little islands, the courses are different, challenging and so much fun – that is what sets BVISR apart from other regattas for us. This is our first regatta as a team, and we are looking to have a great time!"
Christian Cabral, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, is the owner of Desorden, a Beneteau First 44.7, which he acquired last year. He and his crew sailed her first international campaign in the Discover PR Regatta, competing this year for their first time in the St Thomas International Regatta prior to the BVI Spring Regatta.
"We are mostly looking forward to the competitive level of the regatta, sailing with other boats from the Caribbean which we already know, as well as getting to know new sailors," Cabral said. "And, of course, the parties! Our team is composed of competitive sailors from the Dominican Republic as well as from Spain, Argentina, Sweden, and the Netherlands. We normally compete against one another in local regattas in the DR but look forward to sailing together internationally."
Long-time BVI Spring Regatta competitor Peter Corr, owner and skipper of Blitz, a Summit/King 40' designed by Mark Mills, lives part-time in the USVI, in St Thomas. He has been racing in the Caribbean for many years and loves Spring Regatta for its great water, great winds, competition and racing with good friends. "It is a great team that's been together for a long time and we race very hard," Corr smiled. "Last year we won St Thomas, Voiles de St Barts, and Antigua Sailing Week including the Lord Nelson Trophy for best race boat across all classes."
Corr's special memories of past BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival events include holding the record for the fastest Round Tortola race on his sailing yacht Aiyana, a record he held for several years.
Among the usual cast of sailing characters from the local Caribbean racing circuit who will be returning to celebrate the 50th Anniversary edition of the BVI Spring Regatta will be Bernie Evan Wong from Antigua, racing his RP 37 Taz, Sam Talbot from the BVI racing on the J111 Spike, and Richard Wooldridge racing on Triple Jack, a Kelsall 47. A fleet of local sport multihulls will round out the competition, owned and skippered by sailors from nearby Caribbean islands.
"It's always a pleasure to have the support of our local Caribbean race community at BVI Spring Regatta," Bob Phillips, Regatta Chairman commented. "They race well, they race hard, and they know the courses better than anyone. We look forward to their participation and sending them out on great courses in our almost perfect conditions!"