Bruce Chafee's RP42 Rikki (USA) enjoying competitive racing in the BVI Spring Regatta © Alex Turnbull/Tidal Pulse Media

Bruce Chafee's RP42 Rikki (USA) enjoying competitive racing in the BVI Spring Regatta © Alex Turnbull/Tidal Pulse Media

Game on for start of BVI Spring Regatta

Sport

05/04/2024 - 10:31

Competition is a relative term but there are a ton of high-level sailors racing BVI Spring Regatta which begins on Friday for a three-day series of exhilarating racing in the stunning waters around the BVI. No matter the number of boats in a class, or the diversity of boats, competitive sailors like to go racing, as pro sailor Charlie Enright, veteran of three editions of The Race, concurs. Enright will be calling tactics this week on the Gunboat 68 Convexity2, owned by Don Wilson (USA).

“I think you see so many good sailors here in the BVI because of the environment - it’s the conditions, it’s what this place has to offer, it’s the history around it all, and the competition is good,” Enright said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a catamaran with a bunch of air conditioners or a high-performance dinghy, the mind-set is the same. All the sail changes we make are the same sail changes we do on a Maxi; the mechanics are kind of the same and the boat is going, in a lot of instances, just as fast.”

Many of the boats registered across the ten classes competing have already been put through their paces earlier this week during the Sailing Festival events: Round Tortola for the Nanny Cay Cup and the Scrub Island Invitational. Allegra, the custom catamaran owned by Adrian Keller (SUI) emerged an early winner taking first in both events, as did Georges Coutu racing on his Leopard 50 catamaran La Novia. Likewise, Paroma (PUR), a Salona 44, owned by Luis Balzac, and Emily of Cowes (UK) helmed by Katy Rota, have been trading places on the podium. The Cape 31, Flying Jenny, owned by Sandra Askew (USA) has been dueling out with Shotgunn, the Cape 31 owned by Michael Wilson (UK).

“We have a team of guys who are really high level and I’m incredibly fortunate to sail with them,” Wilson said. “The Cape 31 is a class where you generally sail with up to three professionals and we have on board Olympic medallist Luke Patience, silver medallist, London 2012 in the 470, and his crew Stu Bithell who also went on to win gold in Tokyo in the 49er. Stu’s also the wing trimmer on the German SailGP team. Pete Greenhalgh is also sailing with us who is managing director of Doyle Sails in the UK and has a sailing CV as long as your arm.”

Welcome festivities kicked off on Thursday evening when the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay was officially opened with a stunning art exhibition by local artists representing the significance of maritime activity in the BVI, past and present, and the fabulous sound of Caribbean melodies by local musicians together with traditional dance. Premier Natalio Wheatley who officiated the opening offered sage advice:

“The most important rule for the BVI Spring Regatta is not whether you win or lose, but how much fun you have while you are in the BVI!”

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