2024 BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival delivered an amazing week of warm water, hot racing & cool parties! © Alex Turnbull/Tidal Pulse Media

2024 BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival delivered an amazing week of warm water, hot racing & cool parties! © Alex Turnbull/Tidal Pulse Media

BVI Spring Regatta finishes on a light note


08/04/2024 - 07:15

Competitors racing in the 51st edition of the BVI Spring Regatta experienced a week of mixed conditions which put the best to the test; light for Spring Regatta and typical windy trades for the Sailing Festival, so those who competed in the full week can attest to just how exhilarating the breeze can be in the beautiful BVI.

A robust turnout of Olympians and world-champion sailors across the diverse fleet included Peter Holmberg, Alec Anderson, Luke Patience, Stu Bithell, Terry McLaughlin, Charlie Enright, Cameron Appleton, Paul Larsen, and Ryan Breymaier. On the boats, it was thrilling to see Spike, helmed by Sam Talbot, who has raced the J111 many times at BVI Spring Regatta, finally take their first win in class, while Michael and Helen Wilson racing their Cape 31 Shotgunn in the BVI for the first time prevailed against the highly competitive Flying Jenny, another Cape 31.

“This was our first time winning our class and our first year ever beating El Ocaso so we’re pretty excited,” Talbot said. “Our boat speed did it – we were fast. The boat likes light winds and our tactician had everybody moving together on the boat for weight distribution, rolling the boat and really accelerating out of manoeuvres with smooth movements and good tactics. The competition this week was great. El Ocaso is usually our main competition, but these weren’t really their conditions, and the Melges 24 Island Water World sailed by Frits Bus was fast and he had us sweat every single race.”
Todd Slyngstad on his HH66 Nemo, took first overall in Performance Multihull, finishing with 6.5 points, ahead of Allegra, the custom catamaran owned by Adrian Keller. While the fleet did not race today due to light conditions, Slyngstad was pleased to win some races this week.

“Overall, it was a great week,” he said. “In these conditions Nemo does really well. It didn’t hurt my feelings if the wind stayed under ten knots because it played into our hand! It was super fun competition – we had never raced against Allegra or Convexity2, so it was really fun to see those boats in action, great crews, very social, a lot of fun guys. We did get some nice wind earlier in the week, nice enough to break some things”, he laughed. “We had some late nights of repairs, but we got it all back together.”
With five bullets over six races, Shotgunn was the clear winner in CSA 2. Owner/skipper Michael Wilson, tired but happy said, “Thank you BVI Spring Regatta. It’s been a really good regatta; we definitely want to come back here again. The race committee did a brilliant job of getting as many races in as they did and the variation of sailing with Round Tortola and Scrub Island earlier in the week is a nice change from the usual kind of racing that we do. Flying Jenny clearly has some good speed against us, they’re an incredible group of people who don’t give up. This week was good to learn how to mode the boat and sail it in light air and that’s due to the incredible team of people who we have this privilege to sail with.”

Lady M, the Beneteau First 40.7 owned and skippered by Joan Rodriquez, took first in Performance Cruising A for the second consecutive year, finishing just two points ahead of Puerto Rico based Paroma, the Salona 44 owned and skippered by Luis Balzac.

“The competition this week was good, light breeze - obviously everyone I think would like a bit more breeze, but we had a chance to race on Sunday whereas not all fleets did,” Christian Cabral, jib trimmer, said. “Tactics and consistency worked for us – in the light breeze we were patient with all our maneuvers and had no errors. We’ve absolutely had a great time this week.”
Canadians Steve Denure and Terry McLaughlin, silver medallist in the Flying Dutchman Class at the Los Angeles 1984, easily took first in Bareboat 2 on the Sunsail 41, Sul Vento with five bullets over five races. “It’s been good fun, we’ve been sailing with friends,” McLaughlin, “I knew it was a charter boat and we ended up making our charter boat go as fast as anyone else with older sails and a bottom I’m not quite used to,” McLaughlin smiled. “There were some great sailors out there this week. We got lots of wind the first couple of days then it got lighter than normal, but it is what it is. I’d like to come back.”

“It’s been fabulous, it’s been a great week of sailing, the people were amazing and so much fun. We’ve had so much support from the local community and volunteers,” Cayley Smith, Regatta Director said. “We pulled off a great regatta and look forward to seeing these great boats and competitors again next year.”

Distinguished awards were presented to Chris Haycraft, Regatta Chairman and owner/skipper of Ting A Ling II, a Corsair F 31, who took four bullets over five races to win first in class in Sport Multihull and the Best BVI Boat award. Every year the Regatta presents the Guy Eldridge Spirit of Enthusiasm Award to an individual or individuals who shine in the spirit of the sport and who has stepped out and gone beyond. This year the award was presented to Bad Decisions, the J30 from St Croix skippered by Fuzzy Stoddard.

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