BVI Spring Regatta Ends on a High Note

BVI Regatta 2008
With winds hovering about 20, the lightest wind seen all weekend, choppy seas and very blue skies, BVI Spring Regatta wrapped up today. There seemed to be a consensus that today's conditions were the best yet.

Storm, Peter Peake's Reichel Pugh 44, led Spinnaker Racing A all weekend. 'We can sail in all air, especially big air and big seas like we had this weekend,' says Peake, who owns Peake Marine. 'Our main competitor was Oystercatcher. Their rating and ours are so similar it was as if we were racing them boat for boat.' The UK's Richard Matthew's Humpheys 42, Oystercatcher XXVI, did finish second with Bill Alcott's Andrews 68, Equation in third.

Meanwhile, it was fellow islanders Peter Baille and Paul Solomon and their crew aboard the Henderson 35, Bmobile Enzyme, that trumped second place competitor, Antigua?s Caccia Alla Volpe, by nearly 10 points. Minnie the Moocher, Anthony Richards Ker 11.3 rounded out third in class.

Spinnaker Racing C took a beating in the high winds. Only two of the five boats registered were able to sail the entire series. Mad IV overtook Global Yacht Racing today to win Spinnaker Racing C. 'There was too much wind and too few boats,' says Clive Llewellyn, owner of the Grand Soliel 50, Mad IV. Global Yacht Racing, surviving the three-day series and D-Trip, another Grand Soleil sailed by the Netherland's Dig van der Slikke, finished third.

St. Croix's Morgan Dale was another survivor, navigating his Melges 24, Silver, through no major breakdowns all weekend to win Spinnaker Racing D. 'We got lucky,' says Dale. 'Gear breakage, on the other boats that is, was a huge factor in our class.' Despite winds and seas delaying Devil 3's arrival to the BVI, St. Croix's Stanton brother's Melges 24, finished second in class. Fritz Bus, with crew member Andrew Thompson managed third after losing the mast on Fritz's Melges 24 on Friday and, with the permission of the race committee, completing the regatta in Andrew's Melges 24, Crewclothing.

J-Walker, St. Thomas' Chris and Christine Thompson's J/27, handily won Spinnaker Racing E, and a lot of credit goes to the driver ' son, Cy. 'I drove all the races but one, but my dad still managed to win that one,' says 20-year-old Cy. Seriously, he adds, 'Our crew weight was right. We nailed the starts and held off the fleet.' Cy just finished mounting an Olympic campaign in the 49er with fellow Virgin Islander, Anthony Kotoun. 'On a two man boat you know your job. But sailing J-Walker, you need to be sure six other people knew what they were doing.' Puerto Rico's Kike Gonzales' Olson 30, Kosa Loka, and St. Thomas' John Foster's The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, finished second and third, respectively, in class.

With a skipper and crew that hailed from both US coasts, California and Florida, El Ocaso, a J/120 sailed by Rick Wesslund, won Spinnaker F Racer-Cruiser. 'We're originally from San Francisco, so we're used to wind, plus I really have to credit the crew,' said Wesslund, who added that half the crew had sailed together before, and half not. 'We really came together as a team. I mean it even extended ashore' we put together some great dinners as well.' Puerto Rico's Sergio Sagramosa's Benteau First 40.7, Lazy Dog, ended second and the BVI's Peter Haycraft's Sirena 38, Pipedream, took third.'

After fifteen races, Fraito Lugo, sailing IC24 Orion, easily took first place with fourteen points less on the scoreboard than second place Robby Hirst on Mio Broadband. Third place went to Colin Rathbun on bMobile, but it was very close racing with 16 year old Alec Anderson steering Intact, only one point behind.

Like last year, the IC course has on the water umpiring. This means that there are umpires in small power boats following the fleet and immediately adjudicating infractions that they see. Following racing on Saturday afternoon, as one of the umpires, Tom Rinda, was standing in the Nanny Cay Regatta Village, Colin Rathbun, President of the local IC organization, walks by and pats Tom on the back saying, 'Awesome.' Colin's enthusiasm may have been fueled by the fact that one of his competitors was flagged at a crucial moment.

'Stand by to stand by' were the instructions given by the RO of the Norman course, Jeff Borland, on Sunday morning. Technical issues, in the form of very dead starting batteries, delayed the start of racing for almost an hour. Once again, Husky Salvage & Towing came to the rescue, towing the start boat out to their station, with Tim Dabb's Deliverance providing enough juice to revive the dead batteries.

In Performance Cruising A, the big winner was the biggest boat in the regatta, Stuart Robinson's, Swan 70 Stay Calm. Traveling with a twenty one person entourage, Stuart said, 'When we come we bring the whole family and race with a mixture of friends and professionals. When we're done, we do some cruising afterwards.' Second in class was Bad Wine and Coyote was third, both Beneteau 40.7's on charter.

John Haracivet, is a very familiar face to most of us who race in the Caribbean. For years he raced Tempest and regardless of how he placed, John showed the rest of the fleet how to have a good time. We thought that the 2006 sailing season would be John's last with us as he retired and moved to the US mainland but we?re happy to welcome him back. Before the start of racing today, he was relaxing on the stern of his chartered boat wearing a Viking hat complete with two red braids and some sort of red coloring that had been put onto his gray goatee. 'I missed last year?s BVI Spring Regatta for the first time in sixteen years. I told my friends in Virginia how much fun it was and they said, 'We don't believe you'. 'Sailing with some friends from Virginia, Alaska and the USVI, John is here to prove his point. BVI Spring Regatta is the only event John is doing this year. 'This regatta combines all the good things from the other Caribbean regattas. This is just a wonderful time for me.'

John is sailing his BVI Yacht Charters boat in Performance Cruising B with a spinnaker that he brought with him, placed in ninth in the Performance Cruising B class for the regatta. John admitted that they would have done better had they not brought the chute and sailed with the other Bareboats but regardless, he says, 'We're already talking about next year.'

In Performance Cruising B, Tony Sayer's Augustine was first, Xpresso was second and Nepenthe placed third.

Sailing in Jib and Main, Steve Schmidt in Hotel California put in a stellar performance on the final day of racing and snatched first place from David Heuter in Mary Jane. Unlike the Bitter End Cup, on Tuesday, when Steve attempted to make the 21 mile slog upwind, in close to 30 knots of wind, single-handed in his Santa Cruz 70, he sailed the regatta with 15 crew members. 'It was a lot of wind which was really nice but what I liked was that your race officer conducted races safely and the regatta did a really nice job of organizing.' Mary Jane was second and Neal Finnegan, sailing Clover III, was third.

Anthony Mack, in Joyce Smith, finished on top in the Bareboat A class. Justin Barton, in Justice, placed second and third place went to a very enthusiastic Team Fimmecci.

Before the start of racing on Sunday, Jan Soderberg, skippering Bareboat B entry Chess, commented, 'The regatta is very well organized and it is good sailing. The wind conditions have been perfect. My crew is made up of one guy that knows how to sail and a lot of other friends.' When asked about second place Acadia Southern Comfort, skippered by Burt Keenan, Jan said, 'We made an error yesterday that cost us a lot so they deserved to be in the lead. They sailed very well. This is the third time we've done this regatta and we've sailed against them every year. They're good sailors and the last two years we beat them and it looks like there is a likelihood that they may beat us this yea