BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival - Hot racing

Willem Wester’s Grand Soleil 43, Antilope return to defend their win in Racing A Division - BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 2012
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 41st anniversary edition, presented by Nanny Cay Marina, is being held during 26th March and 1st April 2012. With less than one month to go a truly international cast is making ready to take centre stage in the beautiful sailing grounds of the British Virgin Islands. Well over 500 competitors are expected to enjoy some hot racing and fabulous shoreside entertainment.

The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has always attracted sailors from all over the world and this year is no exception, participants from at least 12 different nations will compete at this year's event: Australia, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sweden, United States and St.Martin.

Andy Middleton's First 44.7, EHO1 (GBR) is competing in the Racing Class, his Global Yacht Racing Team has been competing extensively on the Caribbean circuit for the last five years:

'It's good to be back,' smiled Andy. 'The regatta is really enjoyable and very different from other Caribbean events. The racing is as good as anywhere but the event also offers a variety of brilliant locations all very close to each other and whilst you get the constant breeze that the Caribbean is famous for, the British Virgin Islands offer flat water, which is not so common. Our crew for the regatta will be a mixture of British and American charter guests and they could have chosen any other regatta on the circuit but I am glad they chose this one. In 2008, we came second in class by a whisker, so this is unfinished business for us.'

Dutch sailing legend, Bouwe Bekking will be racing at the event on Willem Wester's Grand Soleil 43, Antilope (NED), returning to defend their emphatic win in Racing A Divison last year:

'The sailing in the BVIs is pretty much unique in the Caribbean. You are racing around islands with beautiful views and great sailing. The regatta is well organized by experienced people and the race officials also do a great job. There is a wonderful atmosphere ashore, the parties are really enjoyable but first of all we are here to win. It will be our last regatta before returning to Europe to represent Holland in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, so it would be nice to finish our Caribbean season on a high.'

Jaime Torres' First 40, Smile and Wave are back for more hot racing again this year - BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 2012
Yachtshotsbvi.com/BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Fes

Puerto Rico's Jaime Torres will be racing First 40, Smile and Wave (PUE): 'The best thing about the BVI Spring Regatta is the mix of local boats and international stars. Professional teams mixing it with local boats with the old school attitude of doing it for fun. Competition is always top notch but at its best in the 40ft class. We are looking forward to improving out third place class finish from last year.'

The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival attracts a wide variety of yachts, this year no less than 15 entries are 50ft and over including six elegant Swans, including Swan 51, Northern Child (GBR). Co-owner Lucy Reynolds spoke about the event: 'It really is my favourite regatta in the Caribbean. We came second in class last year and had such an amazing time. The crew all live on board during the event, so Northern Child really becomes their home for the regatta. The atmosphere in the BVIs is really laid back and everybody makes us feel so welcome. The regatta has such a great feel, it is an event that I really look forward to.'

A view from the top of Nanny Cay from the top of Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Belle which competed in 2011 - BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 2012

The week long BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival takes the fleet through the beautiful British Virgin Islands. Starting at Nanny Cay, the Sailing Festival races up the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the renowned Bitter End Yacht Club. After the warm up, the BVI Spring Regatta kicks off with three days of some of the best racing in the Caribbean. Yachts can participate in the entire seven-day BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, just the four-day Festival, or the three-day Regatta. For family and friends who just want to relax or have some fun there is a huge choice of shore side accommodation and activities, so there's no need to leave your loved ones at home.

For more information about the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival and how to represent your club for the IYCC visit the event website.