St. John’s Antigua- With less than three weeks to go until the 42nd edition of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival at Nanny Cay, a truly international cast is making ready to take centre-stage in the beautiful sailing grounds off Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival has always attracted sailors from around the world to take part and this year is no exception. Entries from at least 12 different nations will compete and include Australia, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Luxembourg, Canada, Russia, Switzerland, British Virgin Islands, and other Caribbean islands.
The allure of racing in some of the most scenic, varied and challenging waters on the planet is the reason that most competitors return each year. Uniquely, the BVI Spring Regatta racecourse takes place in the Atlantic Ocean, the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the Caribbean Sea.
Having competed in 2011, David Sampson’s Alia 82, Aiyana from Mona Vale, Australia, will be back again with the largest boat in the fleet. Built in 2010, it will be hard to miss the 82 foot blue hull with its very sleek low profile lines:
“The courses are good and the sailing in and around the BVI is fantastic. We look forward to the nice weather, steady breeze and competitive racing with similar types of yachts. Because Aiyana is really a cruising yacht, we prefer to try and race against similar types of boats and that is why we target the superyacht events and the BVI Spring Regatta,” Sampson said.
“Last time we raced a Swan 60 and a few other larger cruising boats with similar ratings, it was good fun. There is always a great atmosphere at Nanny Cay and the islands in general, so it’s always enjoyable. The BVI are one of the best places I’ve been to for sailing and I have sailed professionally for 18 years.”
Richard Wesslund’s J120, El Ocaso from Miami, Florida had one of their best Caribbean racing seasons ever in 2012 and are hoping to repeat their class win at this year’s BVI Spring regatta.
Their highly competitive team get to vote on which regattas they attend each year and are looking forward to coming back to compete at the BVI Spring Regatta once more.
Puerto Rican champion and BVI fan, Jaime Torres has replaced his winning First 40 with a high performance Melges 32 and is looking forward to some top competition in the regatta with Smile and Wave, which includes a non-sanction event in the inaugural Virgin Islands Sailing Series for Melges 32s.
He’ll be up against some tough competition in the form of BVI-based James Mark Plaxton’s, Team INTAC.
The highly successful team, led by USVI sailing legend and America’s Cup champion, Peter Holmberg, has a lot of silverware on their mantelpiece, including the current Budget Marine Match Racing Cup and top prize at the Heineken Regatta, The St Maarten Cup for Most Worthy Performance Overall.
Phil Lotz’s Swan 42, Arethusa from Newport, Rhode Island, will be one to watch. From the New York Yacht Club, the team will first compete in the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, Virgin Gorda from March 11 to 15 before heading down to Tortola and the Spring Regatta.
At Quantum, Key West earlier this year, the team achieved a place on the podium for third in class and in 2012 were runners-up in the Swan 42 US Nationals and in the previous year, won the Swan Caribbean Challenge and best American yacht in Antigua Sailing Week following their impressive Class 3 win.
The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival includes an extremely competitive charter boat fleet and gold sponsor, The Moorings, and contributing sponsor, Sunsail, have already chartered out most of their available fleet for the regatta.
However, several charter opportunities still exist for full teams or even individuals who want to join a boat. Full details can be found on the charter pages of the event website:
The week-long sailfest runs from March 25 to 31 and includes a newly formatted three-day sailing festival from March 25 to 28, followed by the three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on Friday, March 29.
The regatta includes the International Yacht Club Challenge and culminates with the awards ceremony for the overall prize winners on Easter, Sunday, March 31.