by Louay Habib
The 42nd BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, the largest international sporting event in the BVI, got underway today, March 25th. Registration for the Sailing Festival is now open and tonight a Welcome Party and BBQ at Peg Legs Beach Bar, located right on the waterfront at Nanny Cay will start the social programme.
Round Tortola Race
A week-long event is scheduled, packed with fun ashore and superb racing in one of the world's finest sailing grounds. The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is a celebration of sailing in paradise; sunshine, spectacular scenery, warm breeze and calm blue water.
Racing starts on Tuesday, March 26th with the Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup. The 37-mile romp will see the fleet starting in Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay and then head counter-clockwise around Tortola. After the beat up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the fleet will turn the corner at Great Camanoe and head on a downward run to West End where, after a quick cut through Soper's Hole, it's a beat back to the finish line off Nanny Cay.
In addition to winning the Nanny Cay Cup, bragging rights in the Nanny Cay Challenge for the Round Tortola Record are up for grabs. The 47ft Kelsall- designed Trimaran, Triple Jack holds the outright and multihull Round Tortola Record of 2 hours, 40 minutes and 18 seconds after winning it back from Formula 40, Soma last October.
Melges 32, INTAC set a new monohull record in the annual Peg Legs Round Tortola Race in November 2012. The Royal British Virgin Island Yacht Club team, led by James Plaxton, will be looking to better their record of 3 hours, 57 minutes and 36 seconds.
Event sponsors Nanny Cay have generously donated a prize and should the time be beaten, the record breakers will be able to celebrate their feat with a free dinner at Peg Legs for up to 15 crew members and a jeroboam of champagne compliments of Nanny Cay.
Soper's Hole, Tortola
Wednesday, March 27th marks the second race of the BVI Sailing Festival with the Caribbean Insurers Island Invitational Race. A pursuit race start in the Sir Francis Drake Channel is designed to encourage all of the yachts to arrive at the finish off Norman Island in close proximity. Friends and family members of competitors will be able to join in the afternoon festivities on Norman Island courtesy of Rising Son II who will provide a ferry service to Pirates Bight, where a beach BBQ and DJ will create a lively party.
Thursday, March 27th is tagged Wind, Water and Wander Tortola Day where all the activities can be booked at the O'Neal Webster Village Concierge Desk. These include a dolphin discovery swim, snorkelling with Rising Son and scuba diving with Blue Water Divers. On land, BVI360 Island Tour and a Coldwell Banker Property Tour will also be available.
The afternoon offers an opportunity for everyone to watch sailing from the beach. This includes traditional Tortola Sloop racing and youth sailors racing in the SOL Optimist Challenge. Registration gets underway for the BVI Spring Regatta and there will be a party atmosphere throughout the day and evening in the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay Marina.
Event director, Judy Petz: 'We are delighted that the local businesses have embraced the Sailing Festival and their support of this regatta is much appreciated. Everyone is working together to provide a regatta that will be fun for all and we hope this will encourage sailors from other Caribbean islands and the rest of the world to come and see what these beautiful islands has to offer.'
BVI Spring Regatta website