by Louay Habib
The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has frequently attracted overseas entries and this year is no exception. The regatta has a reputation for wonderful racing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel and Caribbean Sea followed by funfilled parties after the sun goes down. Two notable early entries to this year's regatta are Irving Laidlaw's RP52, Highland Fling and Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens.
2013 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
Irving Laidlaw has been racing all over the world for decades and his series of Highland Fling racing yachts have won world championships and grand prix events on both sides of the Atlantic. With an all-star professional crew, the Reichel Pugh designed Highland Fling will be a class act at this year's BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival and with the TP52 Super Series in Miami, there is the mouth-watering possibility of similar designs to Highland Fling taking up the gauntlet.
Piet Vroon, owner of Tonnerre de Breskens has competed in 25 Fastnet Races in a racing career spanning five decades. His latest charge Tonnerre de Breskens has won Key West and won the RORC Season's Points Championship two season's running and voted RORC Yacht of the Year. Vroon hales from Holland but the multinational crew come from all over the world. Tonnerre's crew boss, Frank Gerber has been part of Piet's team for many years.
'Tonnerre de Breskens has a four-event Caribbean programme and the final event will be the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival,' confirmed Frank Gerber. 'We contacted the organisers a while ago and they have been extremely helpful, which has made organising the shipping from the UK and other logistics so much easier. The variety of courses including coastal and windward leeward really appealed to Piet (Vroon) and the crew. The archipelago of islands is one of the most spectacular locations in the Caribbean and one of the few places that Piet has not raced before. Also, as this will be our last regatta in the Caribbean, we wanted it to have a great social atmosphere and many of our friends have told us that the evening parties with great live music, good food and a great party crowd is legendary. Several guys will be packing their kite boarding kit and fully intend to explore the beautiful islands after the regatta.
BVI Spring Regatta 2013 - Day 2
Tonnerre's crew has some world class sailors including Paul Wilcox, who was a helmsman in the last Volvo Ocean Race and we understand that there are a several TP52s and similar race boats in the area and Tonnerre would be delighted to take them on! All of the Tonnerre crew are old friends and we love sailing together, over the years we have put in some great results but fun is just as important and this regatta has got all of those elements.'
The J/70 sportsboat class is phenomenally popular in the United States with well over 500 pocket rockets racing and the organisers of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival decided to pro-actively encourage participation in the regatta. The protected waters of the BVI with steady Trade Winds offer superb sailing for sportsboats. In association with Kestrel Shipping, the regatta has organised shipping of J/70s on their trailers for a discounted round trip from Palm Beach, Florida direct to Road Town Tortola. Further information here.
The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has something for everyone, whether you come to race, cruise or just come to party! The weeklong BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival sails throughout the beautiful British Virgin Islands. Starting at Nanny Cay, the Sailing Festival will kick off with The Round Tortola Race, followed by a relaxed Island Race and Thursday is a Beach Day/ Layday at Nanny Cay. The BVI Spring Regatta follows the festival with three days of highly competitive racing. With a huge choice of shore side accommodations and activities there's no need to leave your loved ones at home and every night, Nanny Cay Marina is party central.
BVI Spring Regatta website