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Round Tortola Race - Trimaran Triple Jack reclaims the record

by Alastair Abrehart on 30 Oct 2012
Triple Jack approaching the finish of Nanny Cay’s beach Broadsword Communications
The trimaran Triple Jack regained her Round Tortola Record on Thursday October 25th having flown around the island in two hours, 40 minutes and 18 seconds, taking 10 minutes off Formula 40 Soma’s record time set in April 2010 (two hours, 50 minutes and 15 seconds).

The vintage 34-year old Kelsall One-Off shattered her benchmark time of three hours and 33 minutes set in the 2009 Round Tortola Race. She covered 39.0 miles with an average speed of 12.68 knots and a top speed of 20.6 knots. When Formula 40 Soma broke the record, she sailed 45 miles, averaged 15 knots and reached a top speed of 25.4 knots.

With Miles Sutherland-Pilch, general manager of Nanny Cay, onshore calling the start, Triple Jack crossed the transit of the corner of PegLegs Restaurant and the western tip of Peter Island at 12.10pm. With an almost perfect southeasterly blowing, she started close to Peter Island and flew up the south side of Tortola on starboard tack before bearing off for the spinnaker hoist off Scrub Island.

Only about a third of the way along the north side of Tortola, the crew had to douse the chute and fetch to Soper’s Hole under genoa. Triple Jack wiggled through this potentially time-sapping area of mixed currents and winds relatively painlessly before beating over to St John. From St John it was, in theory, one straight shot back to Nanny Cay where every header had the crew anxiously looking at their watches. Owners Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis were now feeling the pressure, exacerbated by being fed the wrong elapsed time – 10 minutes more than reality. However, Steve carefully worked Triple Jack upwind along the south side of Tortola finishing only 100 yards off Nanny Cay’s breakwater.


'It was a great BVI sailing day made even better by getting our record back,' said Richard. 'We have waited a long time for the perfect weather window and a 20-knot south-easterly was it. The crew work was fantastic, Mike Hirst played the mainsheet like a man possessed! We had our moments, like having to cut our spinnaker halyard to drop it; the attempt could easily have gone the other way but it was beautiful sailing out there.'

The crew comprised Richard Wooldridge, Steve Davis, Mike Hirst, Miles Fossey, Henry Leonnig and Tom Echle.

On congratulating the crew, Miles said: 'I must admit I didn’t think they’d do it. I thought they’d need more breeze than we had and was a bit surprised when I got the phone call that they were through Soper’s Hole. That said, they did a great job and I’m glad to see that Triple Jack can still give the younger generation a run for their money!'

The crew were presented with a bottle of Drappier by Eddie Brockbank of TICO and celebrated with a team dinner in PegLegs Restaurant. The $250 entry fee has been donated to the BVI Humane Society.

Nanny Cay launched the Nanny Cay Challenge for the round Tortola record in 2010. Yachts visiting the British Virgin Islands are invited to make an attempt to beat the latest round Tortola records.


The monohull time to beat of four hours, 15 minutes and five seconds, was set by Dave West’s Jurakan, a Melges 32 in the 2009 PegLegs Round Tortola Race. It’s an all-comer, any-day event, starting and finishing off Nanny Cay. Competitors must attempt the record anti-clockwise and round Beef, Scrub Island, Great Camanoe and Guana Island to port. An entry fee of a $250 donation to a BVI charity of the challenger’s choice will include two night’s dockage (before and after attempt) at Nanny Cay.

As with most sailing events, the reward is in the taking part and bragging rights but record breakers will be able to celebrate their feat with a free dinner at PegLegs for up to 15 crewmembers and a jeroboam of champagne compliments of Nanny Cay. Record breakers also get their name on the perpetual trophy which is on display year-round in PegLegs Nanny Cay website

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