Bigger, better, stronger – the 48th BVI Spring Regatta is back

31 March, 2019 – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – “It was thrilling to see this place buzzing again!” Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager of Nanny Cay Marina enthused after a fantastic week-long fun-filled event that saw more than 800 sailors on 90+ boats competing. “It's been incredible to be part of the BVI rebuild and this week to be out on the water on a boat that was recovered from Irma and to win in class. I can't thank everyone enough for making this happen. Next year is going to be even better!” Sutherland-Pilch raced with Team Nai'a on Odyssey, a Beneteau First, in CSA Jib & Main 2.
Taking his second consecutive overall win in division in the Offshore Multihull class, Flow, the Gunboat 60 owned and skippered by Steve Cucchiaro (USA) took two bullets today in two races to finish with 6 points. Fujin, the Bieker 53 catamaran owned by Greg Slyngstad (USA), took second, also with 6 points. “We needed to win both races today to catch up with Fujin, our toughest competitor – the racing was great and we really enjoyed this regatta. Race Committee did a wonderful job.”
The Russian team from St Petersburg took first in CSA Racing 1, on the TP52 Conviction, owned by Clint Brooks (Barbados) finishing with 7 points, just one point ahead of the Carkeek 47 White Rhino, owned and skippered by Todd Stuart (USA).
Blitz, the King 40 owned by Peter Corr (USVI), and a boat that is always difficult to beat, took first in CSA Racing 2 with 9.5 points, barely taking out Team McFly (GBR) on the J/122 El Ocaso in second with 11 points and the Swan 25 Samantaga (BEL) in third also with 11 points.
David Sampson, Blitz' tactician said, “We had half a point lead going into the second race and fortunately had a great race. There was a huge left shift at the start, our trimmers did a great job and allowed us to extend every leg. This is one of my favorite regattas anywhere – it's a fun competitive class that makes us want to come back, the atmosphere has been fantastic.”
Winning CSA Racing 3 and the Best BVI Boat, Henry Leonnig from Tortola and his crew on the Melges 24 Fire Water said, “I'm truly humbled to receive this award after living in the BVI for 16 years. My crew were fantastic, we were determined to win today and had great starts – in race 2, which was pin-biased, we executed flawlessly and sailed really well. It was a great regatta.”
Jeremy Jablonksi (USA) owner/skipper of the Hanse Avanti won Performance Cruising by just one point over longtime racing friends on the GS52 Cachondo, owned/skippered by Jose Teixidor (PUR). “We lost to Cachondo in the first race and knew we needed to beat them in the upwind leg of race 2 as they have a bigger kite and taller mast so do better in the downwind. It was an amazing play of minds and sail trim – just fantastic!”
The Corsair 31 Island Hops skippered by Mark Sanders (BVI), racing his first BVI Spring Regatta in the boat, handily won the Sport Multihull division with an 8-point lead over second place Maytrix, a Corsair Sprint 760R, skippered by Richard May (BVI).
Andy Lippman (USA) owner/skipper of the Swan 48 Catch 22 was thrilled to take first in CSA Jib & Main 1, taking bullets in all five races sailed. First time racing Spring Regatta, Lippman and wife Annie winter in St Thomas and have more experience ocean racing than round the buoys. “We didn't think that we would do as well as we did on the race course but had high expectations for a fun-filled week and it went beyond expectations. We sailed with three close friends on a good boat with good crew work, and the race committee were just great.”
In Bareboat 1, Charlie Garrard helming for Team Merlin (SAIL) won class on Jada, a Moorings 48, and in Bareboat 2, Blowing the Blues Away, a Moorings 45, helmed by Mike Graham took first, two points ahead of Jim Proctor on Senior Moment, a Moorings 45. Proctor also won The Guy Eldridge True Spirit & Enthusiasm award. For the past six years Proctor has been bringing friends to BVI Spring Regatta to race and have fun – this year his group chartered five boats, showing awesome support for the event.
Local legend 88-year old Robin Tattersall helming Midnatt Solen IV won Bareboat 3, redeeming a free Sunsail charter boat he won last year in the International Yacht Club Challenge. “I didn't expect to do this again but when they gave me a charter, I couldn't resist! We had a wealth of experience on board this week with an average age of 72 years – I relied on everyone else for sail trim, they all told me what to do and I just tried to sail to whatever they told me!” Tattersall was again awarded the International Yacht Club Challenge … and another Sunsail charter for 2020.
The Regatta was thrilled to welcome a new fleet this year, the Hanse class. Tony Teixidor, owner/skipper of the Hanse 455 PortoMar was racing for the first time in 16 years on his new boat which was delivered to Nanny Cay in January. He took five bullets in five races sailed.
BVI dignitaries were present at the prize giving, welcoming the entire regatta fleet to the BVI and presenting prizes. Judy Petz, Regatta Director noted that the event was expanded the event this year to include more entertainment and businesses in the Regatta Village. “We wanted to help generate more income for local businesses and charities,” Petz said. “Our message for 2019, “Building BVI Back, Bigger, Better, Stronger,” was heard and embraced by the sailors and visitors from around the world who absolutely helped us accomplish that goal. The backbone of the event are the people who make it all come together – we have such dedicated volunteers giving up to 14 hours a day to create its success on and off the water.”
Thanks to every participant in this year's BVI Spring Regatta. See you in 2020 – March 30-April 5!
Final day video highlights at the 48th BVI Spring Regatta 2019 © Ashley Love/ –
– Michelle Slade


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