Light air challenges BVI Sailing Festival Fleet on first day of racing
A tauntingly light breeze of 5-7 knots out of the south was enough to get 50+ boats starting in the Nanny Cay Cup, the first event of the 2017 BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Rather than the usual Round Tortola Race, conditions favoured a 16 NM course starting in the channel off Nanny Cay and taking the fleet around Pelican and Flanagan Islands. The breeze built a little around the islands offering up a fairly steady 7-8 knots throughout racing.
Racing in the CSA Racing division, Runaway, the Andrews 70 skippered by Doug Baker (USA) completed the course in the shortest elapsed time of 1:41:43, taking home the 2017 Nanny Cay Cup. Spike, the J 111 helmed by Sam Talbot (BVI) took second in division, while Taz, the RP 37 owned and skippered by Bernie Evan-Wong (ANU) placed third.
The X41 Godspeed helmed by Peter Steinkogler (AUT) took first in the CSA Cruising fleet, ahead of Roosta, the IC 24 skippered by Pat Nolan (BVI). Sam of Hamble, the Sigma 38 skippered by Peter Hopps (GBR), took third.
In the CSA Bareboat fleet, Team Merlin-Sohcahtoa skippered by Charlie Garrard (USA) took first, followed closely by Sail Experts-Dauntless Five skippered by Petr Kochnev (RUS), and in third place was BYRA-La Belle Vita, skippered by John Fourqurean (USA).
In the Multihull Division, first place went to Little Wing, the Antrim/Perry 52 skippered by Ron Boehm (USA), and Wildfire, the Edel Cat 35 skippered by John Hayes (BVI), took second.
In the Offshore Multihull Division, the Gunboat 66 Extreme H20, owned and skippered by Pat Benz (USA) took first, followed by NALA, the HH 66 and skippered by Jim Vos (USA) in second. The Gunboat 60 owned and skippered by Phil Lotz (USA), took third.
Racing on his home turf in today’s challenging breeze had its benefits for Sam Talbot, a BVI local racing J111, Spike.
”We sailed really well actually and were flying upwind. It was the final run that really got us but overall we were really happy with our race,” Talbot said, all smiles. “Local knowledge was handy with the laylines, knowing exactly how close we could get to the rocks and deciding where we could hold, it definitely came in handy. Second time around Pelican there were a lot of worried people on board,” Talbot joked.
Talbot is racing with mostly his regular crew on board with a few extras along for the ride today until the more serious racing begins later in the week. When asked who he’s watching out for this week, Talbot didn’t hesitate for a second, “El Ocaso!”
Taz has sailed with mostly the same crew this winter, which has helped the team’s progression, Bernie Evan-Wong said. “We’ve been really pleased with our end results, we’ve been racing the same boats the whole time and relatively, we’re racing well.” He’s hoping to continue that trend this week and today saw the team off to a good start.
”It turned out to be quite a challenging race,” Evan-Wong said. “The light wind was good for us, though, because we just did the Caribbean 600 and it was very similar conditions with breezes of 6-7 knots. Today we tuned the rig for light wind and our target upwind was close to 7 knots, and on the reach we were about 8.”
Andrew McIrvine (GBR) skipper of Team Larry-Olympia’s Tigress has returned to the BVI for the first time since 2003, and he’s not sure why it took him so long to return. “It’s beautiful, yesterday we did an exploratory for the Round Tortola race so we did see a lot of the BVI scenery yesterday which we would have missed today given the change in course.” His team placed 8th overall today, a little plagued by the light air.
”We’ve had a couple of days of practice in a bit more wind but the sail inventory on this boat – which is the same as mine back home – is very different,” McIrvine said. “We made a slight miscalculation with the wind shifting. We beat Arthur, our sister-ship, which is important but we can do better than that I am sure. Today was the day for lightweight flying boats – Beneteau First 40s dislike under 10 -12 knots, then they wake up and behave!”
On Wednesday, the fleet heads to Scrub Island for the next event in the BVI Sailing Festival extravaganza, the Scrub Island Invitational. Back at Nanny Cay at 7.30pm is the second showing of Vanishing Sail, a historical film about building the Carriacou sloops.