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Outer marina buzzing as boats prep for BVI Spring Regatta

Today was a day of prep and practice, onshore and offshore for a full weekend of racing ahead. Blue skies and a 15 knot breeze motivated many of the 66 boats registered to race this weekend’s BVI Spring Regatta to take advantage of a perfect day on the water to polish maneuvers, while others were preoccupied shoreside getting equipment race ready.

The support for this 47th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta from sailors in neighbouring Caribbean islands has been terrific. From Antigua, Shannon Falcone (two times America’s Cup winner over six challenges, two Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, Transatlantic, Transpac, Bermuda and Rolex Sydney Hobart Race record holder) has brought Falcon, his DNA F4 carbon 46-foot foiling One Design catamaran, to race in the multihull class.

Falcone, the primary developer behind the exciting cat which has some 1000 miles of open water sailing logged on the exciting cat, said he’s still refining details.

”It’s the smallest big boat – systems-wise on board it feels like a big boat,” Falcone explained. “We just raced her in the RORC Caribbean 600 in crazy conditions not meant for this boat – she’s best in 16+ knots and flat water so we’re hoping the breeze keeps up over the next few days.” Check in with Falcone if you’re interested in buying his boat – it’s for sale!

The Dark Star team, from Puerto Rico, is excited to be racing a boat new to them this year, trading in a J/105 for a 2012 McConaghy 38. Paul Beaudin has worked with the team for many years and is helping get the boat, which they raced in St Thomas last weekend for the first time, up to speed.

”We finished last but she’s a rocket ship and very fun to sail – a submarine with a mast. We’re very committed to being here to show solidarity and show up for these races even if there’s just a keg on the beach. As soon as you pull out of Nanny Cay and see where you are sailing, it’s a win-win. We’re excited to be here and if nothing else, we’ll win the party!”

Another team from Puerto Rico racing in Jib & Main is Estela, a new Grand Soleil 52 LC owned by Luigi and Estela Miranda. The boat is a sports version with racing specs – taller mast, longer keel, lower boom – and the Miranda’s are excited to race it for the first time in the BVI.

”We’ll do our best on the new boat and we’re very happy to be here,” Luigi said. They sailed the boat to St Thomas last week for the STIR regatta, towing their IC-24 which Luigi sailed in his first IC-24 race ever, placing 8th in class.

Peter Stanton got race practice in today after sailing the Melges 24 Boogaloo across to Tortola from St Croix. Stanton, who resides in St Croix, said he thinks his first BVI Spring Regatta was in ’96, when he was 14, so he’s hoping local knowledge will pay off this weekend. He’ll be looking out for the Reflex 38 Touch To Play Racing, which beat Boogaloo in St Thomas last weekend.

”We’ll be trying to keep pace with Touch To Play and better, we’ll see after the first day! Whatever, this Regatta is great, the village, the marina, sailing in the BVIs – what’s not to like?”

Blitz, the King 40 owned by Peter Corr which he keeps in Tortola, is making its comeback after sustaining damage in Hurricane Irma. Blitz raced for the first time since Irma in St Thomas last weekend, taking second in class.

”It’s just taken a lot of time to get Blitz up and running, we literally put her in the water the night before St Thomas so didn’t have any practice. We had a great session today and will build on that this weekend. We’re lucky to be here and are ready to go!”

The event is truly excited and appreciative that so many boats, crew, friends and family have made the effort to attend BVI Spring Regatta this year.

BVI Governor Gus Jaspert said: “Thank you all for coming here – the choice you have made was actually the best you could have done for the BVI recovery. If you are telling anyone else, the best thing you can do for BVI is to come here to have fun, to have a brilliant holiday, which you will, and to enjoy our fantastic waters, our fantastic people, our fantastic islands. That’s the best way to support our recovery going forward, so thank you very much for being here and have a great regatta.”

In the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay, the Annual Mount Gay Red Cap Welcome Party on Thursday evening opens three days of great racing at the 47th BVI Spring Regatta starting on Good Friday.