Oysters start off Nanny Cay – click to enlargeTwo crews, Mariusz Koper’s Polish Oyster 72 Kathlarsis II and John McTigue’s Oyster 56 Blue Dreams produced masterclass performances to lead their classes from start to finish in a 24 mile opening Lewmar sponsored race in this year’s Oyster BVI regatta from Nanny Cay to Cane Garden Bay on Tuesday. Making most of a port biased starting line and sparkling trade wind conditions, they quickly pushed their way to the front of their respective classes and continued to dominate the chase around the islands.

Mariusz Koper’s crew have been out enjoying these Caribbean conditions ever since competing in last winter’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), and the slick teamwork they have developed together certainly showed. After electing to carry a spinnaker, the Kathlarsis II’ crew made the most of their downwind sail round the back of Peter and Norman islands and back across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to not only lead the 23 strong fleet through the narrow Thatch channel and up to the Cane Garden finish, but saved their time against Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper’s larger Oyster 82 Oceana which had elected to go white sail only.

Chris and Susan Shea’s Oyster 72 Magrathea took third place in Class One just ahead of Richard Smith’s Oyster 655 Sotto Vento. Australia’s Terry Berkemeier and his wife Lori also had something to celebrate, after finishing on a high note in what was their first race aboard their Oyster 655 Gundamain. They overhauled five yachts during the chase through the channel dividing the Thatch Islands and neighbouring Tortola and final fetch north east to the finish, to beat two of the Oyster 82s across the line. “I’m pleased…We didn’t disgrace ourselves.” said Terry who is now showing every signs of having been bitten by the racing bug.

In Class Two, John McTigue’s crew on Blue Dreams certainly stamped their authority on the fleet to finish ahead of David and Tamsin Kidwell’s venerable Oyster 435 Twice Eleven with Ian Galbraith’s Oyster 53 Jigsaw taking third.

After racing to Virgin Gorda on Wednesday, LayDay fun at Bitter End Yacht Club on Thursday, and a race to Peter Island today, the regatta will finish with a race from Peter Island back to Nanny Cay on Saturday.


By Barry Pickhthall