By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After three days of competitive racing, St. Thomas’ Peter Corr’s Blitz, a King 40, won six of seven races to dominate the Racing I Division in the 46th BVI Spring Regatta, that wrapped up on Sunday, after doing the same in the St. Thomas International Regatta last weekend.
Besides Corr, the BVI’s Chris Haycraft and St. Thomas’ Fritz Bus pulled out narrow division victories.
“The key in St. Thomas, was tuning the boat and making it right and then we came over here, we had three days, we cut some sales, we tuned some things up and the results showed,” Corr explained. “We got six wins and a second. Today it was light win and we went left and I didn’t know until we crossed the line that we were second. It was so close—16 seconds—but the competition is so darn good. That’s what makes it for me.”
Racing Division 2 had the regatta’s closest finish, with the BVI’s Chris Haycraft’s Pipedream edging Great Britain’s Tony Mack Beneteau First 40, Team Fly Joana by ½ a point, 20-20½. After five races, Mack was in control of the division with 9.5 points, but the battle began heating up in race six.
“On Friday, we ended up in third place and we were very happy, we were good with that,” said Haycraft who won Best BVI Boat. “Saturday, we were in second, 5½ points behind first place and we were very happy with second place. This morning, we went out there, very light air, our boat loves light air and we went for it. We decided we’d push hard. We decided to go left on the first beat, and off we went. That was it. Victory by half a point and it’s sweet. Sorry for the losers and we’ve lost plenty, so it’s sweet to win again.”
In the IC-24 Class, the seesaw battle between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands Frits Bus and Colin Rathbun, saw Rathbun erasing Bus’ two points 9-11 advantage at the end of day one for a three points 15-18 advantage over Bus heading into Sunday’s finale, after Bus finished fifth in Saturday’s final race—the ninth on the two days.
But Rathbun stumbled out the blocks on Sunday and was disqualified and Bus has a scoring penalty in the last race as both settled on 27 points but Bus won on countback with Bus having 5-4 edge over Rathbun in victories.
“Colin Rathbun is probably one the best IC-24 racers and it was basically a match race between us,” trimmer Chuck Pessler said. “We had an amazing battle with Colin. He’s such a competent sailor, so we feel really honored to beat him. I think this is the first time I’ve ever beaten him, so I’m very pleased to have accomplished that.”
With two victories, John Carrol’s Gunboat 62 Elvis, held a five points advantage over Stephen Cucchiaro’s Gunboat 60, Flow, 2-5, but Jim Vos’ HH 66 Nala, who was one-point back of Cucchiaro, finished second on Sunday to edge Vos 8-9, while Carol secured the class win with another victory.
The Jib and Main Division saw the USA’s Jeremi Jablonski Avanse, a Hanse 43, nursing a three points lead over the BVI’s Keith LiGreci’s Girasoli, a Jenneau 38 Oddesy, 7-10. Both had leap frogged early leader Peter Hobs and Sarena Alexander’s Sigma 38, Sam of Hamble who had 13 points. A fourth place finish in the final race put LiGreeci further back, solidifying Jablonski’s class win with 9 points.
Just three points separated the C&C30’s, heading into the final day of racing. Julian Mann’s Don’t Panic, with BVI’s Alec Anderson aboard, sat on a one point, 12-13 splinter over Trey Sheen’s Nemisis, who was two points ahead of Walt Thirion, Themis’ 15. Man’s second place finish in the last race gave him the victory with 14 points.
St. Croix’s Joe San Martin, racing in CSA-Multihull, the Teegull 2300, Piglet, put up all picket fences to secure the division.
In the bareboat class, the USA’s Bob Beltrano’s Sunsail 44i NALA, won four of the five races to seal the division ahead of Presley King’s Sunsail 44i, Team Sunsail, 6-9.
“Everyone we’ve talked to, because we do a lot of exit interviews with all the competitors, they’ve loved it,” BVI Spring Regatta Chairman Bob Philips said after last night’s closing ceremony. “We had some trying weather conditions, they said we handled it with grace, poise and did the best job we could of. We had a wonderful time. We had great boats, great people and the BVI has really benefitted from the Spring Regatta, again.”