By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Visitors sailors from 16 countries on 90 different boats, were expected to drop around $5 Million in the territory’s economy, during the 48thBVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival that wrapped up Sunday with a prize giving in Nanny Cay, after four days of racing over six days.
“We had a great year, the weather Gods didn’t smile, they frowned a bit, but at the end of the day, we had wonderful racing,” BVI Spring Regatta Chairman Bob Phillips told Island Sun Sports. “Tuesday, for the Round Tortola Race we set new records; Wednesday, it was another day of just great racing up to Scrub Island. They got to see a lot of the geography, outside of Salt, outside of Ginger and then on Friday, they sort of took a hiatus, but we got some good racing in. We got three races per day.”
Phillips said that Saturday, it was obvious that it needed to be a beach day in White Bay and a wonderful tour around the BVI. With no wind and races cancelled, Phillips said they had boats going over to Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Salt Island, the Willy T and he even had lunch at Cooper Island.
“It was spotty early in the day looking down,” he said of the wind, after he and Race Committee Chairman David Brennan went to Sage Mountain to look at the Sir Francis Drakes Channel. “It was obvious that it was not going to be fair racing. The goal of the regatta is for the racing to be fair.”
In explaining why races were cancelled on Saturday and not on Sunday, despite similar conditions, Brennan who has been head of the Race Committee for the last 18 years and ran events in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as well as several Sailing World Championships, said after visiting Sage Mountain, it looked thin and flat, with a lot less wind early on Saturday.
“We knew that the weather was going to be a little bit better today—not a lot—and people come to regattas for a lot of different things and racing it part of it,” he noted. “They also need the social part, they want to go to Anegada, Norman, over to Jost Van Dyke, wherever they want to go, snorkeling, diving, all that. That’s part of why they come to the BVI. So, giving them a day that’s not going to be so good a racing, they get a lay day off, they can go with their families, friends and snorkel, dive and have lunch, is a good thing.”
He added: “Conditions weren’t great, but they were better on Sunday, than they were on Saturday. The breeze had already filled in across the course, not as much as I would like, but around five knots in the beginning, enough that we knew the good breeze was going to fill in up around Salt Island passage. We waited until 10 o’clock when we had our first signal, set up the race committee, set up the course and that’s when we had our racing.”
Phillips said that under the gun on Sunday, the Gods looked down, grinned a bit and they had enough wind to get some good racing in.
“Out on the course between Norman and Peter, they had a little thermal action and they got three races in,” he noted. “The race boats were up in the lee of Salt Island passage, they had some good races and got two races in and their races were longer. But, overall, I don’t think we had a single comment that said anything other than we did a wonderful job.”
Henry Leonnig’s Fire Water won the Best BVI Boat, after winning Racing 3, with 7 points. Dr. Robin Tattersall at 88, the oldest competition, won Bareboat 3 with five points.