By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Despite being hit by two Category 5 Hurricanes—Irma and Maria—within 12 days, the message from the BVI Spring Regatta Organizing Committee is strong and clear.
“We will be racing again! We want sailors to know to plan to come back and race in 2018,” says Regatta Director, Judy Petz who has been helping coordinate immediate supplies and fund raisers since disaster struck. “We are determined that in six months time, the 47th BVI Spring Regatta will go ahead. It might look a little different, but we’ll still be putting on a great regatta.
Petz said she has been overwhelmed by the offers of help and support from the event’s ‘regatta family’ and followers around the world.
Visiting yachtsmen she said, will make an important contribution towards the recovery of tourism and the economy in the region.
“Let it be known the British Virgin Islands will be open for business,” Petz stated. “Please, don’t put off your plans! It is intended that the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, located at Nanny Cay Marina will run from 26th March to April 1. 2018. It might not be in exactly the same format, but the organizers are focused on continuing with their plans.”
She stated that It may seem a little premature to start reaching out to sailors and to talk of planning events when the daily lives of so many are still in turmoil, but one of the best ways to support and help rebuild the islands is for sailors who have been welcomed here so warmly, continue with their plans to join the regatta as part of their Caribbean racing circuit. This she noted, will help rebuild the country, restore tourism and the future of these wonderful islands.
Petz noted that Nanny Cay has supported and hosted the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival for many years and has been badly affected like the rest of Tortola and its neighboring islands. Progress, with the support of the Royal Marines, she added, is happening daily. She also noted that the Nanny Cay team and community have been working tirelessly since the disaster. The Dunkirk-like and Caribbean spirit prevails and has seen everyone working together: staff, residents and the local community to start rebuilding in order to continue to host events and support the marine industry on which so many rely.
“It’s all about people coming together in order to win, that’s our message,” Petz said. “Together we will come through this. Just like crew on a boat have to pull together to win a regatta, working together we are all winners and as we know, it takes a lot of hard work, preparation and determination in order to compete.”
Petz added: “Racing a boat requires a strong team, all working together as one, and that’s just what we are seeing on the ground on all the islands. That’s why the BVI Spring Regatta will come together and we will have a regatta this season. For those who want to come back to race or cruise the BVIs, we welcome you. The community needs your support.”