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Spring Regatta and 2014 BVI Race Schedule

Spring Regatta Village

Spring Regatta Village
Spring Regatta Village

Spring Regatta through the Ages

Photography by Todd VanSickle

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival (BVISR) tagged ‘warm water ~ hot racing’ is a universally admired and relished event. Set for March 31 – April 6, this is the 43rd annual celebration of this special occasion that caters to an international range of racing.

With three unique bodies of water—the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Sir Francis Drake Channel—and 60 islands and cays, BVI sailing is incomparable – a driving factor for the BVISR’s phenomenal success.

Whether individuals opt to race, cruise, practice or enjoy the social atmosphere, the event that attracts a worldwide audience promises to please everyone who participates. Spanning a week, the regatta escorts racers throughout the stunning islands, starting at Nanny Cay, Tortola and commencing with The Round Tortola Race.

Participants are given incredibly fun experiences and with a variety of shore side activities, there is entertainment for all and even more so for 2014.

Interviewing BVISR Director Judy Petz, it was apparent that the awesome achievement of a renowned regatta within the exclusive and secluded British Virgin Islands must have had a point of conception.

Spring Regatta Racing

“In the beginning, they raced smaller day sailboats; Squibs and Sunfish. The first winner from UK brought his boat over from St. Thomas, thereby starting an International event,” she said, explaining the origins of the regatta. “It used to be a weekend where it would be a race over to Peter Island or Virgin Gorda and a party there and then sail to the next location – once they had a great number of boats racing, they started organising it from a set place.”


Fashioning a name for the set of races that paralleled the season, the BVI Spring Regatta was founded in 1972 via a combination of efforts from pioneer Peter Haycraft and the Hotel & Tourist Association—now the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.

For over 10 years, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina has been the location for hosting the event and based on valuable reasons: “A beautiful beach, a great marina and lots of amenities,” said Judy.

Spring Regatta Racing
Spring Regatta Racing

With each successive year, BVISR seeks to evolve and 2014 is following sequence. “We’re trying to attract a couple of different classes that we haven’t had before,” Judy advised. “One in particular is called the J/70. It’s one of the fastest growing type fleet boats and we’re working directly with the J Association to try to offer them a very easy shipping method. With over 400 hulls in the States, we want to introduce them to a new place to come and race. We are also working with the St Thomas International Regatta as well.”

Spring Regatta Lay Day

With a return of the third course for 2014, which is a one-design course for boats like J/70s and IC24s, BVISR is maintaining the strong precedent of multiple options, solidifying universal involvement. “Also, we’re looking to increase our multi-hull class,” said the director. “I think regattas in general are trying to do this, so we’ve worked with CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) to ensure the proper ratings for the vessels and are still working diligently with our charter industry.”

Spring Regatta - Tortola Island Day

Providing more charter options for 2014 with companies like Moorings, Sunsail, BVI Yacht Charters, individual boats like Northern Child—a Swan 51—and many others, Judy’s intention is to retain audience diversity through expanded marketing.

Adding further variety and racing options for the regatta, the BVISR committee has continued to liaise with other yacht class organisations: “We are collaborating with the Swan Owner Association to return a full class of Swans as well as the Melges 32 class.”

This year, in collaboration with Geoff Brooks and Martin Van Houten, who are very involved with the traditional Caribbean sloop building trade skill in the BVI, education and Caribbean culture will be added to the Sailing Festival Layday.

Spring Regatta - Tortola Island Day - Model Sloops

“We’ve worked with the organisers of the August Festival shootout to assist with the new Spring Sloop Shoot Out,” said Judy. “There are now five sloops, with the addition last year of Intrepid and the newly constructed Endeavour II. Having these boats race during the week will allow visitors and local residents to see all their beauty and feel a part of the territory’s culture. It’s about embracing all of sailing – everyone is welcome…the Village is a wonderful atmosphere with people from around the world. There’s great food, great music, a huge bar and we have local vendors here too.”

With these developments and a progressive outlook, the future of Spring Regatta is as bright as a crystal ball. Judy commented that people are already contacting the BVISR office for the 2015 event from countries as far as China, Australia and Croatia, testifying to the wide spanning audience the event attracts.

Spring Regatta Village Entertainment
Spring Regatta Racing

Additionally, plans are reaching as far as 2016 – BVISR have been working for the last five years to get the RC 44s (Russell Coutts) to take part in Spring Regatta to which they responded with great enthusiasm for that particular year.

Concluding, Judy summarised the crux of BVISR: “Expanding through diversity of more boats and more people to introduce them to racing in the Caribbean. It’s a win for everybody—hotels, restaurants, local establishments, because the event brings such a huge crowd to the territory.”


Darkn’ Stormy – Anegada* – March 7 – 10

Rolex – St. Thomas – March 28 – 30

BVI Spring Regatta – March 31 – 6

Virgin Queen Pursuit Race – April 19

Beat to T, run for the rum – May 2

Anegada Pursuit Race – May 17 – 18

Foxy’s Wooden Boat Race* – May 23 – 25

Race to BEYC – June 13 – 14

Firecracker 500* – July 5

Guy Eldridge Memorial Regatta – July 26


Erin Paviour-Smith

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