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BVI’s Rathbun Wins Pete Sheals

The annual Pete Sheals Memorial Match Race regatta, hosted by the Royal BVI Yacht Club, was won by Colin Rathbun of the BVI! His team defeated William Bailey’s St Thomas team in the final, 2-0. Third place went to Andrew Water’s and his team, also from the BVI.

The invitation-only event is in its ninth year, and is raced in one design IC-24 keelboats. This year there were entries from the USA, St Thomas and St Croix, as well as the BVI. The regatta was raced just off Nanny Cay Marina, providing an ideal vantage point for spectators. The weather was very kind, providing varying wind conditions to challenge the crews. As a result there were no weather delays, and the “round-robin” qualifiers were raced all day on Saturday. There was a further set of round-robin races on Sunday morning, leaving four qualifiers for the semi-finals – Rathbun, Bailey, Waters and Leo Vasiliev of the USA.

The best of three race semi-finals resulted in further elimination for Waters and Vasiliev, with Waters subsequently winning the third-place match. The stage was therefore set for an epic final, since Rathbun and Bailey were the highest placed qualifiers in the round-robins.

In the first race of the final, Bailey gained an early and substantial 5 length lead on the windward leg. Rathbun was able to make up the gap on the first downwind leg, and with an exciting overtaking maneuver, took the lead into the second windward leg, and retained it to win the first race in the best-of-three. In the second race the pressure was on Bailey’s team to win in order to stay in the final, and they received a penalty in the pre-start. Rathbun then took an early and commanding lead which was never in danger, going on to win the race and tournament.

Colin Rathbun and his crew. Photo by Traci O'Dea.

At the prize-giving, Mr Rathbun pointed to his crew as the reasons for his team’s victory – stating that “In match racing it is all about the team”.

Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the race, and the RBVIYC is hoping to attract more teams to build upon the great success of this year’s events. Anyone who is interested should contact the Club at +1 284 494 3286, or [email protected]

The RBVIYC wishes to thank all of the sponsors and supporters for this year’s event, including Golden Hind Chandlery, Tortola Express, Nanny Cay marina, Peg Legs, Island Yacht Management, KATS, Lime, Latitude 19, Conch Charters, Tim Dabbs and Sue Durham. Special thanks go to Pete Sheal’s parents, Norman and Yvonne, for their substantial donation. Thanks also to all of the RBVIYC volunteers and to Don Makowiecki, David Deveres and Bill Canfield for travelling from overseas to umpire & oversee the event.


Results: 1 Colin Rathbun (BVI), 2 William Bailey (USVI), 3 Andrew Waters (BVI), 4 Leo Vasiliev (USA), 5 Morgan Dale (USVI)


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