- February 29th, 2008
- in Yachting
BVI SPRING REGATTA PREVIEW – Welcome to the 2008 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. For 37 years the BVI Spring Regatta has been bringing sailors together to race on the pristine waters of Drakes Channel. Our event keeps growing and this year we are expecting more than 160 boats with over 1500 sailors who will be provided with world class racing on three separate race areas.
Our volunteers, race officers, mark layers and judges, well over a hundred people, are dedicated to making this event everyone's favorite. We are known for innovation, having developed the rapid restart system, using different courses for different classes, and were the first to use on-water umpiring to keep the sometimes overly competitive IC24's out of the protest room. Our competitors asked for more sailing and to see more of the BVI and so we added the Sailing Festival, two days of fun racing with a layday at Bitter End in North Sound. Sailors can either begin the Festival from Nanny Cay or start from St. Thomas. A new series this year is the Virgin Islands Raceweek. Sailors can participate by racing in the St. Thomas International Rolex Regatta, the Sailing Festival and BVI Spring Regatta. Although our handicap system of choice is the Caribbean Sailing Association Rule, we also offer IRC scoring.
Yes, we certainly have superb racing, but don't forget the great entertainment we're serving up nightly in the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay Marina; dancing on the beach, local delicacies, great drinks, good friends. We've truly got it all.
For all of you who have come from neighboring islands, countries or from afar, you have the chance to take home awards and great sailing, but we hope you’ll take home an extrordinary race experience that will keep you coming back for more.
History of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
It began in 1972 as just an idea sparked by a love of the Virgin Islands’ waters, the warm steady tradewinds and the picturesque scenery. Local sailors felt it was the right time to organize a major regatta, bareboat charters had established themselves in the BVI, there were small Squib and Sunfish fleets and a number of privately owned yachts. Additionally, the BVI sailing contingent had a five-year history of organizing sailboat races.
As members of the then BVI Hotel and Tourist Association, Peter Haycraft, Albie Stewart and others, used their influence to establish the first BVI Spring Regatta. Over 20 boats, including Squibs, competed in the first regatta which was won by the yacht Nutmeg skippered by Alex Forbes of the United Kingdom.
The very next year, with the formation of the BVI Yacht Club, the Spring Regatta became a joint effort between the BVI Yacht Club and the Hotel Association. From its early success the BVI Spring Regatta has grown in size and strength due largely to the support of racing enthusiasts from around the world who return year after year to compete, and the people, businesses and Government of the BVI.
In 2000, the BVI Spring Regatta was the first to introduce separate start and finish lines on a windward leeward course. This enabled the race committee to individually tailor the length and number of races sailed by each class on the course. In 2003, the event went through another major transition. Organizers felt it was time to expand, including more days of racing and more time to enjoy the BVI both on and off the water. Thus, the Sailing Festival was born. 2004, the Nations’ Challenge Cup and the Around Virgin Gorda race were added to the schedule. In 2005, it was the addition of yet another race area set up specifically to accommodate one design sailing and for 2007, re-involve the sailors in the protest process by having some serve on a Protest Committee.
Today, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is one of the Caribbean’s premier annual racing events. It has developed a reputation for serious competition and serious partying.
By popular demand, the event has evolved into six days of non-stop racing action and seven nights of partying. Throughout the week, Bitter End Yacht Club and Nanny Cay play host to participants with parties and prizes designed for those that sail and those that just want to have fun. The Regatta Village at the Nanny Cay Marina takes on a carnival-like atmosphere with food, drinks, games, music, dancing and other forms of entertainment for landlubbers and yachtsmen who converge to eat, drink and make merry.
Racing enthusiasts who have experienced the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival return year after year for fun, the great weather, and the innovative race management.