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Peg Legs Round Tortola Race

The annual PegLegs Round Tortola Race organised by the Royal BVI Yacht Club will take place on Saturday, November 20th.  This 36-mile event is in its 41st consecutive year of running and this will be the third year in a row that the fleet will undertake a complete circumnavigation of Tortola, starting and finishing off Nanny Cay.  

After numerous line honours in the Round Tortola Race since her arrival in the BVI in 1997, Triple Jack managed to claim overall victory in last year’s race.  In conditions seemingly made for this trimaran, she circumnavigated Tortola in three hours, thirty-three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, setting the round Tortola record. She beat closest rival Jurakan, a Melges 32, by 42 minutes across the line.  Jurakan currently holds the monohull record of 4 hours, 15 minutes and 5 seconds.

Triple Jack, winner of the 2009 Round Tortola Race. Photo courtesy of Nanny Cay.

With the wind blowing from the south-south-east, unheard of in its 40-year history according to race veteran Peter Haycraft, the fleet was predominantly able to sail directly to Beef Island and once on the north side reach directly to Soper’s Hole.  Once there, however, the lottery of the fickle winds played havoc with some competitors’ finish times but not Triple Jack’s – she “rattled through” in three painless tacks.

Because of the light winds and excellent wind direction, the Nanny Cay sponsored Triple Jack, a Kelsal 47, was able to carry full main, spinnaker and half-furled genoa almost the entire length of her northern run along Tortola, allowing her to really stretch her legs and put time between her and the rest of the fleet.

“It was six tacks, one gybe for the entire race,” said Richard Wooldridge, skipper of Triple Jack.  “Sail area wise, if there had been another five knots of wind we would have been a bit over-pressed on the shy reaches.  But with that mainsail, genoa and that kite we had, we were perfect, just absolutely perfect.”

Following the same format as the last two years, classes will start in the Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay and then head anti-clockwise around Tortola. After the beat East up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the fleet will turn the corner at Great Camanoe and head on a downwind run to West End where, after a quick wiggle through Soper’s Hole, it will be a beat back to the finish off Nanny Cay.

Registration will be held at the Royal BVI Yacht Club (RBVIYC) from 6:00 – 8.00 pm at Friday 19th November.  Notice of Race, Entry Forms and Sailing Instructions will be available at registration or can be downloaded at the RBVIYC website, www.royalbviyc.org.


Classes will be racing, cruising and multihull with all eligible for the overall prize. The first start will be 9.05 a.m. for the cruising class, following by the racing and multihull classes at 9.35 am. Nanny Cay Marina will be providing free overnight dockage for competing boats based outside Nanny Cay on Saturday night.  The post-race party begins at the Beach Bar as soon as competitors finish with the prizegiving at 6.00pm.

For further information on the Peg Legs Round Tortola Race, contact Captain of Sailing, Guy Phoenix, at the Royal BVI Yacht Club e-mail: [email protected] or telephone (284) 494 3286.

While Triple Jack still holds the record for fastest circumnavigation of Tortola in the Round Tortola Race, the outright and multihull record is now held by Soma, a Formula 40.

Soma, a St John-based catamaran and frequent BVI visitor, smashed the Round Tortola Record on April 15th in the first, and so far only, attempt on the Nanny Cay Challenge announced in February.  Soma circumnavigated Tortola and outer islands in 2 hours, 50 minutes and 15 seconds smashing Triple Jack’s record set in last year’s PegLegs Round Tortola Race. The Nanny Cay Challenge is an all-comers event for multihulls and monohulls. The monohull time to beat of 4 hours, 15 minutes and 5 seconds, was set by Dave West’s Jurakan, a Melges 32, also in last year’s PegLegs Round Tortola Race; there have been no challengers since then.  Competitors must attempt the record anti-clockwise and round Beef, Scrub, Great Camanoe and Guana Island to port.  An entry fee of a $250 donation to a BVI charity of the challenger’s choice, includes two night’s dockage (before and after attempt) at Nanny Cay.

As with most sailing events, the reward is in the taking part and bragging rights but record breakers are able to celebrate their feat with a free dinner at PegLegs for up to 15 crewmembers and a jeroboam of champagne compliments of Nanny Cay Marina.  They’ll also get their name on the trophy which will be on display year-round in PegLegs.  To enter the Nanny Cay Challenge, challengers should contact Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager, Tel: (284) 494 2512, [email protected].

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