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Smooth, Seamless…

Smooth, Seamless, Successful: A peek behind the scenes of The BVI Spring Regatta – By the time the first week of April is over then no sooner has the last tent peg been pulled and the vestiges of the four-day sailing bonanza has been cleaned up. It is then that the organizers of the annual BVI Spring Regatta meet up to review the good, the fantastic and the things to be changed for next year.

Miles Sutherland-Pilch, general manager of the host venue, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina in Tortola, is a key contributor to these discussions. Nanny Cay became host and presenting sponsor for the BVI Spring Regatta in 2002 and is responsible for providing and managing much of the physical logistics for what has become the third largest regatta in the Caribbean.  


The organisation of the Regatta is a year-round job with various committees in place to ensure that all shore side and on-water activities run smoothly.  “We regularly meet with the BVI Spring Regatta Committee to discuss what’s new, and how best to integrate any changes in the layout of the village whilst maintaining an uninterrupted flow of daily service,” said Miles.

As well as allocating slips and dockage for incoming yachts, the Nanny Cay team works closely with the BVI Spring Regatta Committee to oversee the installation of the Regatta Village, address irregular issues and liaise with the local task forces on planned parking and health, safety and security measures.

While the planning and preparation for the event is year-round, the Nanny Cay maintenance crew starts work in earnest about two weeks before the event providing much needed labour.  This can range from re-wiring the electrical stands that Nanny Cay puts in to serve the vendors, erecting lighting, raising marquees, to opening up areas with backhoes to provide more parking for the throngs of BVI residents that attend the evening events.


The event and venue couldn’t have been a better fit as the BVI Spring Regatta increased its marketing efforts to attract over 140 boats, 1500 international participants and 4000 visitors to the Regatta Village. The largest full service marina in the BVI with 180 slips, it is no stroke of luck that Nanny Cay Resort and Marina has the capacity to accommodate the swell in numbers from competitors. Amenities and facilities of the resort and marina continue to improve reassuring event organizers and sponsors that visitors will sail away with a favourable experience of the BVI.


From a handful of tents and stalls in the early years, the regatta village is now a full entertainment venue with the ubiquitous beer tent, popular BVI restaurant concessions, vast dining marquee, stage (which is now a permanent fixture next to the pool) with mega-speakers, nightly live bands, and a large video screen broadcasting the day’s racing action, the BVI Spring Regatta committee has steered the course to create a ‘must attend’ national calendar fixture.

The 42-room hotel has now been completely refurbished and Nanny Cay has added upscale, water front two- and three-bedroom luxury townhouses, with more to come. 

Marina guests can freshen up in the luxury shower facilities and additional restrooms and make use of the freshwater swimming pool, tennis court and WiFi.  The provisioning store, the fully stocked chandlery, the sail loft, and other onsite ancillary boat service providers expect to do a brisk trade in replenishing, restocking and repairing.


With two restaurants on-site, coffee shop and ice cream shop (which does a roaring trade!), and the restaurant concessions in the regatta village there’s good choice of breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshment stops dotted around the resort.

Each afternoon of the BVI Spring Regatta, the Regatta Village teems with people catching up on old times, or discussing victories and near disasters. Residents of the BVI add to the festive atmosphere as they drop in to grab a bite to eat, meet up with friends and dance to live music until the Village bar serves its last drink and the party comes to a close.  Nanny Cay’s crew is ever-present to ensure that the party  continues with garbage removal, toilet checks and keeping the power going.  “It’s the unglamourous, and generally, unseen things, like emptying garbage skips and cleaning the toilets, that are so important to the overall experience at any event.  We’re proud to say that our team understands this, ” added Miles.


The BVI Spring Regatta aims to reduce waste by 30 percent and run a Clean Regatta for 2009. Various initiatives such as recycling refillable water bottles and increasing the number of garbage receptacles are expected to help achieve the goal.

The Nanny Cay team has been on task for weeks in advance and will remain on duty until the end of the event.  Along with the indispensable help of scores of volunteers and sponsors from the BVI community, Nanny Cay and the BVI Spring Regatta committee are on target to a deliver yet another smooth, seamless and successful BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. 


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