51st BVI Spring Regatta ends with light wind conditions

BVISR Spinnaker
Boats flying their spinnaker on the downwind leg of the 51st BVI Spring Regatta.

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway.

Winds or lack thereof which even cancelled Sunday’s racing division events, was the talking point of the 51st BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival.  

“We started the week with 20 knots of wind and ended on four knots. Everyone performed and we had a great week of sailing,” BVI Spring Regatta Chairman Chris Haycraft, who won Best BVI Boat on Ting A Ling II, winning the Sport Multihull with one second and four firsts. “Only a few classes got races today over on Norman Island and it changed a few places.”

Except for a third placed finish in Saturday’s final race, the BVI’s Sam Talbot’s Spike, a J111 dropped four picked fences to claim the CSA 3 with seven points. He said his boat likes light winds. “Boy, this one feels really good. We’ve been trying to win this class in this regatta for nine years now. And we’ve been following boats like El Ocaso, Liquid and fighting these guys—fierce competitors—and finally, finally on the last regatta, we got the win,” Talbot told Island Sun Sports. “Spike has been sold, unfortunately, so this is our last year racing on it. We’re coming back to the Spring Regatta, don’t worry, but on a different boat.”

Talbot said he has a solid crew, and the conditions suited his boat. “Spike is good in light winds,” he said. “We try to use the same guys every year. We mesh well, we have a good time on the boat and that’s what makes it fast.”

Steve Denure/Terry McLaughlin’s—McLaughin a 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games silver medalist on a Sunsail 41 Sul Vento, put up four bullets to fend off 93-year old BVI 1984 Olympian Dr. Robin Tattersall, who had all second place finishes in Bareboat II. They won the division with four points and Dr. Tattersall has eight.

“It’s a miracle,” Dr. Tattersall told Island Sun Sports of being able to participate in his 48th BVI Spring Regatta. “It’s great. I have a great team. I just sail the boat so I know we can do well. I can’t think about the tactics anymore, my mind won’t let me, that’s why I have other people doing it.”

Jon Desmond on his Mills Final, Final, navigated the race days with no less than two second place finishes to win the CSA 1 Division with seven points. The real battle however, was between England’s Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Lombard 46 and the USA’s Bruce Chafee R/P42, who entered Sunday’s final day tied 12-12, but didn’t get to race.

“I started sailing down here 20 years ago with my father on Affinity and did this event a bunch of times, so it’s really special to come down with my kids 20 years later, do really well and have a win,” Desmond said.

Dr. Schlessinger said Final Final and Rikki are fast boats. “We were surprised we were placed,” she said. “We’re grateful.”

St. Croix’s Peter Stanton’s IC-24, Big Island, who had a 2-ponts edge over Jerome O’Neil’s J39 Crystal in Performance Cruising B, turned it into a six points victory with five picket fences.

“My brother (Chris) and I have been coming to this regatta since we were 15 years old on Jersey Devil since1999 when we won it, and we love coming to this regatta,” he said. “We love sailing around and the hospitality and everything BVI has. The conditions were a little light this year, but it was gorgeous seeing the BVI. We always want to come back to this regatta. It’s the best in the Caribbean, I would say.”  

Walter Keenan’s Beneteau Libertas won Jib and Main, with seven points while Chris Chart’s First 44.7,  Salica 1, edged St. Croix’s Fuzzy Stoddard’s Bad Decisions, 14-15. Stoddard won the Guy Eldridge Memorial Award for Spirit and Enthusiasm. “Our boat has been historically known since 1980 as Annick II. I took it over a couple years ago and rebuilt it,” Stoddard said. “Everyone has either raced on my boat or against my boat.”