Tuesday March, 29, 2016, Tortola, British Virgin Islands – The BVI Sailing Festival Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup and Nanny Cay Challenge started promptly at 09:30 on Tuesday morning in seas a little rougher than normal due to last week’s high winds, and an easterly breeze of 18+ knots. The trimaran Triple Jack, owned by Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis (BVI), charged off the start to an early lead in the CSA Multihull class, making its way around the island in corrected time of 3:46:38, taking first place overall in the 2016 Nanny Cay Cup.
Woolridge commented: “It was a beautiful day for it, the wind was perhaps a little more than forecasted, blowing a good 18 at the start and gusting 20+. We had a very fast trip down the north side with the spinnaker up, jousting with SPOOKIE and while they started after us, it was great finishing before them. We did break our main halyard on the last beat up from West End and there was also a large cruise ship in West End which made tacking through the Narrows interesting.”
Davis said: “Having raced Triple Jack since 1998, improving our performance over the years has been a combination of racing conditions and doing a lot of work on the boat as she was built in 1979. She’s like an old MG so we do have to be a little careful!”
Penalized by an over early in the start of the CSA Racing Class was not enough to hold back TP52 SPOOKIE, owned by Steve and Heidi Benjamin (USA) from taking first in class. More significantly, however, SPOOKIE broke the Monohull Nanny Cay Challenge record in an elapsed time of 3:08:43, a whopping 21 minutes off the previous record of 03:29:44, set in March 2013 by Peter Corr’s Aiyana, an Alia 82. With a new record under his belt, Steve Benjamin, SPOOKIE’s skipper, was one happy guy when his boat pulled into the dock after a fantastic ride around Tortola.
“We were really trying to get inside that record for the Nanny Cay Challenge,” Benjamin explained. “Once we got into the lead after our over early start, we beat all the way to the top of the island, fetched the rocks at the top then set a fractional code zero and took off on a screaming reach which was beautiful and proceeded to get lifted on starboard as the wind went right, so we set our 4A, our bigger spinnaker. I guess we hit 21 knots, saw gusts to 23 and had a beautiful run down the back side of the island, making it in one jibe and planing a lot of the time. It was really fantastic!”
The team will certainly enjoy their Nanny Cay Challenge prize: a jeroboam of “Drappier” champagne, sponsored by Tico, a BVI distributor, dinner for 15 crew at Peg Legs restaurant at Nanny Cay, and a donation of $250 to benefit BVI youth sailing, which the team has generously matched.
In the Racing class, John Bamberger’s Canadian Farr 45 Spitfire was also over early at the start, having to return to the line along with SPOOKIE, while the remainder of the 11-strong fleet took off in a tight bunch. TP52 Team Magnitude – Conviction, skippered by Doug Baker (USA) initially took the lead before being caught by SPOOKIE and finishing second in class. Quokka-Performance Yacht Charters, the Grand Soleil 43 skippered by Christian Reynolds, took third.
Renato Faria and his Brazilian team steered his Dufour 500 Ventaneiro 3 to an early lead and first place in the CSA Cruising Class, followed by Peter Hopps’ British Sigma 38, Sam of Hamble who have competed twice before with Patricia Nolan’s Moorings 445, Seabiscuit from Tortola.
Warvor, the Sunsail 44i skippered by Willem Ellemeet and his team from the Netherlands took first in CSA Bareboat, with Larry Caillouet’s Sunsail 50, Mary Jewell from Kentucky, USA in third place in the competitive Bareboat fleet.
Wednesday takes the fleet racing to Scrub Island, located off the north east end of Tortola, for the Scrub Island Invitational. Race start time is 1000 and the exact course will depend on weather and conditions. An afternoon of relaxation and fun is planned for crews, their families and friends on the island.
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Image © Todd VanSickle