Oyster’s 2017 BVI Regatta

 

“Regatta” means “a series of yacht races”, but both this year as well as last, we found the social gathering of like-minded sailors from many different countries to be as much a part of the experience as the racing itself. So many great yachts – so many great crews.

Last year at this time Spirit won her class at the Antigua Regatta, a high bar for us this year. As the largest boat in our class, we had to overcome an approximate 12% handicap against our competitors. We were ready for the challenge. The photos below pretty much tell the story.

Race one from Nanny Cay, Tortola, ended at Norman Island. The winds allowed us to use our spinnaker on the final leg, which literally pushed us across the finish line for a first place in our class. Erik, our skipper, creatively used the spinnaker as an upwind sail – highly unusual but effective!

For the second race from Norman Island to Scrub Island, we decided not to use our spinnaker, improving our handicap, but putting us at a potential speed disadvantage against the competition, all of which chose to use them. We had some mid-course doubts about our decision, but by poling out our jib on the final downwind leg we were able to achieve another first place finish.

Unfortunately, the winds died on the final two race days, forcing both races to be canceled. This was disappointing, but the beautiful beaches of the British Virgin Islands weren’t a bad place to hang out.

One conclusion: racing is as much an art as a science. After each race, the team reviewed and analyzed its performance – a refreshing exercise and I’m sure a factor in Spirit’s success.

In less than a month, Spirit will make another transit north to Newport via Bermuda for the summer season and highly anticipated sailing off the coast of Maine. Our stop in Bermuda will give us an opportunity to see some of this summer’s America’s Cup trials. Spirit will not be competing. 🙂

For a complete summary of the 2017 BVI Oyster Regatta CLICK HERE http://www.oysteryachts.com/events/regattas/oyster-bvi-regatta2017

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Spirit's race team

Spirit’s race team from the left – Erik, Leah, David, Dick, Nick & Pat

The track of race #1

Race #1 track

Looking back at the rest of the fleet in the Sir Francis Drake Channel

Looking back at the rest of the fleet in the Sir Francis Drake Channel

Spirit crossing the Race #1 finish line - showing off her spinnaker

Spirit crossing the Race #1 finish line – showing off her spinnaker

Race #2 track

Race #2 track

Spirit rounding the corner of Cooper Island

Spirit rounding the corner of Cooper Island

Spirit team receiving awards for finishing first in her class (minus Nick who add to leave a day early)

Spirit’s team receiving awards for finishing first in her class (minus Nick who add to leave a day early)

 

Spirit is alive and well

It’s been four months since our last post when we raced down to the British Virgin Islands from Portsmouth, Virginia – seems like just yesterday. Over the winter Spirit has been busy visiting just about every anchorage in the U. S. and British Virgin Islands with friends and a few charters. These sailing grounds are still our favorites – beautiful beaches, consistent trade winds, anchorages everywhere and wonderful snorkeling.

In April we’ll be participating in the 2017 BVI Oyster Regatta, a week of racing and socializing with fellow Oyster owners, then in May we plan to head west to the islands off the Eastern end of Puerto Rico – the Spanish Virgins. All this before once again Spirit heads north to make way for the Caribbean hurricane season. Our transit north to Newport will include a stop in Bermuda, which just happens to coincide with the America’s Cup races being held there – what a coincidence.

Below are a few recent photos of our beloved Virgin Islands – a reminder of why we keep going back.

A secluded beach on Guana Island

A secluded beach on Guana Island

A Friendly turtle stopped by

A Friendly turtle stopped by

Caneel Bay, St. John

Caneel Bay, St. John

Tarpon attracted to Spirit's underwater lights

Tarpon attracted to Spirit’s underwater lights

Just another pristine anchorage

Another pristine anchorage

A resting sting ray

A resting sting ray

Spirit moored at Marina Cay

Spirit moored in the center at Marina Cay 

Michael Beans joins us after his pirate share at Leverick Bay - Arrrh

Michael Beans joins us after his pirate show at Leverick Bay – Arrrh!

A typical BVI sunset

Another BVI sunset

A typical week's journey around the Virgin Islands

A typical week’s journey around the Virgin Islands

The Caribbean 1500 final results are announced

At a Friday night awards banquet at the Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola the results of the Caribbean 1500 mile race were announced – Spirit came in 2nd place in the Cruising A Division, was awarded the Tempest Trophy representing ironically the boat best reflecting the “spirit of the rally”, and also Leah, our skipper, was awarded the “Youngest Skipper” award.

The Tempest Trophy has been awarded each year since 1990 to the yacht that best combines seamanship, enthusiasm, and helping others, and fittingly was first given to a boat that also assisted another with a rudder problem. This award has a permanent home at Peg Legs restaurant in Nanny Cay and we’re humbled to have Spirit’s name engraved with the others yachts before us.

A sincere and thanks to the entire crew who joined me and made the Caribbean 1500 such a special event – Leah, Erik, Pat, Flora, and Brandon.

The Caribbean 1500 Fleet

The Caribbean 1500 fleet

Spirit's final stretch to a 2nd place finish

Spirit’s final stretch to a 2nd place finish

Leah representing Spirit's crew receiving the Tempest Award

Leah representing Spirit’s crew receiving the Tempest Trophy

Spirit's crew - Brandon, Erik, Pat, Leah, Flora & Dick

Spirit’s happy crew – Brandon, Erik, Pat, Leah, Flora & Dick