The 51st BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is under way, and everyone is invited.

“We’re aware we’re known for sailing, and we’re famous for that, and now we want more people,” said Spring Regatta Director Cayley Smit. “We want to open our experience to everybody to feel like they can come down here.”

Hosted by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina, the seven-day event kicked off on Monday with registration followed by two days of “warm-up” races on Tuesday and yesterday. The main event — the three-day Spring Regatta — will start tomorrow morning with more than 60 boats from 13 countries crewed by people from more than 20 countries, according to organisers.

“We’ve got a full house at Nanny Cay Marina and many amazing boats here ready to race,” said Ms. Smit, who succeeded long-time regatta director Judy Petz last year. “The weather looks good.”
Regatta activities will continue until Sunday, when they will wrap up with an awards ceremony and entertainment.

“The regatta is a coming together of people who love sailing,” said regatta press officer Trish Jenkins. “They either got their own boat, or they paid to go on a boat. They don’t want to just cruise their boats. They want a little bit of competition in beautiful warm waters, beautiful hot racing, and cool parties.”

Activities on land at Nanny Cay are also planned at the Regatta Village, which is scheduled to open to the public today with a ceremony featuring Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley and performances by the Heritage Dancers, fungi bands and other entertainers.

The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is also hosting a maritime heritage art display.

Preliminary events

As registration began Monday, sailing teams arrived at Peg Leg’s at Nanny Cay or went out to sea to practise.

Tuesday marked the first day of racing, with the Round Tortola Race, which saw winds up to 24 knots.

“The north in the breeze made it very tactical going up the south side of Tortola, with boats hugging the shore and a lot of ducking and diving to find a lane to get off the south shore,” VI sailor Chris Haycraft, who raced on his Corsair F 31 Ting-A-Ling II, said in a regatta press release. “The current was running high, so the waves were steep depending on what boat you were on, but once you turned the corner at Scrub [Island], that was it: It was just fun and games.”

The overall winner on Tuesday was Allegra, a custom catamaran owned by Adrian Keller of Switzerland. The boat, which was racing for the first time in the VI, took the Nanny Cay Cup by sailing around Tortola with an elapsed time of two hours, 45 minutes and 45 seconds.

Yesterday, the racing continued with the Scrub Island Invitational, where boats raced to the island and stayed there for the afternoon.

This year’s race, designed to give sailors the opportunity to enjoy Scrub Island, will be the sixth, according to organisers.

Largest sporting event

The Spring Regatta began in 1972 as a two-day event with a few dinghies racing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Today, it is the largest sporting event in the VI and the third-largest regatta in the Caribbean.

For more information about the regatta and sailing festival, go to