Bob Phillips has been the Interline Regatta’s race officer for more than 14 years. On Friday he was preparing the committee boat before leaving The Moorings for the first race of the regatta.

According to the race officer, there were 20 boats competing, with a fleet of 40 boats in the regatta. Six teams from various airlines sailed aboard 41-, 43- and 51-foot boats.

“The teams look pretty hot,” Mr. Phillips said.  “It is going to be a lot of fun watching them.”

Despite a smaller turnout, he  was looking forward to an exciting regatta.

“The turnout is a little light this year, but the quality is up,” Mr. Phillips said.  “The more serious people came. They recognise the quality of the event. It is the type of [regatta] they like to do.”

The race officer described the courses as “point-to-point.” The boats are “new and fast” and should zip around the courses despite light winds, according to Mr. Phillips.

This year’s regatta did not include Anegada, but stops were made at Norman Island and Cane Garden Bay.

“We wanted to take them to different parts of the BVI,” Mr. Phillips said.

The opening ceremony was held last Wednesday, while the awards ceremony was held Tuesday at The Moorings.

Avril Hypolite, The Moorings Customer Service Assistance Manager and Interline Regatta local coordinator, made sure the participants were taken care of on and off the boat. Prior to the regatta, she visited all the restaurants and bars that the sailors would stop at to make sure that they were well stocked. She was on the water with the fleet for five days to make sure everything ran smoothly.

She tried to rationalise this year’s smaller turnout.

“I am not too sure if it is the economy,” Ms. Hypolite said. “Maybe everyone is holding back for the 30th [anniversary.]”

However, she was happy that the event was held here and not elsewhere. In September, The Mooring only had 10 to 15 boats. According to Ms. Hypolite, the event helps kick start the “high season,” which provides an important boost to the local economy.

“It is normally the start up the season — it really sets the pace,” she said. “It is small, but we are hoping to have an even greater time so everyone comes back next year.”

Thomas Klok and Claus Baerentsen of Denmark were representing CimberSterlings airline. The two were hanging a mini disco ball on their boat before heading to the starting line for the first race of the regatta on Friday.

“It is our good luck charm,” Mr. Klok said.

The team has been bringing the disco ball to the regatta for the past seven years, but the airline has been sponsoring a team for the past 15 years.  Messrs. Klok and Baerentsen have sailed in the regatta for the past eight years.

In 2007, the team came in first place, while winning three races. It also took home the Best Team trophy.

“That was our best year by far,” Mr. Baerentsen said.

He was unsure what to expect this year and was reluctant to make any predictions.  

“It is hard to say,” Mr. Baerentsen said. “Our competitors are strong. It will be very close. We are just out here having some fun.”

Mr. Klok is part of the ground crew for the airline, while Mr. Baerentsen is a pilot. He is also the skipper of the boat. This year’s team had six crewmembers, with two new sailors.

“The location is beautiful and it is fantastic sailing,” Mr. Klok said. “I think all the destinations are great, but I think the lay day at Saba Rock is gonna be pretty fun,” Mr. Klok said.

He added that he looks forward to seeing the teams each year, like Team FedEx who were competing after a year hiatus. “The camaraderie is great,” Mr. Klok said.

Aside from the sailing, the event also boasts parties each night on ashore.

“We take the parties very serious as well,” Mr. Klok said.