Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta
held annually Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands is the Mecca for sailing which lends to the assemblage of some of the largest sailboat racing fleets for sailing regattas in the Caribbean. The diversity of organized sailboat regattas in the BVI is one thing that makes sailing here in the BVI so unique. Regattas of all types spanning from a "whatever floats race," where crews bring their "boats" to the regatta, assemble them, and set off racing, to high level international match racing regattas.
The BVI Spring Regatta, held on the waters off the capital island of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola, attracts about two hundred fifty yachts annually for the event. All types of racing classes are spread out on five separate racing courses, from beach catamarans to eighty-foot maxi racers. The charter boat fleets also have a large racing class, giving those that don't have their own yachts based in the British Virgin Islands, the opportunity to compete in the fabulous venue, with steady trade winds and warm waters. The IC 24 class, which is built here on Tortola, also assembles a large sailing fleet with an international blend of sailors. This upcoming year will be the twenty-ninth running of the Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta, that has a diverse fleet of the "oldies but goodies" wooden boats and also gives the vintage fiberglass yachts of decades back an opportunity to test their skills against each other on a more even playing field.
Lasers at the Escape BVI Regatta
Smugglers Cove, Tortola, BVI
On nearly every weekend during the season, which starts in October and goes through the end of July, one can find all types of regattas being held - from groups of junior sailors in small prams to the larger fully crewed keelboats. Several organizations in the British Virgin Islands also hold racing clinics throughout the year for both juniors and adults to hone in on their racing skills. One of the better-known sailing clinics in the British Virgin Islands for teaching sailing and sailboat racing for the children of the BVI is the Kids and the Sea (KATS) program, which are in their sixteenth year of operation.
In the British Virgin Islands, there are three main yacht clubs that maintain a busy regatta calendar during the year. The yacht clubs based in Tortola and Virgin Gorda sponsor the majority of the regattas in the BVI. The water sports oriented resort Bitter End Yacht Club of Virgin Gorda, hosts a variety of regattas held during the year on the Gorda Sound. The Bitter End also sponsors a Pro-Am regatta that attracts some of the world's best sailboat racers from the top tier America's Cup teams along with amateur sailors that are given a chance to sail with and against these well-known sailing personalities.
Racing with Spinnakers during the
2006 BVI Spring Regatta
Based in Tortola is the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club that among being the sponsor of the BVI Spring Regatta, hosts a plethora of regattas during the year from dinghy races to keelboat regattas. Loyal West End Yacht Club holds many "fun" type regattas that attract many of those racers that love to compete, but also to have loads of fun doing it, with great parties and prizes for all that sail.
If you are one that likes sailboat racing, whether watching from a spectator boat or actually joining in with a crew, the British Virgin Islands is truly one of the finest places to participate in a sailing regatta in the world. For more information on regattas in the British Virgin Islands, please visit Regattas.