Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Organized and run by the Loyal West End Yacht Club on February 11 - 12 2006, the 28th annual Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta was held with ideal sailing conditions both Saturday and Sunday. Jolly Roger Restaurant hosted the event with great food, live bands and Mount Gay specials, with nearly free t-shirts at their booth. Saturday morning looked like the possibility of a blustery rainy day, but shortly before the first start, the rain left while the wind held all day long blowing a steady 15 - 19 knots, with a light easterly swell.
Saturday's race course involved schooners and single-handed racers, starting in the cut between Sopers Hole and Frenchman's Cay, rounding Little Thatch to starboard, through the cut between Steele Point and Great Thatch, around Sandy Cay to port, the Great Harbour entrance bouy to port at Jost Van Dyke, and back through the cut into Sopers Hole for the finish. The first to cross the finish line on elapsed time was "Snap" from St. John, with a time of just less than two hours, followed by the 83 foot, 1926 built, Herrschoft designed "Mary Rose" just minutes behind after making a late start.
Fourteen single-handed sailors competed in an inverted start format with the slowest yacht on a calculated rating, started first, and the rest of the fleet started at different intervals. The smallest boat in the fleet was a 13' Laser, sailed by a BVI local and crossed the line in 6th place! "Tiger Maru" sailed the course in nearly the same elapsed time as the large schooner in the class ahead, with local yacht "Ruffian" coming in a close second on elapsed time.
sailing up Drakes Channel
On Sunday the start area was the same location as the day before, for the Classics, Wannabees, and Sweethearts Couple racers, with the course being a long upwind leg to Flannigan Island off St. John, over to Pelican Island taking both to port, giving the racers a long downwind run to Little Thatch, with a starboard rounding and finishing upwind in Sopers Hole. "Diva," a vintage meter boat, converted with high tech rigging and sails sailed the course in 2 hours 24 minutes elapsed time with a wild spinnaker run down Drakes Channel.
The Tortola Island Sloops also competed in the regatta, getting plenty wet and having a lot of great sailing and fun! One couldn't have asked for a better sailing venue than that was offered by the "Loyal" West End Yacht Club and the Jolly Roger Restaurant and Inn!
Island sloop passing Little Thatch
after crossing start line
83' Schooner "Mary Rose"
sailing for the finish line
First place winners in each class:
class 3 Safari IV - Todd Huff
class 4 Snap - Robbie Hoyt
class 5 Mary Rose - Thomas Bradford
Tiger Maru - Julien Davies
class 1 Nicola II - Michael Boyce
class 2 Gerda K - Lianna Jarecki
class 3 Diva - Dr. Robin Tattersol
class 4 Ushuaia - Morgan McDonald
Tempest - John Haravichet
Island Rose - Mark Hale
Check our Photo Gallery for more photos of the Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta.