bag of ice
That’s what I needed for my hands after sailing 21 races this weekend in the IC24 class at the BVI Spring Regatta. We had 8 races our first day, 7 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. If the idea of sailing 16 sausages in one day sounds exhausting, it is, but that’s what the racers ask for and at the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola the PRO didn’t mind making it happen. The builder and the local fleets have worked hard to build the class almost entirely from grass roots work. At this event, the class buys a few cases of beer, throws it in a cooler and invites all of the racers, new and old, to hang out before joining the fray of ‘the tent.’
The other element they added to the race course was umpires. There’s no room to wonder if you hit the mark, or fouled someone, because more than likely the umpires were there to see it and rule immediately. Rather than feeling like there were cops on a course that never before required them, the umpires reeled in the people who notoriously push the envelope, and penalized the guys who went in too close at roundings after they were told not to, etc. After racing, the umpires joined us at the beer cooler and fielded questions about their rulings, making it a learning situation for all involved.
These teams follow the same fleet building party / fun idea like the Melges Class, but without the big marketing dollars. Colin Rathbun who skippered the 2nd place boat LIME says the sailors “love the class because they are low maintenance one design boats with great competition. Every year more new people get into this boat and quickly learn to race.” LIME by the way, is a local mobile telephone company who sponsored this team’s racing for the second year in a row. There was also a boat sponsored by a rum company who contributed to the end of day beer cooler…
And like the Melges class (or to hear Clean tell it) there was the nuttiness that makes it all worthwhile…one boat had to pull their very overhung skipper out of bed so they could leave the dock, there was a team who wore blue striped wigs to race, and another who sang Spanish shanties while waiting for breeze.
Conditions this weekend followed the regular regatta host mantra of: “This wind is not what we usually have here.” The light and shifty wind came off the land for the first two days of the regatta on our race course. Saturday a windless blanket covered all of the racing circles until late in the day. But on Easter Sunday the Sir Francis Drake Channel finally provided what the organizers wanted and we had great breeze coming straight down the channel in sunny 80 degree weather. Unfortunately for me, great breeze wasn’t what these blistered hands needed, but it’s hard to whine when you’re racing in Tortola. – Paige Brooks.