10 - 15 April 2017

Oyster Regatta BVI 2017

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11th April 2017

Race Day One

The 39th Oyster regatta in the British Virgin Islands got off to a fine start on Tuesday 11th April 2017. Winds built to 15-20 knots, shifty under the clouds and the fleet enjoyed a great race in two classes.

John McTigue's new Oyster 625 Irish Blessing was just behind Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean in Class one, with Sotto Vento Oyster 655, third.  Dick Hammill, determined to defend his class win in his first ever regatta in the Oyster event in Antigua last year on his Oyster 575 Spirit, found the right wind shifts as the yachts passed through the Salt Island Passage and stamped his mark with a good win in Class two. Newcomers Solway Mist – Oyster 46-08, and Seashells of St James – Oyster 46-06 – enjoyed close racing to take 2nd and 3rd respectively.

With a fancy dress party at the Norman Island Pirates restaurant tonight, the fleet rounds the day off swapping tall tales and challenges for day two.

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Oyster Yachts

class 1 results - sponsored by Raymarine
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Starry Night82-14Starry Night1
Irish Blessing625-16John McTigue2
Sotto Vento655-07Richard Smith3
Dama de Noche82-09Alan Parker4
class 2 results - sponsored by Raymarine
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Spirit575-28Dick Hammill1
Solway Mist46-08Cristian Pizarro2
Seashells of St James46-06Mark Salisbury3
Jigsaw53-01Ian Galbraith4

12th April 2017

Race Day Two

With an unusual forecast of southerly winds and less than 10 knots, dying in the afternoon, day two of the Oyster Regatta set challenges for the race officer, Oyster CEO David Tydeman. With the enthusiastic support of the fleet – despite the lively pirates party of the night before – racing started at 0950 with staggered starts over 40 minutes. Setting a short upwind leg to the south west, the fleet left Norman Island and Peter Island sailing anticlockwise around them to then have a short spinnaker run to Dead Chest Island. Dead chest is sometimes used by the local police as a firing range and to their surprise the peaceful sailing was briefly interrupted by gunfire! 

Both classes sailed the same course for this second race sponsored by Lewmar and finishing times were encouragingly close with only 11 minutes separating the largest and smallest yachts in the fleet on corrected time.

Dick Hammill seems to be set to repeat his class win from the Oyster Antigua Regatta in 2016 with two wins in the first two days – he commented "We’re relative newcomers to Oyster regattas since we took delivery of our Oyster 575 in May of 2015. Our first experience was last year in Antigua and now here we sit in the BVI amidst another wonderful gathering of owners and crews, spirited racing and ideal weather.
"We now have two wins under our belt and the anticipation for the rest of the week is running high. Thanks to our skipper’s tactics with the cruising chute on the final leg on day one and a wise choice to elect to use fore and aft sails on day two, we have enjoyed a great couple of days.
 
"While racing fills the days, the evenings are consumed with wall to wall camaraderie - meeting other owners and crews from around the world, sharing sailing stories, toasting victories and enjoying foods distinctly Caribbean. Where would one rather be?
"

By luck the flat calm forecast for Thursday coincides with Layday and most yachts are heading for Anagada Island for a day of beach fun.

Racing continues on Friday and Saturday, with the Round Gorda race likely to be moved to Saturday as the new breeze kicks in.  With four yachts from the UK and four from the USA, a team challenge has developed – with the USA team strongly in the lead after the first two days – all to play for in the next two races. And in Class one, Starry Night Oyster 82 is level pegging with John McTigue's new Oyster 625. This is Starry Night's "Silver Jubilee" 25th Oyster Regatta and she is determined to take home the silverware.

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Oyster Yachts

class 1 results - sponsored by Lewmar
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Irish Blessing625-16John McTigue1
Starry Night82-14Starry Night2
Dama de Noche82-09Alan Parker3
Sotto Vento655-07Richard Smith4
class 2 results - sponsored by Lewmar
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Spirit575-28Dick Hammill1
Solway Mist 46-08Cristian Pizarro2
Jigsaw53-01Ian Galbraith3
Seashells of St James46-06Mark Salisbury4

15th April 2017

Days Three - Five

The 39th Oyster Regatta relaxed into a series of beach parties and games ashore. Some went out on Lasers & Hobie cats, drifting rather than sailing in the almost complete calm that covered the British Virgin Islands from Thursday to Saturday.  Judged by all the participants to be one of the most successful Caribbean regatta's for a while, the message we've heard many times before came ringing out loud and clear – Oyster Owners just enjoy their yachts and each others company!  Racing or partying or just chilling out, these events provide a wonderful mix of exclusive opportunity to swap tales, plan future adventures and share experiences

Swamped with prizes from Dolphin Sails and Pelagos – who had sponsored the aborted race 3 and race 4 – the race management team enjoyed deciding why they should be awarded to participants for non-racing reasons! A hugely popular first award was the Layday prize to John McTigue for hosting a great outing to Anagada Island.

Richard Smith on his Oyster 655 Sotto Vento was honoured as the owner who had completed the most miles in Oyster events – 30,000 miles of the 2013/14 World Rally and 21 Oyster Regattas!

Mark Salisbury on his Seashells of St James Oyster 46 was awarded the 'Spirit of the Regatta' prize for his sterling efforts and no complaints whilst sailing short-handed without enough crew.

Cristian Pizarro shipped his Solway Mist Oyster 46 from Palma specially for the event and the 12 crew were a full complement of four specialist paediatric surgeons and their families – definitely earning the 'Commitment Award’. 

The four USA yachts – Solway Mist, Seashells, Irish Blessing and Spirit – took the team awards – beating the UK team of Jigsaw, Starry Night, Sotto Vento and Dama de Noche.

Overall, with only two races to count, the places were decided on count back.  To great applause as a very popular winner of Class 1, John McTigue on his new Oyster 625 Irish Blessing just pipped Starry Night Oyster 82 in second place.  3rd went to Alan & Susan Parker on their Oyster 82 Dama de Noche.  

In Class 2, Dick Hammill on Oyster 575 Spirit matched his class win success of the Antigua 2016 event, with Solway Mist a very popular second, just ahead of regatta stalwarts Ian Galbraith and his regular chums on Jigsaw.

The prize giving closed out to lively dancing in to the early hours and a resounding commitment to 'see you all in Bermuda May 2018'.

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Oyster Yachts

class 1 results - sponsored by Dolphin Sails and Pelagos
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Irish BlessingOyster 625John McTigue1
Starry Night82-14Starry Night2
Dama de Noche82-09Alan Parker3
Sotto Vento655-07Richard Smith4
class 2 results - sponsored by Dolphin Sails and Pelagos
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Spirit575-28Dick Hammill1
Solway Mist46-08Cristian Pizarro2
Jigsaw53-01Ian Galbraith3
Seashells of St James46-06Mark Salisbury4

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