Friday, 6 November 2009

Bitter End Yacht Club - Visit to Anegada

Start of Second Leg of Race to the Baths. Image copyright Anna Tunnicliffe.

by Anna Tunnicliffe

After three days of racing at the Bitter End YC ProAm Regatta here in the British Virgin Islands, we have a lay day which includes a trip to Anegada. The six pro’s and nearly 40 guests participating in the event are taking the day off to relax, snorkel, and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean weather.

I was invited to participate in this event earlier this year, and after hearing what a great event it is, I committed to coming, and I have no regrets. I am one of the six pro’s here, along with Paul Cayard, Ken Read, Keith Musto, Zach Railey, and Wild Card entry Craig Albrecht.

The event started on November 1 when the guests participated in a half-day regatta which was a qualifier for the finals held later this week. That morning I went windsurfing to get in a bit of a workout, but competed in the racing that afternoon in a Hobie Wave.

The second day was a long distance race down to the other end of the island to an area called the Baths. There were multiple types of boats racing, but I was racing in one of the four IC24’s. Onboard I had my husband Brad crewing for me along with two other guests, Kat and Larry. We had a couple of great race down there and back, with the first three boats finishing the first leg within 15 seconds of each other. Zach took the low road the whole race, and stayed a bit more offshore than Keith and me. Despite being ahead of Keith for most of the race, he got the better of us on the last reach to the finish, as did Zach who pulled out the better pressure right at the end to take line honors. Once we reached the Baths, we moored our boats, swam to the spectator boats, had a lunch and snorkeled, and then started racing back to the BEYC at 2pm. The race back took a bit longer as it was mostly upwind the whole way. Luckily the waves were not too big and the wind wasn’t too strong, so it was quite a pleasant ride home. The race again came down to three boats. This time Craig was in the mix, rather than Zach, who had decided that he was going to try his offshore strategy again but this time it failed miserably. Craig took line honors, and Keith again, passed us in the last reach to the finish. We had a good time and were looking forward to the next day’s racing.

Kat and Larry Hard At Work. Image copyright Anna Tunnicliffe.

Yesterday was the start of the actual ProAm Regatta. The regatta has a racing format called triple racing. The idea of triple racing is to score a point by winning the race, however, there are only three boats racing at a time. Match racing and team racing are legal during the races, so second and third in the race can gang up on first to pass them back. We completed seven races yesterday, with three more scheduled on Thursday morning. I struggled a bit with the racing yesterday, but finally won the last race to put one point on the board for me. It was an important race to win too for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was the last race of the day, and we wanted to win the race back to the dock, but also because it was against Paul and Kenny, two very talented sailors. My teams did a fantastic job all day long, and I had a great time with all of them.

It is a great regatta where the guests and pro’s are learning, and everyone is having a wonderful time. The top four from the triple racing advance to a match race final on Friday. I have a bit of work to do on Thursday to make it, but it is possible with a couple more wins.

This morning, Brad and I are off to go for a hike/run up one of the hills here on the island. It is quite a rugged trail, but a great workout, and great views along the way. Then off to Anegada.

On Sunday, Brad and I are flying to Korea for the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Awards.

Anna Tunnicliffe
Bitter End Yacht Club

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