As if the mélange of azure waters, silken sand and sparkling sunshine weren’t enough to lure you to the British Virgin Islands, the aqua antics of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival surely will. One of the largest regattas in the Caribbean, this glittering event is now in its 45th edition and runs from March 28th to April 3rd. It attracts over 100 high performance yachts from all corners of the globe, with competitors from the US, Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Canada, Ireland, Argentina and Germany all vying to clutch the coveted top prize. On the south side of Tortola Island – the largest of the British Virgin Islands – Nanny Cay Resort and Marina is ‘home base’ for the event. During the regatta weekend over 3,000 people visit Nanny Cay, keen to soak up the nautical ambience.
Image courtesy of bvispringregatta.org
The Sailing Festival kicks off proceedings with two days of warm-up contests, followed by the regatta’s three challenging days of adrenaline-fuelled racing. The event has the prestige of offering a different course every day and guaranteeing no two days of the same racing, as vessels pinball between 60 islands, islets and cays, the Francis Drake Channel, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Though it’s possible to charter a boat and race (using your family and friends as crew) or buy a crew position, many come to absorb the action from the shores.
Image courtesy of bvispringregatta.org
For the first time in the BVI Spring Regatta, this year sees a VX One fleet of eleven boats in the mix, with sailors from Australia, Canada, St. Croix and the USA making up the teams. The one-design sports boat has been making waves since its launch in 2011 and is one to watch, promising a fast ride and an asymmetrical spinnaker for thrilling downwind tactics.
Nightly Caribbean parties fuelled by jeroboams of champagne and endless rum and cokes culminate in a fireworks display to celebrate the regatta’s 45th anniversary at the end of the week. The question is, does one choose to languish with toes on teak, cut through the throng in competition or just join in for the after parties?
Image courtesy of allatsea.net
Victor Picks: British Virgin Islands
Scrub IslandImage courtesy of Scrub Island
Located just east of Tortola Island, the Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina is an idyllic 230-acre private-island hotel of 52 suites and sublime villas. Think three restaurants, three private beaches, and the Ixora Spa featuring products by Elemis.
Valley Trunk, Virgin GordaImage courtesy Valley Trunk
If you can’t bear to share, then consider the exclusive Virgin Gorda hideaway, Valley Trunk. This 19 acre, 16 bedroom private beachfront estate has been the private home of the Wildenstein family for 30 years and is newly available to rent in its entirety. It boasts its own private beach on the island and comes equipped with a cook, cinema, yoga instructor, spa therapists and a 68ft boat.
Necker BelleImage courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition
While we’re in the BVI, it would be remiss to not mention Necker Island – Richard Branson’s spectacular retreat. But if that’s reserved, you could consider chartering the Necker Belle private catamaran. This 32-metre vessel with four main cabins is one of the largest all-carbon multi-hull yachts of its kind, and comes replete with its own private submarine.
Sugar Mill RestaurantImage courtesy of Rosewood Hotels
Nestled within the rum house of a 17th century sugar mill, this restaurant – renowned for its fish and seafood – is heaving with romantic atmosphere. Redwood tables are laid with English china and an abundance of candles, and if you dine al fresco on the terrace you’ll enjoy mesmerizing views overlooking the beach and sea.
*Feature image courtesy of Arturo Miguel
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