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3rd Annual Scrub Island Invitational enjoys record fleet

by Michelle Slade 28 Mar 06:33 GMT 29-31 March 2019

"Hard to get to, harder to leave, impossible to forget" - a beloved cliché maybe but one that Brits Tony Mack and his wife Sally like to remember when they think about the BVI, and understandably so after today's 42-strong fleet raced up to the idyllic Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina, a private-island resort in the BVI, some 13 km to the north east of Tortola.

Today's course for the Scrub Island Invitational started off Nanny Cay in a delightful 12-15 knots from the south which held steady throughout the day. Mack and his Team McFly on the J/122 El Ocaso, narrowly won the Racing Division, beating sistership Liquid by just 48 seconds (corrected).

"It was quite close!" Mack said with a big smile. "We had a very good start, sailed most of the shifts up to Dead Man's Chest and were well positioned for the downwinder to the finish. Liquid is always a good gauge of how we are doing, they made us work really hard to get ahead of them." The Macks love the BVI and spent a week cruising on a Moorings charter boat prior to Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. He's become a regular to the event, bringing his J/111 crew out from England. He enjoys chartering the J/122 to race, commenting, "It's just much nicer to go downwind on a performance boat!"

Conviction, the TP52 chartered by "Kuli" Kulinichenko, the first monohull to finish in an elapsed time of 1:56:13, had a great race duking it out against E1, the Volvo 70. Mark Plaxton, from Tortola and Conviction's tactician said, "We were looking for line honors on the festive race to Scrub Island, setting the day's objective to beat E1. It was an exciting race, the lead shifted four times between us, just before the kite set off Ginger during our port rounding, they managed to truck below us. However, a lower VMG mode as the wind lightened paid off and with a bang-on jybe angle into the finish we passed the Volvo on the inside with a shorter distance sailed."

Kent Haeger - owner/skipper of the Gunboat 62 Mach Schnell - and his crew took first in the Multihull division with in 2:05:09 (corrected), followed closely by Gunboat 62 Coco de Mer in 2:08:53. Just five seconds behind in third was the Corsair f27 Whoop Whoop! Hailing from the lakes of Wisconsin where he sailed scows for many years, Haeger has been working up to the helming skills required on Mach Schnell. Transitioning last year from his Outremer 5X to the Gunboat Haeger said, "We wanted something more performance-based and we got it!" The Mach Schnell crew had a fantastic day sailing and are having fun lining up against similar boats in good competition.

Benoit De Grace, from Quebec, Canada, is having the best time racing for the first time on his Hanse 415 We'll Sea. He and his five crew took first in the Hanse Class - admittedly they had a fabulous local gun, Keith LiGreci, at the helm. LiGreci's been helping the crew learn to race these past few days. "I'd never raced a day in my life until yesterday," De Grace said, laughing. "I've been doing mainsheet and have learned a whole lot about trimming. I'm so used to cruising and keeping the boat flat to keep my guests comfortable! Keith gave us helpful tips today on the self-tacking jib which helped us on the downwind and it was there we managed to close the gap on the other Hanses' to win."

Rosalie Jennings, Event Manager at Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina was thrilled to have the fleet enjoy the facilities, especially the exquisite turquoise waters and stunning views from the venue. "Thank you on behalf of Scrub Island for your continued support and for spending time with us - it's a pleasure working with BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, and we will continue to do so!"

After two fabulous days on the water, the fleet will enjoy a lay day on Thursday. Registration for Spring Regatta is open noon to 6pm, the Regatta Village bar opens at noon with a Carib Welcome Party from 5-7pm. The Skipper's Meeting starts at 5:30pm. Music by MJ Blues from 7pm-midnight.

Results for the Scrub Island Invitational can be found here.

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