The 2016 Royal BVI Yacht Club Awards were presented during the Commodore's Dinner on 17 December. It is always a difficult task to select a winner and congratulations go to all of the sailors who have been out on the water this year, from those fine-tuning their racing skills to those stepping in a boat for the first time, everyone has achieved a great deal and we look forward to a successful 2017.
Most Improved Dinghy – Amanda Plaxton
Amanda Plaxton is one of the club’s newest Green Fleet racers, joining the team for her first international regatta in October. Over the past year, she has shown commitment and determination to overcome her personal sailing challenges and developed into a competent young sailor. With clear improvement at each regatta she is a shining example of the importance of hard work, patience and dedication.
Best Club Helm – Nathan Haycraft
During the latter part of the year Nathan has really come into his own. He performed exceptionally well at the Optimist North Americans in Antigua improving on his 2015 result by nearly 100 places. Closer to home he has achieved overall podium success at five regattas not to mention the age group category wins. Most recently he clinched the St. Croix International Regatta and a clean sweep at the Caribbean Dinghy Championships.
Best International Youth – Rayne Duff
Rayne continued his sailing excellence with another great year. He was constantly battling for first place with Mia Nicolosi from St Thomas and performed well at the major international regattas. Rayne represented the BVI in seven different countries this past year including the Orange Bowl Regatta in the US, Optimist South Americans in Ecuador, Optimist Worlds in Portugal and Optimist North American’s in Antigua.
INTAC Sportsmanship Award – Jerome Parkins
Jerome Parkins is one of our most enthusiastic young sailors. This past year he has spent his Saturday mornings volunteering with our KATS Sailing classes. It’s common for him to arrive before even the instructors. He is incredibly easy to get along with, listens to direction well and is a major help for the KATS and holiday camp programs.
Adult Awards Best Club Helm – Chris Haycraft
Chris Haycraft received the award for Best Club Helm with his major success coming with the Pipe Dream team. Wins in 2016 included the Manhattan Trophy and the Anegada Pursuit Race with second place finishes in the Governor's Cup, Peg Legs Round Tortola Race and BVI Spring Regatta. Haycraft also represented the BVI with Pipe Dream at the STIR and St Croix International, taking a long awaited win at the latter in October. In addition to racing Pipe Dream, he has also two second place finishes aboard IC24 Latitude 18 and raced with son Nici at the Caribbean Dinghy Championships helping the team to third overall.
Best International Boat – Spike, Sam Talbot
Brian Nixon's J111 Spike, skippered by Sam Talbot was named the Best International Competitor in recognition of their achievements at home and overseas. Spike claimed the title at the 2016 Governor's Cup finished second in the Manhattan Yacht Club Challenge Trophy and was third in the Peg Leg's Round Tortola Race. Away from the BVI, Spike is a regular on the circuit and at J111 events, competing at the Manhasset Bay YC, Mast Head Cove Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Lloyd Harbour Yacht Club as well as closer to home in St Thomas.
Most Improved Yacht – Adagio, Bill Hirst
After launching Adagio earlier this year, Bill Hirst has returned to the race course with relish. Results have included fourth overall in the Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit race. Cruising class results include third in the Carey Olsen Double-Handed Race and first in the Cruising class of the Governor's Cup.
Outstanding Service – Penny Haycraft
Penny Haycraft is one of the true pillars of the BVI Yacht Club and is recognized this year with the Roslyn Griffiths Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Club. Penny is always willing to lend a hand when needed and is a font of knowledge about the club and it's history. She is the backbone of the Wednesday night quiz series raising money for the Youth Sailing Programme whether it is stepping in as quiz master or mustering guests to make up a team. Thank you Penny!
Eight boats entered the 2016 Commodore's Race and enjoyed a blustery day's sailing with Keith Li Greci on Girasoli taking the title.
The fleet was treated to a range of conditions with a beautiful BVI sailing day of big seas and big breeze giving way to intense squalls reportedly hitting the 40 knot mark and descending like a fog to obliterate all vision.
The course took the fleet from the start line in Road Harbour up to Hog Valley Green, across the channel to round Dead Chest before heading West to pass Pelican and Flanigan to Starboard, giving the crews a choice of heading out into the feisty conditions around the back of Peter Island or taking the inshore route. It was then back up to the Rhone Anchor dive buoy off Peter Island and then retunring across to finish between the Royal BVI Yacht and Lark Bank.
Keith LiGreci's Girasoli took comfortable line honours after racing for just over three hours which proved to also be enough to take the overall win.
Second to finish was John Hayes on Wildfire with Aaron Gardner's Bravissimo crossing the line exactly five minutes later. On corrected time, this gave Bravissimo second overall but Wildfire had to settle for fifth after another fine performance from David Lake on Wicked Winch.
Todd Patterson's Dances with Whales fired off the start line and powered around the course in just over four hours. Opting to take the outer route around the back of Peter Island, the regulars from Pipe Dream found much value in the more comfortable 'facilities' of Dances, not least the ability to shelter from the rain!.
Don Pietrykowski skippered Reverie to sixth place. Two boats, Sapphire Breeze and Cheeky Monkey (STX), elected to retire and not risk damage to themselves or equipment.
Thank you to sponsor's O'Neal & Mundy, to Eddie Brockbank and Pam Fuller for running the Race Committee and all the competitors for taking part.
1. Girasoli - Keitih LiGreci
2. Bravissimo - Aaron Gardner (1st Racing)
3. Wicked Winch - David Lake
4. Dances with Whales - Todd Patterson
5. Wildfire - John Hayes
6. Reverie - Don Pietrykowski
RTD Sapphire Breeze - Stephen St Leger Moore
RTD Cheeky Monkey - Craig Hassey (STX)
The Commodore's Race is part of the Pusser's Painkiller Series - for results updates visit the West End Yacht Club Facebook page.