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All At Sea - The Caribbean's Waterfront Magazine
Nancy Terrell -- May 2006 Issue

9th Annual Dark and Stormy has Record Entries

True to tradition, the beginning of the second race in the annual D & S regatta began with squalls and showers on Commonwealth Weekend in the BVI, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the entered contestants. The West End Yacht Club of Tortola runs this regatta, totally dedicated to cruising yachts, and sailors just seem to love it as they return each year. With 25 captains registering their yachts at The Loose Mongoose, Trellis Bay – host of the registration dinner/party on Friday evening, talk was of ratings and Anegada beaches. Special thanks to Mongoose’s Simon and Caroline and sponsors Mt. Gay & Heineken. At ten on Saturday morning, under the direction of Race Captain Peter Ratcliff, the Committee Boat, generously donated by TMM, set the mark, just outside of Beef Island, for the first race up to Neptune’s Treasure, host of the event on Anegada,

With two starts for the 18-mile race, competitors headed east in the Sir Francis Channel under winds that ranged from 16 – 20 knots with gusts even higher. The competition was fearless however, with great effort put on captains to pull ahead of their competitors after rounding “The Dogs” to port and heading, on a long close haul, to Anegada. Thankfully, all entries arrived safely with salty stories to tell.

The Dark & Stormy began nine years ago when Neptune Treasure’s patriarch, Vernon Soares, stated to the WEYC that he would love to host a race weekend in honour of the memory of his recently deceased wife, Julie. Vernon’s sons, Mark & Dean, are the suppliers of much of the fresh fish for the BVI, so the WEYC took the challenge and the regatta began - a four-day event filled with something for everyone. Mitzi McLean, the land “Family Fun Day” event coordinator, loaded Sunday with horseshoe events, sandcastle building, kite flying and just plain ole Caribbean limin’ with everyone enjoying themselves to the fullest.

Monday morning sailors were up and at-um for the final 10:30 pursuit race to the Jolly Roger Restaurant & Bar in West End, Tortola, home of the WEYC and sponsor to the awards ceremony. A huge squall hit the start line and gave several competitors just the speed they needed to surf down the northern side of Tortola, spinnakers flying, past Jost Van Dyke and up into Soper’s Hole where they moored for the night.

Mark Soares’ fishing boat, the Argus III, was the finish committee boat for both days of racing and he handed out the awards, in his mother’s honour, along with WEYC Commodore Martin Van Houten and Peter Ratcliff. Robin Pinfold (Kuralu), Marty Halpern (Ruffian) and Harry Berfelz (Wemicus) were each congratulated for never having missed a D&S regatta in nine years and I sincerely add my congrats also. St. John’sHeart of Gold received the award for the Most Spirited Crew and they truly deserved it! Kevin Rowlette had the best start on Picaroon with Zen II the largest family aboard – a father-in-law and four grandchildren!

Genny Kung, Marketing & Promotion Manager of Colombian Emeralds, presented the 1 st place award, a sailor’s watch, to Tom Mullens of Shamrock, the winning boat of the event. As always, it was a truly memorable event – the kind of occasion that we cruising sailors genuinely enjoy.

Racing -

1 st – Shamrock – 3 pts.
2 nd – Fat Cat – 4 pts.
3 rd - Moab – 5 pts.

Horseshoes – St Thomas vs. BVI

1 st men’s singles A – David Bryan - USVI
1 st men’s singles B – Norman Dickie - BVI
1 st men’s doubles – Steve & Dave Bryan - USVI
1 st women’s singles - Monica Bryan USVI
1 st women’s doubles – Ursala Bryan & Vicki Ralph - BVI

Sandcastles

1 st – Sunken Ship – BVI – Barney & Beccy Nockolds

Dinghy Races

1 st – Pat Nolan – Seabiscuit - BVI

Kite Flying –

1 st – Cindy – Heart of Gold – USVI

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