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Bitter End Yacht Club Hosts Legendary 20th Annual Pro Am Reg

Travel & news discussion about the British Virgin Islands

Bitter End Yacht Club Hosts Legendary 20th Annual Pro Am Reg

Postby Anthony » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:04 pm

Virgin Gorda, BVI (July 3, 2006) With the warm, tranquil blue waters of the Caribbean as the course for the only event of its kind in the world, America’s Cup skippers, Olympic medalists, Around the World Race winners and world champions will gather at Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands, October 28 - November 4, 2006, to lead teams made up of resort guests in a week-long competition for the top Pro Am Regatta honors. This exhilarating event will allow amateurs to maximize on-water experience with the pros as well as enjoy a lively social schedule with fellow sailors off the water.

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary, the Pro Am "Invitational," as it was first called, is returning to the format used for the first five years: a unique combination of fleet racing and match racing. For 2006, all 10 skippers, juniors and masters (and their teams) will take part in an exciting eight to 10 race fleet series, establishing the seedings for head to head match racing. The best of two-out-of-three race finals between the last two seeds standing will determine an overall winner, who, as the "Invitational" trophy dedication points out "excels at both match racing and fleet racing." Bitter End's fleets of Freedom 30s and Hunter 216s will be used for match racing.

This year, IC 24s will be making their Pro Am debut as the fleet race boat. The four to five person IC 24 is a rapidly-growing class that has its roots solidly planted in the Virgin Islands. Essentially a more user-friendly, open cockpit version of the ever-popular J-24, the IC racing fleet has grown to more than 50 boats locally. Bitter End has two of the first ICs and the Tortola-based builder/manager/charter outfit Racing in Paradise will provide additional boats; which means that guests may have a chance to watch IC racers in action, including Andrew Waters, Fred Ruebeck, Colin Rathbun, Mike Masters, Mark Plaxton, Garry Turpin, Arjan Stoof, and Racing in Paradise’s owners, Richard Wooldridge and Chris Haycraft. These sailors are serious contenders on the Caribbean circuit that includes the Rolex Regatta and the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival.  

However, the show-stopper for this year’s event will be the high-octane rivalry between three-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts and Round the World Race winner Paul Cayard, as their Pro Am crews hit the open waters of the Caribbean. In addition to Pro Am racing, Coutts and Cayard will race against each other with one lucky guest crew along for the ride aboard matched Hobie Getaways for North Sound (and beyond) bragging rights! This exhibition match race will raise funds for the Hokin Scholarship fund.

Bitter End and the Pro Am are popular with sailors of all levels, from America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners Coutts and Cayard, to weekend warriors. Coutts says, “I'm already looking forward to the 20th Anniversary Pro Am. It's my favorite event of the year and Bitter End is my favorite vacation destination. It's great seeing many of the same keen guest sailors year after year.”

“We'll be there. This will be our fifth Pro Am and the whole family enjoys coming. We've had the pleasure of sailing with and socializing with some really nice people over the years,” said Cayard.

In addition to Coutts and Cayard, professional participants include Ken Read, two-time Pro Am winner, two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, five-time J-24 World Champion and Etchells World Champion;

Dawn Riley, Whitbread and America’s Cup veteran, President of the Women’s Sports Foundation and America True; Dave Perry, one of the best-known sailors of the last 30 years, both as a world class racer, and as an inspirational author and educator;; Lowell North, Founder of North Sails and Olympic Gold Medalist; Keith Musto, 2005 Pro Am winner, the U.K.’s best known dinghy sailor and Olympic Medalist; Rod Johnstone, 1st Annual Pro Am host, 2000 Pro Am winner and J-boat designer; Bruce Kirby, 1st Annual Pro Am host, two-time World Champion in I-14s, two-time Canadian Olympian, Father (designer) of the Laser, Sonar and Ideal 18 and penned America’s Cup racers for Canada (Canada 1 and 2), and Butch Ulmer, 1999 Pro Am winner and founder of U.K. Sails.

"The 20th Anniversary of this unique event is quite a milestone. It's amazing how far it has come in those years. All the great skippers and guests, all mixing in a great's just plain magic! Where else in the world can amateurs sail with the stars of the sailing world and have such a fantastic experience?” said John Glynn, Regatta Director.

The 5th Annual Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championships will also take place during Pro Am Regatta Week and Bitter End guests can enjoy an array of non-sailing activities that include lively cocktail parties, theme dinners, informational seminars, snorkeling, an excursion to beautiful Anegada, scuba diving, windsurfing and beachcombing.

Schedule of events are as follows:
Welcome Sunset Harbor Cruise

Musto Scuttlebutt Laser and Hobie Racing Eliminations (morning)
Musto Scuttlebutt Hunter 216 Racing Eliminations (afternoon)
Day-Racing Awards Party at the Pub-All guests welcome!
Meet the IC Fleet (The Pub)

Mount Gay Rum Defiance Day and Scuttlebutt Offshore Regattas Defiance Day Post Race Awards Party at The Pub Guest Cocktail Party (Almond Walk)

Pro Am Racing: IC 24 Fleet Racing morning and afternoon
Pro Am Press/Guest Conference (The Pub)
Scuttlebutt State of the Sport Forum and Discussion (The Pub) Join in the discussion with Tom Leweck, Scott MacLeod, Ken Read, Dawn Riley and others

Layday trip to Anegada
Pro Hobie Getaway Exhibition Match Race Series (morning)
Am Hobie Getaway Exhibition Match Race Series (afternoon)
Theme Dinner at The English Carvery

Pro Am Racing: IC 24 Fleet Racing (morning)
Musto Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championships (Finals in the afternoon aboard Hunter 216s and Hobie Getaways) Musto Scuttlebutt Awards Party and Limbo Jump-Up (Almond Walk)

Pro Am Racing: Juniors in Hunter 216s (morning)
Pro Am Racing: Masters in Freedom 30s (afternoon)
Pro Am Press/Guest Conference
Mount Gay Rum Poolside Party
Pro Am Awards Dinner (The English Carvery)

For more information on the 20th Annual Pro Am Regatta or to reserve your space among the stars of the sailing world, please call 800.872.2392, email <mailto> or cruise the web at <http>

About Bitter End Yacht Club
Stretching along a mile of unspoiled beach and expansive marina waterfront on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands, Bitter End Yacht Club is the ultimate Caribbean destination for the watersports enthusiast.

The North Sound – one of the largest, most protected noncommercial harbors in the Caribbean - is a must-visit destination for sailors, experts and novices alike. Bitter End’s calm, clear waters and steady year-long trade winds distinguish it from other resorts in the BVI and worldwide. Originally made up of a shorefront pub and five rustic cottages, Bitter End was purchased by Chicago’s Hokin family in 1973 and retains the spirit of a family retreat.

The resort includes more than 85 beachfront guest rooms, the world’s largest complimentary fleet of more than 100 watercrafts, 70 moorings and 20 slips, an on-site sailing school, regularly scheduled snorkeling excursions, two restaurants, on-site bakery, Emporium, shops, freshwater pool and several private beaches.

Bitter End Yacht Club is consistently recognized by leading travel publications as one of the top Caribbean vacation destinations. Recent accolades include Outside Traveler’s 2005 “Top Twelve Pure and Unspoiled Resorts in the Caribbean,” Islands’ 2006 Caribbean Guide “27 Great Caribbean Vacations,” Brides’ 2006 “The Sexiest Stays in the Caribbean” and the 2006 “100 Best Romantic Resorts of the World” book (5th edition). For more information or to make reservations, call toll-free at 800-872-2392, direct at (305) 468-0168 or e-mail at <mailto> Cruise the web site at
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