After finishing third last year, Colin Rathbun's LIME picked up his first victory in a fierce battle in the tough IC-24 division, during the 38th annual BVI Spring Regatta, and for his effort, collected the Best BVI Boat award in the process

Rathbun led from the first race on opening day, then withstood BVI Olympian Robbie Hirst Sea Hawk's second day charge from 23 points behind in seventh place, when he used five bullets to displace Alec Anderson's Itac, and pulled within five points of Rathbun, 51-46, heading into the final day.

Rathbun had a first, two thirds and a second on Sunday, for a seven point, 55-62 win over Hirst. Colin Simonds' Doolalli, slipped past Anderson's Intact for third by three points, 76-79.

"This is so great. We led from the very first race and to do this is unbelievable," Rathbun said. "We knew we had to put up our game when Robbie came back. He was pretty rusty on the first day and did extremely well on the second day and it got us pretty nervous, but, we managed to hold our own and take an extra chunk on the lead on the last day, so I'm really, really happy."

Hirst said his team hadn't sail for a while and they were rusty. "The fleet sailed very well and, it was a strong fleet," he noted. "And it showed pretty quick because they beat up on us. We got into the groove on Saturday, but today was a good day, but not good enough to win."

After Friday's opening day of the BVI Spring Regatta, Chairman Bob Phillips described it as the perfect regatta, because of the right amount of breeze, good weather no mishaps and competitive races in all divisions.

When the event wrapped up on Sunday, Phillips called it the 'best ever.' "No kidding, no BS. This was the best year we've ever had," Phillips said. "With the economic situation, we were expecting to be down on boats, we weren't. We ended up with 122. The weather Gods just smiled on us. We had great weather, good breeze for the whole event and we got in some fabulous racing. Even Lou, the head of the village said there was nothing that could change and it was a perfect year."

New Zealand's Jim Mitchell's Vincitore, won eight of 10 starts to claim Racing A with 10 points, ahead of Phillip Lotz's Arethusa, who had 19 and picked up two victories.

"They did a great job with the courses," Mitchell said. "The wind was great, was fantastic and we pushed it really hard. A third of the crew was my family and that was fantastic. I can't wait to come back next year."

BVI Spring Regatta Results:

Racing A (4 Boats): 1. Vincitore, Jim Mitchell, 12 points. 2. Arethusa, Philip Lotz, 19. 3. Yeoman XXXII, David Aisher, 29. 4. Black Hole, Luis Gonzales, 42

Racing B (5 Boats): 1. Three Harkoms, James Hudleston, 18. 2. Lost Horizon, James Dobbs, 25. 3. Curacao Marine, 36.5. 4. El Ocaso, Rick Wesslund, 38.5. 5. Team Denial, Seamus Fitzpatrick, 47.

Racing C (6 Boats): 1. Bad Girl, Robert Armstrong, 12. 2. Jurican, Dave West, 22. 3. Coors Light, Fritz Bus, 45. 4. Devils, Chris Stanton, 46. 5. Bogaloo, Morgan Dale, 52. 6. Budget Marine, Andra Scarabell, 54.

Racing D (9 Boats): 1. J Walker, Chris Thompson, 27.5. 2. Rushin Rowlette, Kevin Rowlette, 27.5. 3. Good, Bad and Ugly, Paul McConnel & John Foster, 28. 4. J. Doe, Cynthia Ross, 50. 5. Dark Star, Jonathan Lipuscek, 54. 6. Magnificent 7, Paul Davis, 64. 8. Glory Daze, Ed McKenzie & Chuck Pessler, 71. 8. SunBum, Angela Ayala, 76. 9. Atlantic River, Jerry Clifford, 98.

Racing F Racer/Cruiser (7 Boats): 1.Umakua, Papote Roguero, 26. 2. Kick 'Em Jenny, Ian Ross, 35. 3. Pipe Dream, Peter Haycraft, 39. 4. Top Gun, Lawrence Aqui, 42. 5. Boomerang, 53.5. 6. Luxury Girl, Guy Eldridge, 57. 7. Vrijgezeilig, Michael Heidwiller, 59.5.

Performance Cruising A (10 Boats): 1. Spirit of Montpelier, David Yelloly, 8. 2. Safir III, Robert Radway, 12. 3. Miss MaJic, Heather Baus, 17. 4. Nisida, Peter Hopps, 23. 5.

Performance Cruising B (11 Boats): 1. Bonnie Chance, Bernardo Gonzalez, 2. Cayennita Grande, Antonio Sanpere, 3. Augustine, Tony Sayer, 4. Gryphon, Jeff & Raine Williams, 20. 5. Augustine, Tom Sayer, 22.

Jib and Main (11 Boats): 1. Diva, Robin Tattersall, Dr. robin Tattersall, 7. 2. Shamrock, Thomas Mullen, 7. 3. Clover III, Neal Finnegan, 8. 4. Hotel California, Steve Schmidt,12. Second Mature, Bill Bailey, 15.

Bareboat A (18 Boats): 1.Justice, Justin Barton, 14. 2. Hereen Van Staal II, Willem Komp, 14. Team Germany, 14. 4. Team BVI, 19. 5. BVI Yacht Charters I, 22.5.

Bareboat B (15 Boats): 1. Saga Boy Racing, David Downie, 8. 2. Abbey, Tom Hissan, 16. 3. Cool Girl, Rob Swain Sailing School, 21. Team Snatchback, 24. Team Puerto Rico II, 29.

Racing Multihull (3 Boats) 1. Soma, Nils Erickson, 5. 2. Team Nanny Cay, 7. 3. Team Piglet, Joseph Martin, 12.

Cruising Multihull (3 Boats): 1. Kili, Richard Mosley, 3. 2. Cover Shot, Roger Webb, 6. 3. Wildfire, John Haynes, 10.

IC-24: (11 Boats): 1. LIME, Colin Rathbun, 59. 2. Sea Hawk, Robbie Hirst, 62. 3. Doolalli, Colin Simonds, 76. 4. Intac, Alec Anderson, 79. 5. Brand New Secondhand, Chris Curruri, 96. 6. Grey Ghost, David Irwin, 99. 7. Team Maximus, Jorge Santiago, 103. 8. Voila, Tom Kozyn, 137. 9. Magic Bus, Tom Shannon, 148. 10. Rooster, Ted Rose, 151. Shore Party, John Wallace, 189.