Round Virgin Gorda Race Added and Streamlining BVI Immigration and Customs Requirements

Tortola, March 2, 2009:  Although each year, the basic format remains the same, the organizers of BVI Spring Regatta  and Sailing Festival work hard to fine tune the event.  This year’s edition, March 30 – April 5, is no exception with two innovative additions that will add value for the participants.  First, on the traditional Sailing Festival Layday, at the Bitter End Yacht Club, sailors will have the option to compete in the Around Virgin Gorda Race.  Secondly, the BVI Customs Department has granted special dispensation to those yachts participating in the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival and will not be charging for cruising permits.   Additionally, to expedite the clearing in and clearing out process, Masters can file electronically.

About the changes in the Bitter End Layday schedule, John Glynn, V.P. North American Sales, explained, “Our intention is to now run the much anticipated Around Virgin Gorda Race (the 7th Annual) as part of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, on Wednesday April 1st.     There will be special prizes for Swans, and the top Swan will be recognized. Entry in BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is not required.”  He went on to say, “In an interesting twist, racers in the Around VG Race this year will be given the option of going either way around the island. The current course record is just under three hours, held by the Swan 100S, Virago.”

In addition to BVI Customs and Immigration officials being on site at Nanny Cay from noon – 18.00 on Monday March 30 and Thursday, April 2nd, Customs will be waiving the Cruising Permit fee.  The fee is $4 per person, per day, and with boats carrying anywhere between five to twenty crew members, the per day savings for visiting yachts will be anywhere between $20  – $80,

Wade Smith, BVI Customs Comptroller, also requested that visiting yachts entering the BVI, streamline the process for clearing in and out electronically.  The Caribbean Pre-Arrival Notification system, eSeaClear, is a service that provides vessel operators the ability to submit electronic notifications of arrival to participating Customs offices in the Caribbean. Registered users can access the system to enter and maintain information about their vessel or vessels, crew and passengers. Prior to arrival at a new country the vessel operator simply ensures the information is accurate for the upcoming voyage and submits a new notification.   eSeaClear was developed working closely with Customs to ensure that small vessel operators had a faster and more positive experience when clearing in and out of port.


Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 38th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas.  The BVI Spring Regatta is presented byNanny Cay Resort and Marina; the BVI Tourist Board is a Platinum sponsor;  Gold sponsors are Bitter End Yacht Club, LIME, First Caribbean International Bank, Heineken,  The Moorings,  Mount Gay, and SOL.    

Visitors can fly to the British Virgin Islands through San Juan, Puerto Rico with American Airlines, Cape Air and LIAT. Flights are also available through Antigua and Barbados on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and BWIA.  Ferry service is also available from St. Thomas with a new scheduled run in the early evening.

For full details on the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival including daily news, photos and complete results from the 2008 event, visit the official web site: For more information on the British Virgin Islands visit: For more information on Nanny Cay Marina visit:

The BVI Spring Regatta is jointly owned by the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.