Dec 5, 2019

Last Years Crewlast years’ BVI -  Finished 3rd. Crew is left to right:

Nick Egloff
Rob Butler
John Mills
Ryan Young
Paul Cannon
Jim Egloff
Paul Currie
Jeff Pawlowski

Rob Butler’s joy of sailing in the warm waters of the Caribbean will get renewed this year. For the third season his Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing, is getting ready to take on the Caribbean Sailing Association’s winter series.

Beginning with Grenada and wrapping up in Antigua, Touch2Play and the mothership The Lodge 4 make their way to some of the most spectacular and exciting races anywhere. With 30 people (!) needed to fill out the crew roster for the season sharing the duties for individual events, including ten new to glorious waters of the south, we hope to continue a successful streak of results.

Touch 2 Play BVI Spring RegattaTouch 2 Play at a recent BVI Spring Regatta

Each event is as unique as the island hosts. One thing they have in common is the varied and very challenging style of racing. Using islands as marks the courses weave their way through gin clear waters. We continually surprise ourselves on how close you can get to the rocky shores. One learns quickly to be aware of the watercolor changes; the GPS still doesn’t make up for a skillful observer as we tip toe through the rock piles. Add the ever changing current and tide and the racing requires Rob’s steadfast hand on the helm and his complete faith in the crew to get maximum performance.

The Caribbean Sailing Association rule is complex and exceedingly fair. Races are won by seconds and we have never had as many tied corrected scores in all the other years combined in any form be it IRC, PHRF or one design. The need to fight from the start to the finish is often spoken of and we are always surprised with how close the results are.

Touch 2 Play TrophyOne of the highlights this year has to be the 40th annual Heineken Regatta set for St Maarten in early March. Last year’s Heineken, which we were lucky enough to win, was decided by less than 30 seconds corrected after 10 ½ hours of racing. Stated in another way its 37,800 seconds on the racecourse decided by 30 seconds. A spinnaker wrap, slow drop or hoist, missed shift, poor tack or bad start; any one of those occurrences can easily be 30 seconds lost. Factor that into that the four days of intense racing with eye candy of magnificent yachts and beautiful scenery plus some of the most fun regatta parties going; it’s easy to get distracted at the Heineken.

Every other event on the circuit takes immense and well-deserved pride in making their event so welcoming. It will sound cliché that each event is so amazing, but that is why Rob puts in unbelievable effort to participate in each of them. No single one is a favorite, well that’s not true; at each event it is the favorite and we make sure we take full advantage of the fun, sun, sand and sea.

We’ll provide follow-ups on each event for CYOB readers. Feel free to follow us on Facebook; Touch2Play Racing, racing for a cure.

- Larry Huibers, still in St Catharines ON but heading south soon!

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