Mount Gay Round Barbados Series 2017 dates confirmed – 80th anniversary success prompts action plan for next event

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Time to relax after racing – photo Nigel Wallace.

Following the success of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, which concluded last weekend, plans are already in place for the 2017 event with the dates confirmed for 16-23 January.

This popular regatta, organised Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, is the opening event of the Caribbean racing season and offers a mix of serious and fun racing including three days of coastal racing, the Round Barbados Race, and the final 265nm feeder race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Challenge.

The highlight of the 2016 event was undoubtedly the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on 21 January, where super-serious record breakers had a chance to ‘strut their stuff’ round the stunning island of Barbados and win their skipper’s weight in rum.

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MS Barbados Concise 10 – photo Peter Marshall.

The much talked about MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson – upheld their promise to thrill when they completed the 60nm course just 12 seconds apart, with Tony Lawson’s MS Barbados Concise 10 team breaking the Absolute Multihull record with a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds. In doing so they trimmed just under two hours off the previous Multihull record, and won a staggering 54 bottles (nine cases) of Extra Old Mount Gay Rum.

Not surprisingly, the new record has sparked plenty of interest with the challenge now on to beat the time recorded by MS Barbados Concise 10. Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson co-skipper of Phaedo3, naturally feel they have some unfinished business, so expect to see another impressive line up next year.

Speaking at the post race celebrations a jubilant Tony Lawson said: “This is the one we really wanted to win, and we did it. Barbados is my second home. I wanted this badly, not just for my young team, but for all the Bajans who have supported us over  these last few months. We practised hard, controlled the start, and hung on in after North Point all the way to the finish. The thousands of locals and tourist lining the headlands and beaches saw an epic battle between Ms Barbados/Concise 10  and Phaedo. It was nail-biting stuff – right down to the wire.  I know they will be back for more. Next time we will have more boats. The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race is set to be a classic.”

Commenting on the regatta, Lloyd Thornburg said: “We were really excited to find this event because it is the perfect warm up race for the Caribbean season. It is such a beautiful island and sailing around it is always a challenge because the wind is shifty and produces some powerful gusts. Having Team Concise, another identical boat, to race against kept everyone up to speed and was a real challenge because any mistakes became a lot more apparent.

“Plus, of course there was copious amounts of the best rum flowing all week. It really is a fantastic regatta.”

Because the event is open to all-comers there are plenty of other opportunities to challenge for a record. There are currently 14 records in total up for grabs, which keeps the competition in this race exciting throughout the fleet. Windsurfers and J/24s to were among those who broke records this year but the biggest haul of rum – 60 bottles – went to Williams Industries Inc. team on TP52, Conviction who broke the 60ft and Under Monohull record with a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes, 16 seconds.

In the Coastal Series, which run for the first three days (17-19 January) competitors enjoyed challenging conditions. Winds were generally moderate to strong and particularly shifty, which made the racing exciting right to end. The J/24 fleet completed 11 of their 12 scheduled races and the worthy winners from neighbouring island Grenada – Robbie Yearwood and team on Island Water World Die Hard – were delighted to have made a comeback in the last two races.

Yearwood commented: “It is very easy to feel disheartened after a couple of poor races. Thankfully our team has the ability to put past behind and focus on moving on. I think that was the key to our success.”

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Post race party at Barbados Cruising Club – photo Nigel Wallace.

The charter sector at this regatta always remains popular with clients seeing it as a great opportunity to compete and enjoy the fun of the regatta without the pressure and responsibility of sailing their own boat there.

The Antigua-based OnDeck yacht Spirit of Juno (Farr 65) was fully crewed with 11 guests, many repeat customers from previous years. Commenting on the success of the regatta, Tony McBride – skipper – said: “For us, it is the perfect regatta and the guests always have a fantastic time. I believe it is down to the good organisation, and the fact that the Cruising Club is so welcoming. We have a real mix of crew some from America, Belgium, UK and one or two locals as well. Two of the guests were with us last year and have already confirmed they are coming back next year. We are looking forward to it already.”

As headline sponsor, Mount Gay is the theme behind most parties and social events including the legendary Red Cap party, a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, and a specially laid-on exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field, at Holetown, St James on lay day.

Click here for full results of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Series.

Click here for Mount Gay Round Barbados Race results.

Mount Gay Rum-fuelled Prizegiving marks end of 80th anniversary regatta – Bajan spirit in full flow as teams celebrate their success

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MS Barbados Concise’s Ned Collier Wakefield at 87.7Kg bagged an impressive nine cases to share among his team – photo NIgel Wallace.

The 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, which incorporates three days of coastal racing and headline event – the Round Barbados Race – concluded last night with a spectacular prizegiving ceremony at The Beach House, St James on the west coast of the Island.

Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet to celebrate the success of not only the competitors who fought hard all week in the challenging conditions, but also the organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay – and the race committee who helped make the 80thanniversary event one to remember.

The standard of competition throughout the three-day Coastal Series, particularly in the J/24 fleet and the Multihull fleet was, once again, extremely high with results going right down to the wire. The most exciting race of the series, however, was undoubtedly The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

This 60nm challenge, that traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow Day (21 January) to celebrate the birthday of the late Errol Walton Barrow, the island’s first Prime Minister and ‘father of independence’, attracted a strong fleet including two powerful MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson.

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The glorious Beach House setting made the perfect prizegiving venue – photo Nigel Wallace.

The racing was exciting right from the start, giving spectators, who’d turned up the join in the island’s celebrations, plenty of thrill particularly when the huge multihulls crossed the finish line at full tilt in Carlisle Bay just 12 seconds apart. Despite being seasoned speed sailors, some of those on board including Jonny Malbon, and Paul Larsen on MS Barbados Concise 10, and Brian Thompson on Phaedo3 confessed it was some of the most exciting racing they have ever experienced.

As well as MS Barbados Concise 10 who broke the Multihull record, there were four other records broken which meant that at last night’s prizegiving, there were cases and cases of Mount Gay Rum Extra Old presented to the winning skippers. At 96.2kgs, Dave Staples – skipper of the Williams Industries Inc. team on TP52, Conviction, – collected the biggest haul (10 cases) for breaking the 60ft and Under Monohull record.

MS Barbados Concise’s Ned Collier Wakefield at 87.7Kg was close behind, in terms of cases of rum, with an impressive nine cases to share among his team.

Although the prizegiving party signaled the end of the Coastal Series and Round Barbados Race, some teams are now preparing for the Antigua Ocean Race – the 265nm feeder race – that starts tomorrow (Sunday 23 January).

Among those taking part are Team Phaedo3. Lloyd Thornburg, co skipper, commented: “It has been a fantastic week here on Barbados and we plan to come back at some point, however, in the meantime we are making final preparations for tomorrow’s sprint to Antigua.”

Phaedo3 is likely to complete the 265nm course in eight or nine hours while some of the others, including Spirit of Juno and Juan Luis Serra Lalaurie’s 24m one-off Ocean Phoenix will take more like 24-30 hours.

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Local Earthworks pottery prizes – photo Nigel Wallace.

Tony McBride, skipper of the Farr 65 charter yacht, Spirit of Juno, commented: “Having this race to Antigua is great because it adds a bit extra to the week for the guests. It took us about 38 hours to get here, upwind so downwind should be about 30. We turn around in a day in Antigua and then head down to Grenada for the next regatta.”

John Coveney, Principal Race Officer, commenting on the week and the conditions for the Antigua Ocean Race, said: “Overall it has been a fantastic week with much better wind conditions this year. We fitted in all the Coastal Series races including 11 of the 12-scheduled races for J/24s. The good Trade Wind conditions also helped to slaughter a few of the records in the Round Barbados Race.

“The forecast for tomorrow is about 20kts from the east. It will be a beam reach with spinnakers between Guadeloupe and Antigua. For Phaedo, however, with the sort of speed they achieve, their apparent wind will always be on the nose, but they’ll get their quick, probably quicker than me flying on a Liat!

Click here for full results of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Series.

Click here for Mount Gay Round Barbados Race results.

Record-breakers in town for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race tomorrow – Some of the world’s top sailors join the fleet for 80th anniversary race

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TP52 Conviction – photo Peter Marshall.

The 60-mile sprint clock-wise round Barbados has sparked a lot of interest with many of the world’s top speed sailors here on the island including Paul Larsen, Wouter Verbraak, Rob Greenhalgh, Brian Thompson, Lloyd Thornburg, Helena Darvelid, Ned Collier Wakefield, and Jonny Malbon currently preparing for a serious attempt at breaking records in tomorrow’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

The weather is looking good for record-breaking too with winds forecast to reach 28+ knots. It looks as though the wind will be from the north-east for the early starters for the stretch to north point, then at midday it should turn east to provide an exciting sail all the way down to coast to east point.

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MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield – photo Peter Marshall.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, this historic race, which ran for the first time 80 years ago was based on bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooners. The winner of the first race was Captain Lou Kenedy’s Sea Fox, which completed the course in 10 hours 20 minutes.

The current absolute record for Multihulls, set by Bryn Palmer on Silver Bullet in 2012, is 4 hours, 24 minutes, 27 seconds, while the absolute Monohull record with a time of 4 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds is held by Andy Budgen’s VO70 Monster Project. There are also 12 other records up for grabs, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize if broken.

The line up tomorrow is impressive with the likes with two world-class MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson threatening to annihilate the records. The smaller multihulls are ready for action too, with Silver Bullet already signed up, and sparring partners on Team Concise 12,the Diam 24 trimaran, hopefully taking part too.

The MOD70 Phaedo3 team who took line honours and a class win in the recent 3,500 mile RORC Transatlantic race with a time of 5 days 22 hours, 46 minutes, 03 seconds are looking to repeat their speedy performance. Commenting on his presence at the event, Thornburg said: “I am excited to be here, Barbados is such a beautiful island, the team and I am looking forward to racing around the island.”

MS Barbados Concise 10’s Paul Larsen, who has a history of sailing some of the wildest race machines ever to grace the oceans, including Vestas Sailrocket where he broke the outright world speed sailing record (65.45 kts), says it will be a tactical race. “Phaedo is quick but we have a few tricks learnt from out training, and if you ask me, it is all going to go to the wire – one gust could sort out the winner. Blasting along, side by side at over 30 knots of boat speed – it is going to be all on!”

Others to watch out for include the Farr 72 – Maximizer, a Custom 24 – Ocean Phoenix, and the Farr 65 – Spirit of Juno (Farr 65) in Class 80 and under, while the TP52 Conviction representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) is hoping to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record from last year.

Jason Tindale and the young team aboard the J/24 College Funds who established a class record last year with a time of 9 hours, 6 minutes, 38 seconds is another hoping to defend their title. However, they have some added competition in class this year with Bunga Bunga and Glory Daze, fresh from three days of intense Coastal Series racing, hoping to snatch the title.

One of the first to start tomorrow at 0700 is Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner. This impressive vessel, which was built on the beach in Carlisle Bay, and the design of which is based on the Canadian grand banks schooner Bluenose, is a working cargo ship that uses historic Caribbean regional trading routes. She also provides training opportunities for 18-25 year olds.

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Lay day polo match at Holders – photo Nigel Wallace.

Two of the prettiest boats on the line at 0900 will be the Alfred Milne-designed The Blue Peter and Galatea – a Bermudan Yawl-rigged, 1899-built classic. Others to watch out for before they zip through the start line at 0900 are the two windsurfers – Trevor Hunt on his Phantom Batwing 377 and Cornic Fabrice on a Fanatic.

Hunt who holds the official race record, and his personal record of 4 hours 48 minutes says the weather looks good. “Last year it was light and lots of seaweed around but this time we are going to smoke. I can do 34kts in any wind, so it’s going to be a blast. The aim is to get the record, and be back in daylight to enjoy a rum back onshore.”

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Trevor Hunte, hoping to break the Windsurfing record – photo Peter Marshall.

Finally, mention must be made of the most senior member of the fleet, 85-year-old Jerome Reid, who is sailing his 1984-built Van de Stadt 24 design Jump-up solo. Reid, who has competed in the last two races, commented: “The plan is to race, but I will make a final decision on the day. I will see what I feel like. I love the sea and love sailing my 24ft boat. She is great, and good ocean-going boat so I feel quite confident to race her round the island.”

With over 20 yachts taking part, there’ll be staggered starts from a committee boat line just off the Barbados Cruising Club commencing with the slowest boats at 0700, which means there’ll be plenty of opportunity for race followers to view the action from the beach.

The course will take the fleet clockwise round the island towards North Point. The most testing conditions are likely to be on the rugged east side of the island where there is big swell.

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Polo at Holders – photo Nigel Wallace.

As well as using lay day to make final preparations for the big race tomorrow, teams were given the opportunity to visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery earlier today and spend the afternoon soaking up the colonial-style hospitality at an exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field.

 

Last minute rush to enter 80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series – Thrilling line-up for tomorrow’s opening race

Briefing 1With less than 24 hours before the start, a last minute rush has seen a significant boost in entries for the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series. A packed room for the skippers’ briefing headed by Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee) this evening also endorsed the notion that this Caribbean season opening regatta is a serious contender on the world racing circuit.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, the Round Barbados Race Series plays an important role in the rich maritime heritage of the island of Barbados. Almost 80 years ago a fleet of trading schooners set sail on their first race around the island. It is now a one of the island’s key sporting events and always produces top class competition with entries ranging from windsurfers to 100ft schooners.

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(from right) Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee), and John Coveney (Principal Race Officer) – photo Peter Marshall.

This year is no exception, with some of the world’s fastest racing teams signed up including a couple of MOD 70 trimarans –MS Barbados (Concise 10), and Phaedo3 – plus a host of other top class racing machines including Conviction (TP52), Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), and the 78ft Spanish one off – Ocean Phoenix.

The smaller multihulls are also likely to produce exciting competition with Jack Trigger in Concise12 (Diam 24), and Bryn Palmer (Barbados Cruising Club commodore) on Silver Bullet (RC30), keen to demonstrate their super-fast speeds round the racecourse.

The battle for the windsurfer record in next Thursday’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race is hotting up too with local sailor Charles Hunt on his Phantom Batwing 377, and Cornic Fabrice on a Fanatic signed up and ready to go.

While the out and out speed machines will undoubtedly produce some of the most exciting, adrenalin-fuelled racing this week, the closest competition is likely to come from the CSA-rated classes, as well as the highly competitive J/24 fleet.

At the other end of the scale there’s a contingent of racing first timers including Jim Rolt who, with his partner Sally Stamford, sailed his 1978-built Contessa 32 Chaos from the UK via the Canary Islands to take part. The pair, who are both singers and performers, have never raced before. Commenting on what attracted them to the event, Rolt said: “I was here two years ago with my boat. I didn’t actually race but had such a great time and the club made me feel extremely welcome, despite my lack of racing skill. I knew I had to come back, so here I am, fully signed up for racing this time. We left the Canary Islands on 20 December and arrived last week. Haven’t the faintest idea about racing but our aim is to have fun and to finish second from last.”

The forecast for the first race of the three-race Coastal Series tomorrow shows 12-14kts of breeze from the east. After what should be a good day of tactical racing off Carlisle Bay Back on shore, competitors and their guests can look forward to the first Post Race Party at Barbados Yacht Club – just along the beach from Barbados Cruising Club.

Geoff Evelyn, commodore of Barbados Yacht Club, who is racing his Beneteau Lantana this week, says although he is looking forward to a great week of racing, he is pleased that the BYC are contributing to the organisation. “Not only is our club offering assistance by providing some of the racing marks, and a team of helpers to lay them, we are also hosting the first party of the week where I am happy to be able to welcome guests.”

 

Mount Gay Round Barbados Series celebrates 80th anniversary and Barbados’ 50th year of Independence

Photo – Peter Marshall.

Photo – Peter Marshall.

Preparations are well underway for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January 2016), which celebrates it 80th anniversary in 2016. Next year also marks 50 years of independence for Barbados, so big celebratory plans are already in place for that too.

Thanks to its re-launched in 2014, where a new race format and more record-breaking opportunities were introduced, this Caribbean season opening regatta is now one of the key events on the race circuit, and is fast becoming a speed-sailing, record-breaking favourite.

Three days of coastal racing, the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race (the headline event), and the chance to contest a final 300-mile Ocean Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Challenge, gives plenty of options for teams looking for early season, top-class racing.

For teams with a taste for speed, and rum, there’s a chance to win their skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize for the fastest time if any of the 14 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race records are broken. At the 2015 event earlier this year, three teams managed to scoop the top prizes, which amassed a total of 78 cases of Mount Gay Rum.

The racing/record-breaking opportunities, together with legendary rum-fuelled parties, a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery, and the chance to soak up the colonial-style Bajan hospitality at an exhibition polo match on lay day, have all helped establish the unique identity of the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race Series.

1Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, this regatta always takes place during the third week in January to incorporate the headline event – the 60-nautical mile Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race – which traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow public holiday (21 January).

This year Errol Barrow Day – the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and ‘father’ of independence, who was a keen sailor/member Barbados Cruising Club – commemorates 50 years of Independence for Barbados.

In an effort to mark the occasion, William Griffith (CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc), has announced a new and exciting partnership between Barbados and Team Concise, Britain’s successful offshore racing team. The MOD70 trimaran – Concise 10, and the highly successful Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), Class 40 Champion, Concise 8 will be branded Ms BARBADOS, for the forthcoming winter season and will be based near Bridgetown, Barbados.

Team Directors Tony Lawson and Ned Collier Wakefield launched Team Concise in August 2006 with the intention of helping young British sailors forge a future in competitive offshore racing. Since then the team has completed over 30,000 miles of racing, built three generations of Class 40s, and produced some notable race results, including a Class 40 world championship win.

Lawson, Concise CEO, commenting on Barbados as a choice for his team’s winter base, commented: “Barbados has it all including deep sea fishing, water-sports, super beaches, surfing, golf courses, tennis, first class polo and horse racing, motor racing, great restaurants and iconic hotels – and it’s all within 20 minutes. There’s nowhere else in the West Indies that can offer my crew and guests so much. In fact you can’t find an offer like this anywhere else in the world. It’s unique! That’s why we are delighted to be going there.”

Team Concise is expected in Barbados around the 15 December, after Concise 10 completes the RORC Transatlantic Race, and Concise 8 the Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Brazil. Then, as part of their programme, the two boats will make repeated runs around Barbados attempting to establish new records for the fastest time around the island. This will create a visual feast of speed for visitors on the beaches as well as for the local Bajans who have a passion for anything fast.

In addition, there is a planned showdown between the MOD70 trimaran – Concise 10 – and a local rally car that will race each other 4around the island, plus the introduction of the The Barbados Flying Mile. The Barbados Flying Mile, which is open to all comers, provides even more chances to establish new records. The idea is for teams to time themselves over a measured mile between two official marker buoys, post their elapsed times online, and claim bragging rights if they are the fastest.

2Although out-and-out racing machines such as TP52s, MOD 70s, Volvo 70s, and local one-designs, cruisers, and charter yachts, are expected to make up the bulk of the fleet for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, there is likely to be a fine sprinkling of classics. Among the prettiest is Mat Barker’s Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter, built by W. King & Sons at Burnham-on-Crouch, UK.

The outright monohull record round the island of Barbados remains in the hands of Andy Budgen and team on the British VO70 Monster Project who set a time of 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds in 2014. However, with the likes of the Barbados-branded team on their MOD70, and a selection of super-fast monohulls taking part, the absolute multihull record and several monohull class records look set to fall.

The highly competitive J/24 fleet always attracts big numbers and now, with the added opportunity to contest the 60-nautical mile Round Barbados Race, the organisers expect a further increase in entries. The time to beat from last year’s inaugural J/24 Round Barbados course is 09hrs, 06mins, 38secs.

The charter option for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series is, not surprisingly, hugely popular. It offers clients the chance to visit Barbados and experience the Island’s warmth and hospitality and enjoy the seriously fun sailing and partying, without the responsibility/time of sailing the boat there. So far there are 14 charter company options available including OnDeck, Stormforce Coaching, Performance Yacht Charter, plus there are plenty of individual charter yachts spaces on offer including a VO60s and a TP52.

Dates announced for Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2016

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Mount Gay Rum in full flow at the Barbados Cruising Club.

Following the success of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series that concluded last week, the dates of next year’s event have been confirmed for 16-24 January 2016.

With overseas competitors from 11 nations representing a large part of the 47-strong fleet overall at the 2015 event, including entries from the UK, New Zealand, USA, Lithuania, Slovakia, France, Poland, Germany, Argentina and many neighbouring islands, plans are already in place to boost the entry further particularly as next year marks the events 80th anniversary.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay, this event launches the Caribbean race season. For this reason it is a popular choice for teams wishing to use it as a warm-up for the Caribbean racing circuit.

The event, which offers a mix of serious and fun racing along the beautiful coast of Barbados, is also gaining a lots of interest from owners/skippers of fast racing yachts keen to thrown down the gauntlet for one of the many record-breaking challenges on offer, including the 60-nautical mile, outright Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race record traditionally held on 21 January. The record currently stands at 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds, set by Andy Budgen and team on the British VO70 Monster Project in 2014.

There are also 13 other records up for grabs, including multihulls, windsurfers, and J/24s, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize, if broken.

In addition to the headline event – the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race – there are three days of intense coastal racing, plus a hugely popular rum-fuelled party scene every night at either Barbados Cruising Club (host club) or Barbados Yacht Club a few strides along the beach. The final prizegiving/dinner is one of the only social events not on site, but its location at the exotic Beach House is well worth a 25 minutes journey up the scenic west coast.

For those keen to embrace the spirit of the island, the lay day activities include a free coach trip to Bridgetown for a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, plus specially laid-on exhibition polo match at the famous Holders Polo Field, at Holetown, St James.

Another incentive for those sailing north is the concluding 300-mile feeder race to Antigua organised specifically to link up with the Superyacht Challenge.

Howard Palmer – Chairman of the Race Committee – commented on the regatta: “From superyacht to windsurfer, from parties to polo, the 2015 event was great and seemed to resonate with all our competitors, who I know will return. Our aim is to make this race series very special and to expose all competitors, their friends and families to a unique experience.

“Next year will bring perfect conditions for racing, plus the opportunity to visit some of the island’s biggest attractions including the Barbados Concorde Experience, which offers visitors a chance of a tour around the BA Alpha Echo aircraft. What other regatta in the world could boast great sailing, polo ponies and supersonic travel?”

 

Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race 2015

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Elena of London – photo Peter Marshall.

Despite generally light airs with winds reaching no more that 15kts, three teams have won their skipper’s weight in rum for breaking records in the 79th Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race.

The Double Handed Monohull record for the 60-nautical mile course went to Dave Staples on Hallucine (Pogo) with a time of 07:29:51. Staples, who chartered the boat especially for the event, has now beaten his own previous record.

Conviction the local TP52 sailed by Paul Johnson, Clint Brooks and team representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) took the 60ft and Under Monohull record with a time of 06:07:06, while the well-sailed One Design J/24 record went to Jason Tindale and his young local team on College Funds.

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Team College Funds broke the J/24 record – photo Sue Pelling.

Team College Funds skippered by Laser sailor Jason Tindale were noted for their impressive performance. They managed to break through to the lead the fleet at North Point by sailing closer to the shore, and finished third over the line. They also broke the J/24 record with a time of 9hrs, 06mins, 38secs.

Tindale commenting on the team’s performance said: “We had a fantastic day and are delighted to have done so well. It didn’t look good at the start in just 4kts of breeze. It took an hour to sail two-and-a-half nautical miles. Thankfully the breeze filled up to 14kts and the crew worked well to get everything together.

“A good tactical manoeuvre at North point by sailing further inshore gave us an advantage over a couple of boats who sailed out further. It is always a bit rough the Point and today was no exception. It was lumpy and very uncomfortable in the J/24 but we made it. We had a bit of tough time steering down the top part of the east coast with the kite up for four hours but once we were round East Point the situation improved and it was a fun ride home.”

Palpatine, the British Stormforce Coaching charter yacht (Stimson 42) skippered by Doug Innes, and team, took line honours completing the 60-nautical mile course in 07hrs, 43mins, 57secs. They sailed well in the light airs at the start and managed to retain their position at the top end of the of the fleet after their 0830 start.

They did however, struggle to make any impact on the two, well sailed J/24s – College Funds and Glory Daze – who led the fleet for almost two thirds of the race. Innes and team eventually managed jiggle through into the leading position just before East Point and led the fleet for the remaining 20 miles to the finish line.

Innis chatting after the finish, said: “We are thrilled to have crossed the finish line first. It is a great achievement for me, and the British team who are all here on individual charters. It was a great race, despite the light winds at the start but we had good sail up the west coast and flew a spinnaker, close, for most of it.”

Although the lack of record-breaking opportunities on the in 60-nautical mile Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados course proved disappointing for many in the 35-strong fleet, the race was a huge success, with most competitors regarding it as one of the best to date.

Peter Lewis on his J/105 Whistler who won the 35ft and Under, and the CSA divisions said he couldn’t have asked for a better day. “It was an excellent race and despite the generally light airs it was a beautiful day for sailing and one of the best on record. We were a bit concerned the big boats would swamp us towards the end, but thankfully we were far enough ahead.”

Steve McLaren’s 55m Elena of London (A Class Racing Schooner), the recently-launched and locally built Ruth (30.5m schooner), and Tres Hombres (33m Brigantine) looked stunning as they headed glided gracefully up the west coast in the light airs. Ruth and Tres Hombres struggled to round North Point however, and retired, while Elena, with her huge sail aloft, blasted all the way down the east coast. Although she was unable to break the record she set in 2011 she did managed to achieve wins in both the Unlimited and Classic divisions.

Andy Budgen and team on the British VO70 Monster Project who last year blasted round the island and set a new outright monohull round Barbados record with a time of 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds, were unable to repeat/better their performance this year. They came in just under an hour behind the record but were still able to claim the overall win of the 80ft and Under division.

Because the event traditionally takes place on a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day, and is the headline event at the annual Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, it was no surprise that this important sporting event attracted crowds of spectators.

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Serious spectating at North Point – photo Stan Armstrong.

Locals and holidaymakers, not only headed to the south of the island to the beach area at Barbados Cruising Club to relax in the sun and watch the start and finish, but also followed the race by car, stopping off at key vantage points round the coast, including the North Point, the most challenging part of the race.

The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series gala prizegiving party and dinner to mark the end of the 2015 event, takes place tomorrow evening at the Beach House along the west coast of the island.