Barbados prepares for epic Mount Gay Round Barbados Series

Caribbean 2017 season opener attracts record breakers for island rum dash

The beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter never ceases to create a stir off Bridgetown.

The beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter never ceases to create a stir off Bridgetown – photo Peter Marshall

With just 10 days to go before the start of the 2017 Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January), the festival atmosphere in Barbados is starting to rumble writes Sue Pelling.

Overseas entries, including Tony Lawson’s record-breaking MOD70 – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield is already in Bridgetown preparing to defend the Absolute Multihull record the team broke last year in the event’s 80th anniversary year. They wowed the crowds in a thrilling finish that saw them complete the 60nm course just 12 seconds ahead of Phaedo3, co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson, with a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds. In doing so they won an impressive 54 bottles (nine cases) of Extra Old Mount Gay Rum.

Given the fact there is a total 14 established records up for grabs, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, if broken, this event is not only the ultimate choice for speed sailors seeking a spot of early season training for the forthcoming Caribbean season, but also is an ideal post-Christmas choice for sun seekers keen to escape the European winter climate.

Organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay – are currently in the process of welcoming a stream of visitors to Bridgetown’s new marina facilities including the Austrian team on X41 Godspeed who arrived today.

Closer than close on the finish line between the two MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10 and Phaedo3 – in last year’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

Closer than close on the finish line between the two MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10 and Phaedo3 – in last year’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

Peter Gilkes – Consultant to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for Yachting Development – who has been involved in the organisation of the event for many years, believes the Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta has many attractive qualities. Commenting on the 2017 event, Gilkes said: “Following last year’s most successful event to date where some impressive times were achieved during our signature round Barbados race, I am looking forward to welcoming even more entries this year.

“I believe we have a unique event here on the island of Barbados and, after many years of hard work in promoting the regatta globally, it is now a recognised Caribbean circuit favourite. The record breaking sprint around the island and the chance of winning your skipper’s weight in rum is, I believe, a really attractive incentive. Also, with the additional marina facilities this year, including online clearance through Sail Clear, plus washing facilities and Wi-Fi, we hope this event becomes even more established, particularly as a record-breaking location for high performance racers.”

Other interesting entries lined up to have a crack at record-breaking times in the sprint round the island this year include the custom 63ft Irens/Cabaret-designed high-performance multihull Paradox. Ocean Phoenix, the Custom Humphries 78, Maximizer, Farr 72, and Spirit of Juno, Farr 65 are also likely to produce some stiff competition. One of the most interesting entries to watch this year, in the hands of her new owner Roman Guerra, is Monster Project. This is the former Volvo Ocean Racer V070 that still holds the Absolute Monohull Mount Gay Round Barbados record.

In an effort to maintain the event’s tradition, which saw the first race in 1936 based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner round Barbados, there’s a strong classic revival this year. Among those taking part is Adix, the Arthur Holgate 65m. Also in the line-up are Tres Hombres, the 33m working Brigantine, and the locally built 30.5m Schooner Ruth. Event regular Matt Barker will be gracing the waters off Bridgetown once again aboard his pretty Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter.

Skippers Briefing-90During the run-up to the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, competitors will enjoy a mix of serious and fun racing in the three-day Coastal Series, in the constant 12-18 knot east to east-north-east trade winds that Bridgetown is known for. Those heading north, post event can enjoy a final 265nm Ocean Passage Race to Antigua to link up with the Superyacht Challenge.

As headline sponsor, Mount Gay is the theme behind most daily parties and social events including the legendary Red Cap party, a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, and an exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field, at Holetown, St James on lay day. New to the social schedule this year is a party Copacabana Beach Bar located just a few minutes stroll along the beach.

Olympian Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis retain Endeavour Championship title

Tough sailing as Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis win 2016 Endeavour Trophy

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Overall winners Ben Saxton (left) and Toby Lewis with the solid silver Endeavour Trophy – © Roger Mant

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (9 October, 2016): Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (Nacra 17) once again won the Endeavour Championship after some epic sailing hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, thus successfully defending the title they lifted in 2015. This win means Toby has been the winning crew a record six times now, which equals Nick Craig’s helming record.

Saxton was pleased with the racing and commented after the final race: “It was tricky again today, trying to figure out the tides and the wind. I think we did a good job in the first two races and could afford to try some different, safer options in the last two races. It wasn’t any easier though because everyone sailed really hard. Absolutely fantastic racing by everyone.”

Lewis added: “The conditions were tough and we had some serious races with competitors like Edd [Whitehead] and Karen [Oldale] representing the RS500s. The course was unpredictable and ever changing wind conditions requiring some serious concentration.”

The day started with a fresh northerly breeze of about 14 knots with some menacing clouds on the horizon. Fortunately no major rain fell and the experienced competitors were taking advantage of every gust that came their way, especially on the downwind legs where most of the boats were on the plane.

As the day wore on the winds lightened up slightly but remained northerly at about 10 knots, with the occasional big gust, making it more difficult for the heavier crews to maintain optimum speed. The race for second place quickly became a hot contest between four different teams. The RS200s team, Matt Mee and Joanna Wright, managed to sail a consistent four races to secure second place overall, seven points ahead of Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D One).

RS200 national champion Joanna Wright was happy: “Matt and I have only ever sailed together in this event so today we were getting use to each other and had a solid day’s sailing and working together as a team.”

“There are many ex-RS200 champions and RS200 sailors in this fleet and we were determined to beat them,” added Mee.

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Start line action during the final stages of the event – © Roger Mant

Nick Craig came third and was enthusiastic about the racing: “Today was very similar to yesterday for us. The racing was tight but we felt a little sticky, almost not as quick as we could have been. It would have been so much better if we had that 30 knots of wind but it was not to be. Hats off to the other competitors, we really had a great time and some great racing this weekend.”

The Merlin Rocket team – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart – who managed to come fourth overall, are not newcomers to this championship as they have, as a team, won the event in 2003 when they represented the RS400 class at the championship. Gilbert was quite frank and jolly about the racing: “It’s been a long time since we won, we use to be the fittest and the youngest but that appears to have changed. The conditions were very testing and possibly the wind was a bit too light for us. We are still very pleased with the results.”

Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (Fireball) came fifth overall. Birrell was excited about the conditions and the outcome: “We read the tide much better today, we were not all over the place like yesterday. Today we just stuck to what we know and sailed hard to make up places. Two firsts, a second and a third was great sailing for us today.”

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Close, exciting racing on the downwind leg – © Roger Mant

Niki Birrell, Christian’s brother and bronze medal-winning Olympian at the Rio Paralympic Games, was invited to sail in the Endeavour Championship and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When asked about sailing against his brother he replied: “Yesterday I beat him in three races, somehow today he found his mojo and just took off and left me behind. It has been absolutely fantastic and such an honour to be entered. We found the racing to be tight, hard and very competitive and we are very pleased to have come 11th overall. This event has given me much inspiration to pursue my dream of winning a national championship and I know I will need to learn to sail quicker to achieve this dream.”

The weekend was concluded with a prize giving ceremony held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club before the competitors packed up and went their separate ways. Edwin Buckley – event director and race officer commented during the prize giving: “It is always a pleasure to have such champions on the water competing, they give it all that they have and make this event a true test of skill, endurance and tenacity for each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Overall Results (eight races, seven to count)

1st NACRA 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (13pts)
2nd RS200 – Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (31pts)
3rd D ONE – Nick Craig and Holly Scott (38pts)
4th Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (38pts)
5th Fireball – Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (38pts)
6th RS AERO 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin (55pts)

Click here for full results.

Endeavour Trophy 2016 – Training Day Essential

Champion of Champions gets underway at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (7 October, 2016): The Endeavour Trophy started today with competitors attending the on-shore training briefing followed by multiple short training races throughout the afternoon. The Calltracks-sponsored training session at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club was followed by a video debriefing to further prepare the competitors for their racing over the weekend.

This year sailing is once again in the RS200 and the organisers retained Steve Irish to lead the training. Commenting on the competitors and their ability to adapt to a new boat, Irish said: “Clearly these sailors have skills that are very transferable. The range of experience is vast and I believe we will have some very interesting and close racing over the weekend. It is excellent to see such a range of sailors and the younger sailors have an opportunity to compete against some of the most experienced dinghy sailors in the world. There is also a healthy spirit of competitiveness amongst all the champions.”

The weather prediction for the two days is primarily a northerly wind but on Saturday, during the racing period,  the wind will be lighter with an easterly wind of about 8 knots, accompanied by some rain in the afternoon. On Sunday, depending on which weather model is used, it is predicted there may be stronger winds gusting around 15 knots and some sunny skies. Many competitors relish the stronger winds but they know that the unpredictability of the weather will once again make this an interesting championship.

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Ben Saxton inspecting and preparing the RS 200 for racing

Prior to the practice session Ben Saxton, last year’s Endeavour Trophy winner and the Nacra 17 Olympic entry for Team GB, said: “This will be my first racing back in a dinghy since Rio and I am looking forward to getting to grips with the boat and fine tuning my skills with Toby so we can hit the ground running tomorrow. There are some competitors who are currently very on-form in the RS200 and we really want to beat them using our combined racing skills.” 

Toby Lewis, Ben’s crew explained: “Time in the boat and practice will be very useful – we have both been sailing different boats this last year so we need to get back in tune with each other, something that is crucial if we want to retain the title.”

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Champions preparing for training with Steve Irish

The record number of 26 entries this year has competitors aged between 13 and 59 years old and subsequently their varying skills and approaches will ensure some interesting results. Edwin Buckley, race organiser, said: “The championship this year sees some favourites returning but there are many new faces with diverse skills that may very well change the outcome of the racing. We are looking forward to varied racing conditions which will make it possible for anyone to win.”

The racing starts at 10:30 on Saturday and will be completed after a total of eight races over the two days. Tradition has it that the race officer tries to get in five or six races on the Saturday so that the Sunday racing is more flexible and not so rushed.  

 

Confirmed Entries

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Endeavour Trophy Racing

 

2000 Class Fergus Barnham and Serena De Nahlik
29er Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling
420 Robbie King and Marcus Tressler
505 Andy Smith and Alex Barry
Cadet Jamie Harris and Bettine Harris
D One Nick Craig and Holly Scott
Enterprise Tim Sadler and Jeremy Stevens
Fireball Christian Birrell and Emma Norris
Graduate John Clementson and Jamie Clementson
Lark Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes
Merlin Rocket Roger Gilbert and James Stewart
Miracle Hannah Smith and Nick Smith
Musto Skiff Alex Knight and Megan Pascoe
Nacra 17 Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
RS 200 Mat Mee and Joanna Wright
RS 400 Paul Oakey and Mark Oakey
RS 500 Edd Whitehead and Karen Oldale
RS 800 Luke McEwen and Emma McEwen
RS Aero 5 Archie Hainsworth and Freddie Wootton
RS Aero 7 David Ellis and Chloe Martin
RS Feva William Pank and Finley Dickinson
RS Vareo David Jarrett and Emma Hivey
Scorpion Chris Turner and Alex Hayman
Skud 18 Niki Birrell and Jonny McGovern
Supernova Iain Horlock and Victoria Upton
Topper 5.3 Samuel Cooper and Alistair Rimmer

 

Supporting partners

RS Sailing

Produce a wide range of award winning sailboats including the RS200 used for the 2016 Endeavour Championship. The company is based in Hampshire and is supported by a worldwide dealer network, and active class associations throughout the world.

http://www.rssailing.com

Allen Brothers

Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware – designers, manufacturers and distributors of performance dinghy and keelboat fittings.

http://www.allenbrothers.co.uk

Calltracks

The Calltracks tracking solution is a comprehensive and easy-to-use web-based system, which enables businesses to take better control of their sales and marketing activities.

http://www.calltracks.com

Hyde Sails

UK managed and owned company, producing performance sails worldwide for dinghies and yachts for over 40 years.

http://www.hydesails.co.uk

Magic Marine

Develop and produce technical dinghy and catamaran sailing gear worldwide.

http://www.magicmarine.com

Kingfisher DSM Group

Kingfisher yacht ropes is DSM group’s own brand of high performance sailing ropes and equipment.

http://www.yachtropes.co.uk/

 Lonton and Gray sail makers

Manufacturers of quality sails for dinghies, keelboats and Squibs, all made in the UK.

http://www.lontonandgray.com

 Endeavour contact

Edwin Buckley on +44 (0) 7768 003 453 or email edwin@sweetings.uk.com.

Facebook

Endeavour Trophy

https://www.facebook.com/Endeavour-Trophy-175425519205632/

Event website

http://royalcorinthian.co.uk/endeavour

Boom time for Supernova Class Dinghy – 120 signed up for 20th Anniversary Nationals

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Always a good competitive fleet – photo Josh Cooper

The singlehanded Supernova dinghy is currently enjoying a flourish of interest as the Class celebrates its 20th anniversary year. With entry to the 2016 National championship in Llandudno (1-3 July) already at its 120-boat safety limit, and with 30+ boats regularly racing on the open meeting circuit, the Supernova is one of fastest growing UK dinghy classes in recent years.

In its effort to maintain what has always been a popular singlehander since its launch in 1996, the Association has successfully reversed the trend of what’s happening in many other dinghy classes where attendance is static or, in some cases, on the decrease.

A steady increase of 56 entries at the 2013 Nationals, 61 in 2014, 67 in 2015, and 120 in 2016, indicates the Supernova Association has got it ‘right’. By listening to what its sailors want the Association has come up with a successful formula that looks set to help the Class make exciting growth over the coming few years.

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Perfect design for a wide crew weight range – photo Josh Cooper

With generous sponsorship from Zhik, Hartley Boats, Allen, and significant contributions from the Association, the Class was able to offer entry incentives, with first 100 entries to the 2016 Nationals paying just £40 coupled with a generous array of prizes.

Chris Hawley, chairman of the Class Association commented: “We aim to create an enjoyable environment for all of our members both on and off the water. We have some really great sailors and importantly a friendly supportive attitude through the fleet. We saw the 20th anniversary as a great way of marketing the Class, so just after the Paignton Nationals in July 2015 we decided to aim high for 100 boats, with the entry opening in October. We were offered generous sponsorship, which we are very grateful for. We hit 120 almost immediately, so had to cap the entry for safety grounds and produce a waiting list. ”

With just under two months before the mid summer event, plans are progressing well and Llandudno is poised to cope with the huge fleet. Hawley continued: “The ten race, three-day championship format (late start on day one and early finish on day three) works well and I believe encourages a bigger turnout. For this special event, we’ve booked a 4 Star hotel for our grand anniversary dinner. We are pleased that Mark Giles, the original designer will be in attendance as well as the original prototype Supernova participating in the racing (though not being sailed by Mark).”

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The Mk 2 Supernova is ideally suited to sea racing with its open transom – photo Josh Cooper

Other key 20th anniversary events so far have included the Oxford Carriers Winter Nationals in February at Bowmoor SC with 31 entries, and the Class debut at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in March, which generated a lot of interest particularly among newcomers looking for both new and secondhand boats. The Inland Championship at Northampton SC in September is expected to attract well over 60 boats.

While the anniversary year (and the celebrations that go with it) have naturally proved a great way to boost interest within the Class, the real growth in ownership of the Supernova over the last few years has helped to firm up its position as one of the most rewarding singlehanded dinghies to sail.

This lightweight epoxy singlehander, designed for close competitive racing for all sailing abilities, has proved a real attraction not only for sailors from other Classes (including some of the top sailors from the Merlin Rocket fleet), but also newcomers to the sport. One of the biggest draws in the Class’ anniversary year is the Noble Marine-sponsored Travellers series, which comprises over 20 open meetings. At the recent Cotswold SC Travellers event a total of 40 boats turned out.

4A healthy flow of new boats from builders Hartley Boats has created a flourish of reasonably priced second-hand boats, most of which have been snapped up for the forthcoming National championship. The orders for new builds are expected to rise again post championship, which means there’ll be some interesting used boats on the market once again for next season.

 

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.

MS Barbados_concise

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.

Beach_house

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.

prizes

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.

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race spectacular – Records demolished at 80th anniversary race

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Just 12 seconds between the two MOD70s after 60nm – photo Peter Marshall.

Big winds, big speeds and the fastest ever times ever recorded made the 80thanniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, one of the most spectacular in history with a total of five records broken, and each team winning their skipper’s weight in rum.

Racing was over staggered starts commencing at 0700 with a good mix of yachts ranging from Classics including the stunning duo – The Blue Peter and Galatea – Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner, and a competitive group smaller boats including three J/24s. However, the stars of the show that set off last and raced 60nms round the island neck and neck were undoubtedly the two world-class MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson. They promised to thrill, and indeed they did.

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MS Barbados Concise 10 c;laims victory – photo Peter Marshall.

Right from the start in the 20+kt breeze, there was no stopping these powerful beasts as they took off from the line in Carlisle Bay and circumnavigated the island in the fastest ever speeds. Like predators, they jostled for dominance all the way round the course and ended their battle with MS Barbados Concise 10 claiming victory by just 12 seconds. They completed the course in a staggering 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds, shaving under two hours off the previous Multihull record.

An elated Collier Wakefield celebrating back on shore, commented: “Racing two MOD70s round the island, essentially match racing was just awesome. It is something we have been working so hard for, and really putting in the hours so to get the record is absolutely amazing.”

After the a good start in a building breeze the two teams enjoyed an exciting broad reach up the west coast but MS Barbados Concise 10 was hit by a big gust, which allowed Team Phaedo3 to slip into the lead.

Collier Wakefield continued: “We were right on our ear and had to ease the sheet. But because, we knew the North Point was the most crucial part of the race, we were up there at 7am practicing this morning. We had tested it out and knew we could cut up inside them at the Point. By doing so we took the advantage and, once ahead it was a case of just keeping cover. But with 22kts of wind and 37kts of boat speed flying a hull downwind, it was full on all the way.”

phaedo

Phaedo3 fought to the end – photo Peter Marshall.

Lloyd Thornburg co skipper of Phaedo3 added: “It was a great race but after sailing 60 miles flat out it was a tiring one. Well done MS Barbados Concise 10.”

Another great record-breaking achievement came from local sailor, Trevor Hunte, who not only smashed the Windsurfer record he set in 2014 by an impressive 2 hour, 41 minute margin but also led the entire fleet all the way round the course to take line honours. He completed the course in 5 hours, 34 minutes, 16 seconds. He scooted round the island on his Phantom Batwing 377 raceboard and RS:X rig and beat fellow windsurfer, Frenchman Fabrice Cornic, on a Fanatic.

A slightly shattered, but delighted Hunte as he stepped ashore commented: “Wow, I can’t believe I did that. I am elated. Despite not seeing anyone because I led all the way, it was far from boring. The wind got up to 25kts or more between Holetown and Speightstown on the west coast. It was flat out doing 20kts on the beam. Lots of scary moments, and North Point was ridiculous because the waves were so big I could barely tack. No place for the feint-hearted, that’s for sure.”

Because the race, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay,traditionally takes place on a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day, and is the headline event of the annual Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, it was no surprise that this important sporting event attracted crowds of spectators.

Locals and holidaymakers, not only headed to the south of the island to hub of the event at Barbados Cruising Club, and Barbados Yacht Club to relax in the sun and watch the starts and finishes, but supporters also followed the race by car, stopping off at key vantage points round the coast, including the North Point, historically the most challenging part of the race.

Sailing a J/24 round the notorious North Point is a challenge, but one that Team College Funds took in their stride. Skippered by Laser sailor Jason Tindale (25) and crewed by a team of youth sailors, they were once again noted for their impressive performance. They sailed a tactically good race, completed the course in 8 hours, 37 minutes, 26 second, and were delighted to have broken the record they established last year, by 18 minutes.

Tindale commented: “We are so happy to have skimmed some time off last year. But I have to say last year was a walk in the park compared to this one. We had about 22kts of wind with a three-metre swell off North Point, which is not comfortable on a J/24 but we got through it. The racing was great and we particularly enjoyed out battle with Whistler [J/105], which got a bit hairy rounding Needhams Point towards the finish. Now looking forward to collecting our hoard of rum!”

Equally impressive was the Singlehanded record, broken by fellow J/24 sailor Cecil Lecrenay on Bunga-Bunga. He completed the course in 9 hours, 46 minutes, 42 seconds.

Dave Staples and the Williams Industries Inc. team on the TP52 Conviction had a bit of a rodeo start when they launched their kite off the line, but once settled and were able to gain control to bear off, they sailed like demons, and completed the course in 5 hours, 34 minutes, 16 seconds, which meant they were able to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record they broke last year.

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Trovor Hunt takes line honours and breaks the record – photo Peter Marshall.

The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series gala prizegiving party and dinner to mark the end of the 2016 80th anniversary event, takes place tomorrow evening at the Beach House on the west coast of the island.

2016 records

  • Multihull – MS Barbados Concise 10 course time: 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds. Previous record: 4 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds.
    Windsurfer – Trevor Hunte course time: 5 hours, 34 minutes, 16 seconds. Previous record: 7 Hours, 59 minutes, 10 seconds.
    One-Design J/24 – Team College Fundscourse time: 8 hours, 37 minutes, 26 second. Previous record: 9 hours, 6 minutes, 38 seconds.
    60ft and Under – TP52 Conviction course time: 5 hours, 34 minutes, 16 seconds. Previous record: 6 hours, 7 minutes, 6 seconds.
    Singlehanded Monohull – J/24 Bunga-Bunga course time: 9 hours, 46 minutes, 42 seconds. Previous record: 9 hours, 49 minutes, 58 seconds.