Keelboat Endeavour Trophy postponed –Big winds force the postponement of inaugural keelboat champion of champions’ event at Burnham-on-Crouch

Photo – Roger Mant

Photo – Roger Mant

With the wind projected to gust more than 40 kts on Sunday, the race committee at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, has made the sensible decision to postpone the Keelboat Endeavour Trophy writes Sue Pelling.

This inaugural event to determine the UK keelboat champions of champions was scheduled to take place this weekend (22-23 September) but with a series of low-pressure systems sweeping across the UK and forecast to continue until the weekend, the chances of completing a full two-day race series looked slim. Edwin Buckley – the Event Director – said he and his committee felt it was prudent to make an early call.

“It was a difficult decision but regrettably the Keelboat Endeavour is to be postponed. The wind on Sunday is expected to be gusting more than 40 kts so this will make the event un-sailable because we do need two days of good racing to have a successful event.

“We are naturally disappointed because we were all looking forward to some good racing at this first event with eight teams from all around the country, signed up to race the club’s fleet of 707s.”

Although the new date for the inaugural Keelboat Endeavour has yet to be confirmed there are two dates the committee has in mind, either 23-24 March or 6-7 April 2019. Buckley continued: “As soon as we have a firm date we will let everyone know. Those who missed this wonderful opportunity can request an application form from info@royalcorinthian.co.uk.”

The spring Keelboat Endeavour using up to six of the RCYC’s fleet of 707s will be run in a British Keelboat League-style knock-out format with 25 plus races over two days with RYA on-the-water umpires keeping an eye on proceedings.

The event is open to all keelboat champions including J/109, J/111, Fast40s as well as a large contingent of champions from classes like the Squib, Flying 15 and local one-designs that run a national championship and have exceptionally high quality competition.

In the meantime the annual and long-running Endeavour Trophy for dinghy champions is scheduled to take place this autumn on 12-14 October 2018. With 30 entries already signed up, this end-of-season dinghy Champion of Champions’ event is as popular now than it has ever been with many dinghy sailors regarding it as the ultimate prize on the UK dinghy racing circuit.

Photo – Roger Mant

Photo – Roger Mant

Glorious day for Glorious Fools at Burnham Week Trophy Day – Summer returns for closing day of East Coast favourite

For the second year running Digger Harden, sailing his well-tuned, 11-year-old J/80 Glorious Fools with local team mates, has won the Town Cup at Burnham Week writes Sue Pelling.

In the big race finale yesterday (1 September), Harden, Doug Duce, Flynn Davies (21), Holly Dabson (20) and Tom Adams (24) completed a tactically challenging series in the light airs to clinch the coveted piece of historic silverware from Duncan Haley in his well-sailed Corby 29 Double Trouble.

Town Cup winners Glorious Fools concentrate on speed to the finish line – photo Roger Mant

Town Cup winners Glorious Fools concentrate on speed to the finish line – photo Roger Mant

The Town Cup three-race/no discard new series format – introduced at last year’s 125th anniversary event to replace the traditional one-off race on the final Saturday –has succeeded in keeping the competition in IRC class intense right to the end. With just one point between the top two boats going into yesterday’s final, it was all about who won the last race.

In total contrast to the opening weekend of Burnham Week where a stiff westerly breeze dominated proceedings, yesterday’s final showdown produced glorious summer-like conditions in shifty, light, south-easterly winds that reached no more than 9kts.

A nail-biting finish across the Royal Corinthian YC line in the patchy winds saw Double Trouble take line honours five minutes ahead of the J/80 and was on track for the top result but the ever pursuing Glorious Fools pushed ahead in the closing stages of the race to snatch the overall win by just 14 seconds on corrected time.

Town Cup winners (from front): Doug Duce, Digger Harden, Holly Dabson, Flynn Davies, Tom Adams – photo Sue Pelling

Town Cup winners (from front): Doug Duce, Digger Harden, Holly Dabson, Flynn Davies, Tom Adams – photo Sue Pelling

A delighted Harden chatting as he stepped ashore after a tough day on the water said: “To be honest it could easily have gone either way because Double Trouble sailed a really good race and there was hardly anything in it in the end. We’ve had a great day of sailing on a tight course with lots of corners, which made it interesting. We are so excited to have won it for the second year running, this time with some younger blood onboard, who worked really hard as a team.”

Doug Duce on the helm, said today’s win was even more special for him: “This is the fifth time I have won the Town Cup, two years in a row with Glorious Fools, so I am extremely pleased. It was even more poignant as it was 80 years ago to the day my grandfather Percy Duce won the Cup on Blue Trout in 1938. 

Team Seaword on their way to winning the 707 national championship – photo Roger Mant

Team Seaword on their way to winning the 707 national championship – photo Roger Mant

As well as the final Saturday Trophy races for the remaining classes, it was also the concluding day of the extremely competitive, four-day/12-race 707 national championship in which 14 boats took part. The overall winning team sailing Seaword, one of the seven Scottish teams taking part, scored an impressive eight wins beating second placed Chris Spark and team on Turbulence by a staggering 21 points. Helmed by Andy Marshall with owner Dara O’Malley, and Hugh Watson, Murphy Graham and Nick Elder calling the shots, this team sailed well throughout the week and managed to achieve their goal. Watson, who was on tactics said Burnham is rapidly becoming one of his favourite venues. “I did the Endeavour crewing for the RS300 champ, and two other 707 events here, and it really is a great place to sail.

“Our strategy at this event was not to mess up at any time so we are very pleased. Having never won the championship we were determined we really wanted this one and it seemed to work. We are also delighted in the fact we can now hopefully compete in the first ever Keelboat Endeavour Trophy, which takes place here in few weeks.”

Other top scorers of the week included Will Dallimore and team on Mandarin in the local Royal Burnham One-Design fleet who notched up an impressive run of six wins during the week to take the Bank Holiday and the Mid Week Series. Saturday however, was a different story with closest rivals Stephen Herring and team on Red Jacket managing to break Mandarin’s total domination. Herring commented: “It had to be done and we are all delighted of course. Winning today was all about perseverance, good team work, and keeping in clear air.”

Dallimore added: “All season we have been nip and tuck with her [Red Jacket] and just had the edge on her this week, so it was very appropriate that she won today. Today’s loss was because we made a very, very bad start, so we were buried in the fleet on the beat, and went aground for quite a while so pretty much everything went wrong.”

With 11 boats racing this week, and an influx of young sailors signing up including 18-year-old Arthur Brown helming White Rose who led today’s race, Dallimore says the RBOD class is in great shape. “There is a huge demand for youngsters to get a slot on the boats, which is great because they are the future of the fleet. The youngsters are already talking about next Burnham Week so we will encourage that.”

Closer than close in the popular Squib class that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – photo Roger Mant

Closer than close in the popular Squib class that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – photo Roger Mant

The largest fleet and one of the most competitive as always was the Squib, which mustered a total of 24 boats in the class’s 50th anniversary year. Robert and Tracy Coyle on Humphrey won the opening Bank Holiday Weekend series and the overall week’s points series, but Malcolm and Jackie Hutchings on Lady Penelope clinched the Midweek Series and Saturday’s Burnham Week Bowl.

Star performance from Squib sailors Malcolm and Jackie Hutchings on Lady Penelope – photo Roger Mant

Star performance from Squib sailors Malcolm and Jackie Hutchings on Lady Penelope – photo Roger Mant

Hutchings said he is really pleased to see such a great turnout: “Actually I am particularly pleased that the fleet is starting to attract plenty of newcomers and younger sailors because that is naturally very important for the class. We also enjoy exceptional racing and great socials, and this week was no exception.”

Following the grand Burnham Week prize giving ceremonies at the Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian YCs, activities around town culminated with a grand fireworks display to mark the end of the 2018 Burnham Week festival. Meanwhile Team Glorious Fools celebrated their Town Cup win in style and, in true traditional spirit, filled the cup with bubbles, and paraded it around the Town visiting most clubs and pubs on the way.

For results go to: http://www.burnhamweek.com

 

Golden Globe start

Emotions ran high with barely a ‘dry eye in the house’ at the start of the Golden Globe Race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France on 1 July, writes Sue Pelling.

Fond farewells on race day – photo Julio Graham

Fond farewells on race day – photo Julio Graham

After three years of preparation for this 30,000nm, non-stop round the world race, 17 of the 18 contestants from 13 different countries bid their final farewells to their loved ones in an emotional send off under the watchful eye of 35,000 visitors.

As the skippers cast off and motored down the famous Vendée Globe, spectator-lined Canal in scorching hot sun, and a flicker of wind that struggled to reach 6kts, hoards of spectator vessels joined the exodus out to the start area including a group of historic solo yachts – Bernard Moitessier’s Joshua and Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV, together with Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick III and Pen Duick VI.

The warm welcome in Les Sables d’Olonne always attracts huge crowds – photo Julio Graham

The warm welcome in Les Sables d’Olonne always attracts huge crowds – photo Julio Graham

 Having enjoyed all the razzmatazz of the final few weeks in the run up to the start, including the feeder race from Falmouth to the host start port of Port Olona, it was, as Susie Goodall told Classic Boat, “time to go.” Goodall (28) aboard her 1995-built Rustler 36 DHL Starlight was clearly sad, yet relieved to be finally underway and was looking forward to settling into a rhythm on the first night at sea.

The midday start, signaled by a cannon fired from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili, saw the seasoned racers take advantage of the fickle wind. Frenchman Philippe Péché aboard his Rustler 36 PRB sporting a huge lightweight genoa, was first to emerge from the pack followed by 73-year-old Jean-Luc Van Den Heede – the oldest skipper in the race – aboard Matmut.

Susie Goodall (centre) with her mum and brother, just before setting sail – photo Julio Graham

Susie Goodall (centre) with her mum and brother, just before setting sail – photo Julio Graham

Others in the top rank were Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen, Dutch sailor Mark Slats and Russia’s Igor Zaretskiy, although with a race that is expected to take between 9-10 months – estimate 240-250 days for the leaders – it is far too early to make worthy form predictions.

In his summing up of this unique event just before the fleet set sail, Don McIntyre, Chairman of the Golden Globe Race, commented: “My passion is to support adventure and my aim to make the race affordable to anyone, keep it simple, and always put the wishes of the entrants first.” With six skippers having already lodged interest in the 2022 Golden Globe, including McIntyre himself, who will race a new Joshua class boat, the future looks exceptionally bright for the Golden Globe’s new era.

Keelboat Endeavour Trophy – New UK keelboat champion of champions event at Burnham-on-Crouch

The highly contested 707 national championship – photo Roger Mant

 photo Roger Mant

The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch (RCYC), and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) announce the launch of the Keelboat Endeavour Trophy writes Sue Pelling.

The aim of this new event, scheduled to take place on 22-23 September 2018, is to establish the UK keelboat champions of champions’, in a similar format to the long-running and successful annual Endeavour Trophy for dinghies.

Using up to six of the RCYC’s fleet of 707s, the Keelboat Endeavour Trophy will be run in a British Keelboat League-style knock-out format with 25 plus races over the weekend, and with RYA on-the-water umpires keeping an eye on proceedings.

The team behind the RCYC and RYA joint venture, including Edwin Buckley (RCYC Event Director), Bas Edmonds (RYA Racing Services Manager) and Jack Fenwick (RYA Keelboat Development Manager) say after three years in the planning they are thrilled to finally be able to launch the event.

Edmonds commented: “It has been a long time coming but we are now in a position to run an event that we [RYA and Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch] believe will become as significant as the dinghy Champion of Champions’ Endeavour Trophy.

“As far as entries go, we are trying to be as inclusive as possible, particularly in the first year so classes like the J/109, J/111, Fast40s, and potentially the IRC national champion have the opportunity to come along. We also expect to see a large contingent of champions from classes like the Squibs, Flying 15s and local one-designs that run a national championship and have exceptionally high quality competition.

“The launch of this event couldn’t have come at a better time because we are really noticing a bit of ascendancy in keelboat racing at the moment. Certainly the smaller dayboats are seeing a resurgence.

“Overall, I think it is a really good time for keelboat sailing and I can confirm the Royal Corinthian at Burnham, and the RYA are pretty excited about having an opportunity to showcase keelboat sailing at its best.”

Buckley, who is delighted to be able to build on the success of the Endeavour, added: “This is also another step in history of the Endeavour and I know that the original founders of the dinghy event that celebrates 58 years this year, would be delighted to see the Endeavour Trophy evolve by expanding the event from dinghies to keelboats.”

A total of 24 keelboat teams are expected to contest the title, which will take place over short, windward/leeward courses on the tactical, tidal waters of the River Crouch and Roach.

The organisers of the event are keen to encourage keelboat classes to lodge an interest in putting forward class representatives from the 2018 national championships that take place throughout the summer.

To ensure your keelboat class is represented at the inaugural Keelboat Endeavour Trophy, email Edwin Buckley: endeavour.trophy@royalcorinthian.co.uk.

US Virgin Islands defy hurricane wrath

St Croix, St Thomas and St John open for business as Caribbean regatta season gets underway

 

The beautiful white beaches and turquoise water off Buck Island, St Croix – photo Sue Pelling

The beautiful white beaches and turquoise water off Buck Island, St Croix – photo Sue Pelling

Just six months after the devastation caused by Irma and Maria, two category 5 hurricanes that swept through Caribbean last year, life in some areas, including on the US Virgin Island of St Thomas, St Croix and St John, is beginning to return to some sort of normality writes Sue Pelling.

I use the word normality fairly loosely because following a visit to the US Virgin Islands during the three-day 45th St Thomas International Regatta (STIR) the week before last I had the opportunity see the extent of the damage the hurricanes caused.

Although it is difficult to imagine things ever being ‘back to normal’ given the fact that thousands of residents of the US Virgin Islands lost their homes and all possessions, and in some more remote areas there is still no electricity, there is a real positive spirit on all three islands, which is quite remarkable.

Perfect conditions for close racing in CSA Class 1 at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

Perfect conditions for close racing in CSA Class 1 at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

Fundraising to help rebuild the Virgin Islands has been overwhelming including Sailors for Hope (a non-profit and all-volunteer project currently supporting the British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands and St Maarten), and the marine industry-specific Marine Rebuild Fund – US Virgin Islands (MRF). These have not only provided the opportunity to speed up the process for essential repairs and rebuilds in the marine sector, but have also allowed essential work to be carried out on beaches and cruising grounds in an effort to help re-build tourism.

St Thomas YC did suffer structural damage to its roof, and it lost its dock but in an effort not to lose its slot on the Caribbean Race Calendar in the future, speedy repairs to have it ready for business on opening day of the 46th St Thomas International annual regatta were built into the plan of the huge hurricane recovery effort.

The extent of the work carried out by locals, other Caribbean islands, support from the US Virgin Island Department of Tourism, and those from further afield, is humbling and it is thanks to them, events like the St Thomas International Regatta and also St Croix regatta on its neighboring island, were able to run without hitch. 

A hub of activity at St Thomas YC during the regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

A hub of activity at St Thomas YC during the regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

Pat Bailey, local, Race Officer at St Thomas International Regatta, and the man behind a lot of work that went into the rebuild, commented: “This community on St Thomas has been extraordinary and phenomenal to enable us to run this regatta. The regatta has been fantastic but we have done an awful lot to get here. For many of us, being here at the regatta is the first time [since the hurricanes] we have stopped to take a breath to have fun.”

The 50 race teams who made the effort to attend the regatta including locals and entries from Puerto Rico, Antigua, the USA, Canada, Europe, was exceptional and proof of just how those in the sailing world are passionate about being able to offer support in a crisis.

The STIR is also a prime example of how huge obstacles – in STYC’s case, hurricane damage and the loss of a headline sponsor (formerly known as the Rolex St Thomas International Regatta) – can actually have a positive effect by giving the event a chance to return to its roots. While there is no doubt that, in time, grand prix pro race teams will return the beautiful waters of the US Virgin Islands, the force of nature has, in some ways, provided a golden opportunity to promote more grass-root, club level sailors from all around the world.

Donald Makowiecki, Founder of Sailors For Hope and International Sailing Judge at the STIR said he is amazed at how the sailors have really mucked in: “In some ways a crisis like this brings a lot of the small boats back to the regatta from neighbouring islands as well as international entries. Getting back to a smaller, island based regatta more like it used to be – back to the grass roots – is, in my opinion, positive. The conditions here in St Thomas act as a magnet to the grand prix racers and we are looking forward to welcoming them back next year.” 

While tourism, not surprisingly, took a big hit following Irma and Maria, six months on there are definite signs of recovery on the USVIs with hotels like The Buccaneer on St Croix and restaurants including the Zion Modern Kitchen operating as usual. Although they are not officially open for business following hurricane damage, St Thomas’ Margaritaville Vacation Club supported the regatta by opening the doors to competitors and race officials.

St Thomas charter sector in full flow – photo VI Professional charter Association

St Thomas charter sector in full flow – photo VI Professional charter Association

The charter business is starting to show signs of life once again with the VI Professional Charter Association reporting good activity particularly within the smaller boutique-style charter sector. Yachts like the St Thomas-based 50ft St Francis Catamaran Paradigm Shift, run by Steven and Bonnie Carroll, are one of the many high-end charter boats on offer for day or week-long charters. Oriel Blake VIPCA Executive Director said: “Because most of the smaller companies sent their vessels to Grenada for protection during the hurricanes they managed to get through without damage. We have over 250 vessels for charter and privately owned boats like Paradigm Shift are proving very popular with events such as weddings.

“I think also, by viewing their charter as a form of hurricane relief, charter guests can enjoy our beaches, bars and restaurants while contributing to the economy getting back on its feet – chartering for a cause.”

St Thomas offers an abundance of beautiful anchorages for cruising – photo VI Professional charter Association

St Thomas offers an abundance of beautiful anchorages for cruising – photo VI Professional charter Association

Dick Neville, STIR Race Officer, said it is remarkable how everybody down here just pulled it together: “We were told the best way for anyone to help is to just come here and spend money, so that is what is happening. “We saw lots of places to donate money to help out but as professional race officers we decided to help out by donating our time, and paying our own way this year. 

Sharon Rosario from the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism in one of the closing speeches at the event prizegiving commented on the importance of the regatta and the role it played in reigniting the tourism industry in the US Virgin Islands: “The fair winds that now blow will hopefully help encourage people of all abilities to get on the water and help strengthen St Thomas YC’s reputation as a world class regatta and training venue. This is an important event in terms of tourism, and we are honoured to be a supporting partner, which gives us a chance to welcome visitors to our beautiful islands.”

Competition in all classes throughout the three-day regatta was intense with international sailors taking a large chunk of the ‘silverware’ including Philippe Moortgat and team from Belgium on the 16-year-old Swan 45, Samantage in CSA Spinnaker Class 1. Rob Butler from Canada on his new Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing won CSA Spinnaker Class 2. Moortgat commented: “We wanted to spend as much time here as possible so we shipped the boat. Shipping was less expensive than doing the ARC, particularly time wise, so it was the best option for us. We did the RORC 600 and this is our second event. Basically we are doing most of the Caribbean race season and enjoying every minute.”

IC24 fleet ‘firing on all cylinders’

Close racing in the IC24 fleet at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

Close racing in the IC24 fleet at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

When last year’s hurricanes devastated six of the club’s nine IC24s the future of the class racing at the club looked fairly bleak. But thanks to the gallant efforts of Dave Franzell – Director of St Thomas Sailing Centre – who put a plan together, there were 14 racing at the Regatta including four from Puerto Rico.

Given the fact the IC24 (J/24 with a re-designed open deck/cockpit) is one of the most popular one-design raceboats of the Caribbean, and boats in the fleet had been offered for charter, the club knew it was crucial to have the boats in action again as soon as possible.

Franzell, who masterminded the re-build job commented: “To St Thomas YC’s complete credit they agreed to pay for the job regardless of when and whether they received the insurance settlement. Given the fact that all the local glassfibre specialists were in great demand I had to look elsewhere. There was only one person I had in mind to get the job completed in the time – Chris Small. I have been in the sailing industry for about 50 years and I have met a lot of guys specialising in glassfibre work but there is no one to beat Chris Small in terms and quality and speed.

“I asked Chris to put a pallet of material together, and all his tools, and come down and spend a month to carry out the rebuild. He arrived 1 November last year and by 30 November, the agreed time, the boats were not only fixed but looked brand-new, and structurally they were more sound than ever before.”

Chatting about the IC24 and its origin (Inter Club 24) Franzell added: “The J/24 was one of the most successful one-designs in the world but to improve crew comfort St Thomas-based Chris Rosenberg and Morgan Avery had the idea to take a boat that sails well and make it comfortable. They literally took a chainsaw and ripped one apart by sawing it across the deck, cabin and taking the entire cockpit out of the boat. They then took a really comfortable cockpit from a Melges 24, popped it in place, trimmed it to fit and glassed it in. That is essentially an IC24.”

 

Hobie Wave – a popular addition

The new Hobie Wave fleet at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

The new Hobie Wave fleet at St Thomas International Regatta – photo Dean Barnes/STIR

Although beach cats have always been represented at St Thomas International Regatta, the addition of the one-design Hobie Wave class this year was popular with 12 boats racing – six boats owned by St Thomas YC and another six from Cruz Bay Watersports, St John. Racing was so close that going into the final day Bill Bacon and Pierre-James Zani were tied for first. However, Kyree Culver, the super-smart St Thomas YC sailor, sailed well on the final day and took the overall win at her first major regatta.

John Holmberg, who was also racing a Hobie Wave said the class is a great idea as a club boat. “It is the pipeline, the beginning of sailing to get people of all ages into the sport. The racing is kind of secondary. They are easy to sail and a lot of fun and they have encouraged a lot of family teams to participate.”

 

Commenting on the effects of the hurricane, Holmberg said it is a big pivot point in a lot of people’s lives: “A lot of people have never experienced a hurricane before because the last big one was about 20 years ago. Probably about a quarter of the population was born since then, so it kind of makes you re-access what’s important in your life.”

St Croix

Like St Thomas, the stunning and historic island of St Croix is starting to get back on track after the violent storm season. Thanks to the unwavering support of volunteers, sponsorship from government and local businesses St Croix International Regatta took place in early March. Although numbers were, not surprisingly, down the 25th anniversary event, was a success. Karen Stanton – commodore of St Croix YC – said: “We had a about 20 boats mainly the smaller boats because many were damaged in the hurricanes. However, it was our 25th year and a really good start to our recovery process. Plans are now in place for next year’s regatta, which we hope will attract more entries.”

St Croix YC up and running for the St Croix Regatta – Sue Pelling

St Croix YC up and running for the St Croix Regatta – Sue Pelling

As well as its stunning white beaches, and top class diving, snorkeling in places like Buck Island, the Danish architectural influence of St Croix makes it one of the most interesting, stylish and unspoilt Caribbean islands. Together with it historic towns and monuments, rain forests, rum distilleries and botanical gardens, it has the added attraction of its close proximity to St Thomas and St John (15-minute flight away).

For the cruising sailor, at the right time of year, this is a real gem of a place to add to the bucket list. Spend a bit of time in Salt River Bay National Historic Park, and Ecological Preserve, Christiansted. This is however, a place for careful navigation through the small gap in the reef and keeping a careful eye on the newly positioned navigation pole. Once inside the bay, it is possible to explore this important mangrove forest area that support threatened and endangered species. Although it was severely hit by the hurricanes and still shows signs of devastation with plenty of sunk vessels along the river banks there is plenty of historic interest, not least because it is arguably the only official documented site where Christopher Columbus landed (1pm on 14 November, 1493).

Salt River – photo Sue Pelling

Salt River – photo Sue Pelling

While the sheer tenacity and ‘get-up-and-go’ spirit of the people in the US Virgin Islands has managed to set them on the way to recovery, there is much to be done to bring back the tourists. If you want to help, look at any of the websites below and plan a trip the USVIs whether you sail or fly there, they need us to spend dollars, and it is worth every penny.

 

https://www.visitusvi.com/

http://www.usviupdate.com/

https://www.usvirecovery.org/

http://cfvi.net/

https://sailorsforhope.com/

 

The stunning island of St John post hurricane – photo USVI Department of Tourism

The stunning island of St John post hurricane – photo USVI Department of Tourism

Barbados Sailing Week finale

Gala prizegiving marks end of successful regatta

Bridgetown, Barbados (23 January, 2018): Barbados Sailing Week incorporating the Coastal Racing Series and the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race concluded last night at a sumptuous rum-themed prizegiving dinner and party at the glitzy Beach House location at Holetown. The final 300-mile Ocean Passage Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Cup starts tomorrow (24 January).

Barbados Sailing Week, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, attracted a good mix of local and international competitors and a wide range of boats from an International Moth to Fryderyk Chopin the largest operating Brigantine in the world. Representatives from the UK, Russia, Poland, Australia, Germany, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, the Netherlands and the USA were included in the line-up of overseas entries.

Organisers of the event also welcomed the popular charter boats including OnDeck’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, and Mat Barker’s beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 classic, The Blue Peter. One of the most eye-catching entries this year was the globally-recognised Australian 100ft super-maxi – CQS – owned and skippered by Ludde Ingvall.

Another interesting entry, from Russia, was Pjotr Lezhnin in his Mini Transat 6.50, who finished 4th overall in the CSA Racing Series and third in 35ft and Under class in the Round Barbados Race with a time of 9h 17m 54s. Lezhnin says he hopes that more Mini Transat sailors take the opportunity to compete at the event in the future. “With the 2019 Mini Transat finishing in Martinique I think this event would be the ideal for competitors whose boats remain in the Caribbean after the event. I will be back for sure next year.”

Given the huge diversity of the fleet and big winds that reached over 30kts, it was no great surprise that a total of seven records were smashed at the 82nd Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on 21 January. Although the extreme wind and sea conditions led to many retirements, it was, as far as records go, the most successful in the history of the event.

At last night’s grand finale, hundreds of guests tuned out to celebrate the success of those who had taken part and achieved outstanding results in both the Coastal Series and the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. With each of the sevens team winning their skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum, the Beach House temporarily turned into what looked like the packing department of a distillery with boxes of rum stacked to the rafters.

Andreas Berg from Germany who broke his own Singlehanded record from last year on Luna (Dufour 44)

Andreas Berg from Germany who broke his own Singlehanded record from last year on Luna (Dufour 44)

Popular winner Trevor Hunte wins stashes of rum for breaking the Windsurfer record once again

Popular winner Trevor Hunte wins stashes of rum for breaking the Windsurfer record once again

Record-breakers representing Conviction (TP52), Pata Negra (Custom-built Marc Lombard 46), College Funds (J/24), Luna (Dufour 44), Whistler (J/105), Trevor Hunte (Windsurfer) and, of course, Ludde Ingvall and his team from supermaxi CQS that took the 100ft and under record and the Absolute Monohull records with a time of 4h 13m 37s celebrated in style with, not surprisingly, copious amounts of Mount Gay Rum.

Mention must also be made Franchero Ellis and his young youth project team on the 19ft, 41-year-old Pen Duick 600 – Oiseau – Noir who was presented the Spirit of Barbados award for perseverance in both the Coastal Series and for completing the 60nm Round Barbados Race.

Ellis who sailed double-handed with Colville Thompson around Barbados said: “We basically had two objectives: 1 to cross the start line, and 2 to finish.” Talking about the most concerning moment of the race, Ellis added: “It was on the approach to North Point at Speightstown in 28+kts when the sail split along the foot. We reefed it above the split and, although we lost a lot of power and could have done with full sail at East Point when the wind dropped, we were happy just to get round. Even though we were out of the time limit, the most exciting point was crossing the ‘finish line’ under a silver moon and sparkling stars in the sky at 2100.”

John Coveney, the event’s Principal Race Officer, said overall the series and the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on Sunday went as smoothly as he could have hoped for. “The race committee worked tirelessly to ensure the competitors had the best possible experience at this fantastic location. The generally predictable prevailing winds allow us to set good courses for the Coastal Series racing and, this year with the return of the J/24s, we were able to provide a short-sharp two day-eight race series which, appears to have gone down well with the J/24 class. Hopefully this will encourage more teams to join in next year, or even consider charting out their boats.”

Peter Gilkes – Consultant to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for Yachting congratulates Ludde Ingall and team CQS for breaking the Absolute 100ft and Under Record

Peter Gilkes – Consultant to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for Yachting congratulates Ludde Ingall and team CQS for breaking the Absolute 100ft and Under Record

Team Whistler on a J/105 took the CSA Record and skipper’s weight in rum

Team Whistler on a J/105 took the CSA Record and skipper’s weight in rum

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race record breakers – 2018

Thrilling conditions for Caribbean classic

Bridgetown, Barbados (21 January, 2018): Squally winds reaching 30kts from the north-east made for magical sleigh-ride, record-breaking conditions in the 82nd Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

While the lively conditions in big seas proved too much for many of the 34 entries in the 60nm sprint around the Island of Barbados, for others it couldn’t have been more thrilling. In total seven records were broken – the largest ever number of records broken in the history of the event.

Trevor Hunte

Trevor Hunte broke the Windsurfer record

One of the biggest heroes of the day was undoubtedly Trevor Hunte, the local adrenalin junkie who, on his Starboard Phantom Batwing 377 raceboard windsurfer, smashed his own record set in 2016 by just over four minutes with a time of 5h 30m 46s.

As he arrived on the beach at Barbados Cruising Club to crowds of well wishers, an elated and exhausted Hunte confessed it was the most emotional and difficult sail of his life, and said he was just so happy to be back in one piece.

“You can’t train for a sail like that. North point was incredibly dangerous with swells of easily three metres. It was scary with wind squalls coming in at over 25kts, maybe more, under the clouds. It was an incredible and difficult challenge.”

Commenting in the most difficult part of the race, Hunte added: “At East Point the waves finally got me. They were huge and I got bombed off a couple of times and, as I fell I cut my toe in the metal mast-foot track. If that hadn’t happened I would have been her 10 minutes earlier.”

Arguably the most notable result of the day with a finish time of 4h, 13m, 37s was CQS, the 100ft multi-winged supermaxi from Australia skippered by Ludde Ingvall that not only broke the Absolute Monohull record but also established the 100ft and under record.

CQS on her way to breaking the 100ft and under record and Absolute Monohull record

CQS on her way to breaking the 100ft and under record and Absolute Monohull record

As she crossed the line this morning, it didn’t take long for her and her super-tuned crew to power up, weave their way through the fleet and prepare for the extreme conditions and big seas at North Point. Ingvall, a former round the world yachtsman, world champion and record holder, commenting after the race, said: “We are delighted because that is what we came here for. I felt we should have been a bit quicker but we are happy nevertheless. It was wild out there and we had 30+knts of wind on the nose going round the north-west/north-east point but the boat performed well recording 24-25kts of boat speed at times offwind. All in all a good day and lots of good team spirit.”

Among the young sailors taking on the challenging course today was Jason Tindale (27) in College Funds. He and his team from Barbados Yacht Club once again demonstrated their skill by sailing a tactically sound race. Having established the J/24 record in 2015 and bettered their time in 2016, they’ve done it again with a time of 8h 18m 9s.

Commenting on his epic sail, Tindale said: “It was, without doubt, the worst conditions I have ever seen at North Point. We had squalls of 30+kts with gusts but by they we had no option other than to carry on. I think the most wonderful part was sailing on one tack down the east coast. Basically you can’t get much better than that. It was, to coin a much-used phrase ‘Champagne sailing’. I think we also had a bit of luck today because, on the approach to the finish line the eyelets pulled out of the spinnaker pole. Had that happened further up the coast we would have lost the record for sure because we would have been under jib only.”

Pata Negra

Pata Negra from the UK broke the 50ft and under record

The 50ft and under record went to the two-year old British custom-built Marc Lombard 46 IRC cruiser racer – Pata Negra – owned and skippered by Giles Redpath with a time of 6h 19m 53s. Having sailed from St Vincent yesterday, Redpath and his team of mainly locals, and some of who had never sailed before, did exceptionally well given the extreme conditions. Commenting on his success, Redpath said: “It was a fantastic race but quite challenging at the North Point in particular because it was lumpy and quite shifty and we ended up having to beat into the big seas, which was fairly uncomfortable. However, I think the highlight of the day was coming down the east coast, it was a real sleigh ride and we did 20nm in about an hour and a quarter and hit 20kts of boat speed at times, which really was thoroughly enjoyable.”

Sailing such a challenging race with a crew is tough enough but to race it alone is a huge feat. However, Andreas Berg from Germany sailed an impressive race and managed to break his Singlehanded record from last year in his Dufour 44 Luna. This highly focused sailor prepared well used his previous experience to improve his overall record time by just over 10 minutes with a time of 7h 57m 19s.

Conviction, the local Botin Carkeek-designed TP52 with David Staples at the helm sailed a great race and broke the 60ft and under record from last year by just over three minutes. Mention must also be made of the consistently fast local team on the J/105 Whistler. Fresh from her CSA Racing Coastal Series overall win Whistler with Peter Lewis on the helm took the CSA Record with a time of 6h 11m 40s.

The extreme conditions were far from ideal for the four foiling kitesurfers who started out this morning. However, Kevin Talma persevered and was the only one who managed to complete the course and establish the Foiling Kitesurfer record with a time of 5h 42m 33s.

The Classic fleet, including The Blue Peter, Mat Barker’s Alfred Mylne 65, Ruth, the local schooner, and a couple of working Brigantine – Tres Hombres and Fryderyk Chopin, glided gracefully up the west coast but the conditions took their toll and none managed to complete the course.

Barbados Sailing Week’s headline event, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, once again attracted crowds of spectators keen to support this important sporting event. Locals and holidaymakers not only headed to the south of the island to the hub of the event at Barbados Cruising Club, and Barbados Yacht Club to watch the starts and finishes, but supporters also followed the fleet round the island enjoying the party spirit at key vantage points along the coast, including the North Point, historically the most challenging part of the race. 

Barbados Sailing Week gala prizegiving party and dinner to mark the end of the 2018 event, takes place tomorrow evening at the Beach House, Holetown on the west coast of the island.

2018 records

  • 100ft and under – CQS – 04:13:37
  • 60ft and under – Conviction – 05:17:29
  • 50ft and under – Pata Negra – 06:19:53
  • One-design J/24 – College Funds – 08:18:09
  • Singlehanded – Luna – 07:57:19
  • CSA – Whistler – 06:11:40
  • Windsurfer – Trevor Hunte – 05:30:46

Click here for Mount Gay Round Barbados 2018 results.

College Funds took the One-design J/24 record

College Funds took the One-design J/24 record


Whistler

Whistler on her way to taking the CSA record


Luna

The Singlehanded Monohull record went to from Germany