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

Photo Alan Hanna

Photo Alan Hanna

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

Barbados Sailing Week prepares for headline event

J/24s complete series and countdown to Mount Gay Round Barbados Race underway

Bridgetown, Barbados (20 January, 2018): While final preparations are underway for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race tomorrow, the J/24 fleet crowned its winner in the closely contested final showdown in the J/24 Coastal Racing Series at Barbados Sailing Week. 

The winning J/24 team – Robbie Yearwood’s Die Hard

The winning J/24 team – Robbie Yearwood’s Die Hard

J/24 racing in Barbados never fails to attract a quality fleet so it was no surprise that competition at the two-day J/24 series at Barbados Sailing Week reached new levels. Today overnight leader Robbie Yearwood from Grenada and his team on Die Hard continued their form with wins in the two opening races. However, a shredded jib halyard and spinnaker halyard in race three, while leading, almost cost them the series but they still managed fourth place in that race. Thankfully they had done enough to secure the series with a race to spare, leaving Cyril Lecrenay and Bunga Bunga in second place just two points adrift.

A delighted/exhausted Yearwood commented: “It was a tough day having to contend with gear problems but we gathered ourselves together and got it sorted. It was a bit of a disaster not being able to take down the jib because we couldn’t have re-hoisted it, so we had to sail with it all the time plus we had to use jam cleats on the spinnaker halyard and tie it but there was so much tension that when we went to take it down it at the end of the run when we were leading it jammed and we sailed right past the mark. Funnily enough we didn’t actually have to sail the final race but we weren’t sure about our maths so we did it anyway, and really enjoyed it.”

Yearwood is now preparing the boat for the 134nm sail back to Grenada tomorrow. “Going home is easy because it’s all downwind but it will still take 24hour to get there.”

Elsewhere some competitors treated themselves to an afternoon of colonial indulgence at the specially laid on Regatta Surf & Turf Polo Match at Holders Polo Field, while others used the lay day to prepare for Barbados Sailing Week’s headline event – the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

This 60nm sprint around the Island of Barbados, which traditionally takes place on a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day (the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and ‘father of independence), has sparked a lot of interest with many teams keen to have a serious attempt at breaking one of the  20 records and a chance to win their skipper’s weight in rum.

Its unique format has, over the last few years, attracted serious race teams using the event as a ‘warm up’ to the Caribbean race season. Leading the charge this year at the professional/performance end of the international entry list is CSQ, the 100ft multi-winged supermaxi from Australia skippered by Ludde Ingvall a former round the world yachtsman, world champion and record holder, who arrived in town yesterday.

The local TP52 Conviction preparing for tomorrow’s Mount Gay Round the Island Race

The local TP52 Conviction preparing for tomorrow’s Mount Gay Round the Island Race

Other high-powered speedsters ready for business tomorrow include Conviction, the Botin Carkeek-designed TP52 sailed by David Staples and team from the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS), also Bryn Palmer on his RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet, and the Windrider Rave Foiling Tri sailed by local entry Sebastian O’Hara.

Charles Trevor Hunte, the current holder of the Windsurfer record with a time of 5hrs, 34mins, 55secs, on a Starboard Phantom Batwing 377 raceboard has some competition this year with Frenchmen Fabrice Cornic on a Fanatic, and Frederic Vernhes on a Starboard Phantom hoping to break Hunte’s record domination.

With foiling all the rage it is not surprising that, for the first time ever in the history of this race, four foiling kitesurfers are taking part, which means there’ll be plenty of action around the coast for spectators.

Andreas Berg who sailed from Germany last year and broke the Singlehanded Monohull record is back to defend his title on his Dufour 44 Luna, and Mat Barker’s stunning Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter will attempt to break the 6hr, 11min, 19secs Classic record.

The schooner and brigs contingent also sailing in the Classic category may be the slowest in the fleet, but the three imposing tall ships, for which this race was traditionally known, will grace the waters and provide a highlight for the thousands of spectators expected to gather at vantage points around the island.

Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner is a regular supporter of the race as is Tres Hombres, the 33m working brigantine that will be racing with a total of 20 barrels of rum on board. Fabian Klenner – captain ofTres Hombres – said he and his 14-strong crew are really looking forward to the race with an aim to finish. “We have just loaded six barrels of rum from Barbados so we do have a bit more weight to carry. En-route here, we collected 14 barrels of rum from the Canary Islands and now we have six from Barbados. After this race we’ll be heading back to Den Helder in The Netherlands to deliver the goods.

“We have actually made it round the island once, the first year we were here about nine years ago but it does depend totally on the wind and current. Ideally we are looking for about Force 5 with relatively flat water so we can tack easily.”

The Russian Mini Transat 6.50, Pjotr Lezhnin Racing fresh from the Mini Transat 2018, had a good week

The Russian Mini Transat 6.50, Pjotr Lezhnin Racing fresh from the Mini Transat 2018, had a good week

Event organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc – are also delighted to welcome STS Fryderyk Chopin from Poland, which at 54m, is the largest operating brigantine in the world and has a crew of over 50.

Making up the majority of the fleet however, are the cruising and race boats including three J/24s, a Russian Mini Transat 6.50 and Whistler, the J/105 that won CSA Racing Coastal Series.

Racing begins at 0700 with staggered starts just off Barbados Cruising Club. The slowest boats (schooner and brigs) will start first, and fastest boat CQS will be last to start at 1130. From there on, the fleet will make its way around the Island clockwise and return across the finish line from the east in the afternoon.

Spectators following the race can join viewing parties planned a prime vantage points around the coast. Head to East Point Grill – St Philip, Naniki Amphitheatre – St Joseph, or North Point – St Lucy. One of the most talked about locations this year on the west coast is the recently opened Nikki Beach Barbados. Here spectators are invited to view the racing as the fleet passes between 1100-1300 and enjoy breakfast, lunch, specialty cocktails, and music by DJ Jérome Barthélémy.

 

Cyril Lecrenay’s team on Bunga Bunga sailed a good series to finish second overall

Cyril Lecrenay’s team on Bunga Bunga sailed a good series to finish second overall


J/24 action at the windward mark

J/24 action at the windward mark

One-design racing returns to Barbados Sailing Week

J/24 fleet springs into action as Coastal Series concludes

Bridgetown, Barbados (19 January, 2018): The hugely competitive local J/24 fleet enjoyed the first of its brand-new two-day race series. Today was also the final day of the Coastal Series. 

J/24 sailing at its best

J/24 sailing at its best

The launch of the J/24 race series attracted quality competition and, with four races, on short windward/leeward-style courses in Carlisle Bay, there was barely time to draw breath. The variable shifty winds up to 17kts also kept the racing exciting and close, which resulted in different winner in each race.

Gregory Webster and team on the 1981-built Phoenix started the day on a good note with an impressive bit of sailing off the line with a port tack start. Risky it may have been but this well-tuned local team sailed fast, high and, by playing the shifts and taking the favoured right-hand side of the course, they led and went on to win the first race of the day. They then finished second to Robbie Yearwood’s Die Hard in race two.

Neil Burke and team on Impulse claimed the win in race three, while Cyril Lecrenay and team on Bunga Bunga took the final win of the day in race four after a intense covering match with Die Hard on the approach to the finish line.

Commenting on closer than close final win, Lecrenay commented: “It was a tough one and, at one point, I thought we’d lost it but it was just a matter of keeping cover on Die Hard and finally finding a good line to the finish. I think it was tip top crew work that really counted today and, because we have sailed together for three years constantly we barely have to say anything to each other because everything on the boat runs smoothly.”

As well as good team work it was also consistency that paid, which means that with a win and two second places to count Yearwood and team from Grenada on Die Hard lead the series by two points fromBunga Bunga with four races to go. Yearwood chatting after the race said today’s racing was all about risk management. “Putting our lack of preparation, and confusion in the first race to one side we put our heads down, focused on our strengths with the aim to live up to our name – Die Hard. Thankfully it worked and we made a comeback. A two-point lead however, is not a comfortable margin at all so anything can happen tomorrow. Thankfully we have good speed so we plan to continue what we are doing.”

Another CSA Racing win for J/105 – Whistler

Another CSA Racing win for J/105 – Whistler

Elsewhere the final day of Coastal Racing was reaching its crescendo with fleets battling it out for all-important overall points. Although the well-sailed J/105 Whistler with Peter Lewis and his seasoned team had already secured the overall win going into the final race, the challenge was on to make it a hat-trick. Their smart pin-end start, and good first beat helped keep Conviction – David Staples’ TP52 – at bay on corrected time and, after a 16nm race that took the fleet along the south coast to Oistins, Conviction once again had to settle for second, and second place overall in the series.

Having missed a day of racing to carry out sail repairs, Andreas Berg’s team on Luna (German Dufour 44) was on form again today and took a well-deserved third. However, a final fourth place for Spirit of Juno (UK Farr 65) was enough to secure third place overall.

Bill Tempro’s Hunter 36 Sail La Vie was today finally able to break Mandy’s (Hunter 29.5) total class domination with a final race win in the Non CSA division. After winning the first two races and securing the overall series win, Bruce Robinson and team on Mandy were unable to match Sail La Vie for speed. She led the fleet round the first mark pulled out enough to take first place, which left her in second place overall by just one point.

With the all-comers Coastal Racing now concluded, competitors are looking forward to the next rum-fuelled party just along the beach from the host club at Copacabana Beach Club. Tomorrow’s lay day not only provides an opportunity for competitors to prepare for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on Sunday, but also gives teams a chance to enjoy the specially laid on Regatta Surf & Turf Polo Match, which is taking place in the afternoon at Holders Polo Field.

Four J/24 races, four different winners

Four J/24 races, four different winners

Luna – Dufour 44 – from Germany finished on a good note

Luna – Dufour 44 – from Germany finished on a good note

Mandy – Hunter 29.5 – wins Non CSA Coastal Series

Mandy – Hunter 29.5 – wins Non CSA Coastal Series

High spirits at Barbados Sailing Week

Coastal Series winners emerge with one race to go

Bridgetown, Barbados (18 January, 2018): With winds up to 17kts competitors enjoyed more thrilling sailing and tactical racing for the second day of Barbados Sailing Week .

 The second and penultimate day of the Coastal Series, traditionally known as the Two Restaurants Race, took place over a 22nm course and offered spectacular sheltered flat water/fast reaching conditions on the leg to and from the northern-most mark at Holetown just off The Beach House restaurant. On the southern part of the course to the Tapas Restaurant mark, the more lively conditions in the stunning, vibrant turquoise waters gave competitors a real taste of Caribbean sailing at its best.

Good teamwork aboard Mandy (Hunter 29.5)

Good teamwork aboard Mandy (Hunter 29.5)

Racing was close once again particularly in Non CSA division where Mandy (Hunter 29.5) sailed by Bruce Robinson and team managed to hold off their closest rivals on Bill Tempro’s Hunter 36 Sail La Vie. Tempro and team looked good off the start line and sailed well but there was little they could do to match the impressive speed of Team Mandy and had to settle for second place once again. With two wins Robinson and team have clinched the series, which means the race for second place overall will be decided in the concluding Coastal race tomorrow.

Charles Hunte, the current Windsurfer Mount Gay Round the Island Race record holder was on top form again today on his Starboard Phantom Batwing 377 raceboard although he did confess to feeling shattered after enduring a tough three-hour stint on the water. “Had a fab time and it was absolutely beautiful sailing weather but three hours ten minutes on a board was a little long. The first bit in the flat water up the west coast was ideal and was where I had the most speed. There was plenty of excitement out south too because I was joined by a mass of flying fish; they were everywhere and it was quite amazing.”

Andy Budgen racing his Exocet foiling International Moth Nano Project had a good sail but suffered with gear failure, which ultimately led to him not completing the course correctly: “It was all a bit crazy today because I had to stop and carry out more running repairs. I discovered the fitting that attaches the spreader to the shroud had broken off. I actually managed to fix it and was quite pleased with myself but blew it when I discovered I’d missed out the final mark. This week is certainly testing out my seamanship skills, that’s for sure.”

Processional it may have seemed but the long west coast leg from Carlisle Bay to Holetown provided plenty of opportunity for tactical racing. In CSA Racing, Peter Lewis’ team on the J/105 Whistlerdemonstrated its skill by managing to hold its kite for the duration of the leg (there and back), despite a few debatable moments when the reach looked almost too tight. It paid off however, and this local team of hotshots maintained pace throughout and managed to keep the ever-threatening team on the TP52 Conviction in second place.

The Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) that runs the TP52 Conviction project that promotes youth in sailing was flying today. David Staples on the helm together with Clint Brooks (crew boss) and the young team sailed impressively and finished the day in second place overall.

Staples commented: “We thought we may have just beat them [Whistler] today but not quite. We had a great day and I have to say that of all my 40 years of sailing here, today was what I regard as classic West Indies sailing conditions; good breeze and enough sea to remind you that you are sailing on an ocean. I was also impressed with the team today they worked well and there were plenty of smiling faces, which is what it is all about.”

Barbados Sailing Week, Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, Barbados Sailing Week 2018, continues tomorrow with the final of the Coastal Racing Series and the first race of the J/24 two-day series.

In the meantime crews are taking time to relax after a tough day on the water before preparing for what is arguably the most talked about/popular social event of the week – the ultimate Mount Gay Red Cap Party at the home of Mount Gay at the distillery in nearby Bridgetown.

Caribbean sailing at its best

Caribbean sailing at its best