Barbados Sailing Week off to a cracking start

Tip top conditions for Coastal Series opener

Bridgetown, Barbados (17 January, 2018): Glorious conditions with up to 18kts of breeze and accompanying swell made for an exciting day on the water for the opening day of the three-day Coastal Series at Barbados Sailing Week.

With the wind and swell from the east, competitors enjoyed a 11-12nm course from Carlisle Bay and were back on shore this afternoon in time to relax, rest their weary limbs and enjoy the delights the local hospitality provided by the organising club – Barbados Cruising Club, and Barbados Yacht Club’s Boogie on the Beach Party.

Racing throughout the day was close and it was a delight to see such a varied mix of yachts taking part, which ranged from windsurfers and an International Moth to the 65ft Alfred Mylne classic, The Blue Peter.

Whistler on her way to her first win of the regatta

Whistler on her way to her first win of the regatta

It was a day where the emphasis on good teamwork paid dividends and this was particularly noticeable in CSA Racing Class where the super-tuned crew on Peter Lewis’ J/105 Whistler fought hard to earn their first top spot of the week. After what was probably the best start of the day, team Whistler sailed well in the tricky conditions and although they seemed to struggle with speed on the first downwind leg, they were able to comfortably hold off The Blue Peter, who had to settle for second place in class.

Another impressive performance was in Non CSA division with Mandy (Hunter 29.5) sailed by Bruce Robinson and team who seemed keen to start the week how they intend to continue. After an exceptionally close class battle last year when they were unable to hold off their closest rival Tropic Bird (Hunter 35) sailed by Mark Hioens and Priscilla Richardson, they were on top form today with a first race win. As well as Tropic Bird, who was four minutes late for the start today, Robinson and team are going to have to watch Bill Tempro’s Hunter 36 Sail La Vie who was also on form and finished the day in second place, one place ahead of Tropic Bird.

Robinson talking about his win, said: “It was undoubtedly down to good crew work. They [the crew] worked exceptionally well despite being one member down. I was also impressed with the boat’s performance after my recent boat tuning session where I made a few adjustments to the jib settings. Tomorrow’s course on the west coast will make for an interesting race and I imagine Tropic Bird and Sail La Vie will be ‘on our case, which means, as a team we are going to have to ‘sharpen our pencils’”.

Andy Budgen

International Moth sailor Andy Budgen reins in the ‘beast’

The conditions made it tough work for smaller classes but there was still plenty of fun to be had as demonstrated by Andy Budgen who was racing his new Exocet foiling International Moth Nano Project. Although he won his class, it was not without a few issues. “Today’s conditions were not ideal for me and I have to be honest, I was so off the pace. I am hoping I will improve as the week goes on.

“From my perspective flat water is everything, so in conditions like it was today it pays for me to come round the marks and head inshore immediately because the chop is hard to sail in, and not that fast. The biggest thing I had to do today was to try to slow down. As I came round the top mark it was all I could do to sheet in to slow the thing down. It was going about 25kts downwind but I got it down to about 16kts just to try to stop the thing taking off because that can only results in one thing ‘death’!”

Slightly less frantic but no less exciting was the sole multihull Silver Bullet (RC30 catamaran) – Bryn Palmer and team who zipped round the course at top speed and took their first win of the week in the Multihull class.

With the sun setting across Carlisle Bay and sounds of the Caribbean beat from beach party at Barbados Sailing Club echoing out to sea, there is no doubt this Mount Gay Rum-fuelled regatta is living up to its seriously fun legendary reputation.

Racing will continue tomorrow for Coastal Racing Day 2. The course will take the fleet up the west side of the island towards Holetown where, although potentially shifty, should be relatively flat.

Good teamwork aboard Mandy (Hunter 29.5)

Good teamwork aboard Mandy (Hunter 29.5) (Images – Peter Marshal)

The Blue Peter never fails to turn heads on the racecourse

The Blue Peter never fails to turn heads on the racecourse (Images – Peter Marshal)

Barbados Sailing Week ready to rumble

Caribbean race season officially open

 

Bridgetown, Barbados (17 January, 2018): Barbados Sailing Week incorporating the headline event – the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race – is officially underway.

16-1A skippers’ briefing at the Radisson Aquatica Resort, followed by the first of many beach parties at Barbados Cruising Club last night, gave competitors, families and guests a chance to enjoy the local Bajan hospitality to not only mark the start of this popular annual event but also celebrate the start of the Caribbean regatta season.

Barbados Sailing Week 2018, which runs from 16-24 January, is organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, all of whom are proud to welcome visitors from all over the world for a week of seriously fun racing and partying.

Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee) in his opening speech at the Skippers’ Briefing made special mention of the recent re-branding of the event – Barbados Sailing Week – and Mount Gay’s continued involvement as the headline sponsor for the Round Barbados Race, which is a unique challenge that gives teams a chance to win their skipper’s weight in rum if any of the 20 records are broken.

Another change for this year’s event is the return of the hugely competitive J/24 class which, by popular demand, has its own intense, two-day/four-race series (19-20 January). Going by previous form, racing for honours in this class will closely fought with results undoubtedly going down to wire. Those signed up so far include Robbie Yearwood (IWW Die Hard), Gus Reader (Glory Daze), Neil Burke (Impulse), and Cyril Lecrenay (Bunga Bunga).

Today’s opening three-day Coastal Series for all-comers (17-19 January), looks set to produce a decent breeze, which should give keen racers a chance to enjoy stunning sailing in the clear turquoise waters off Carlisle Bay in the south-west corner of the Island.

In the meantime, entries for this popular series are still flowing in with the likes of local favourites such as Peter Lewis’ Whistler (J/105) and Conviction (Botin Carkeek-designed TP52), which are hoping to defend or better their positions from last year in CSA Racing class. Overseas entries in this class include Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), and Andreas Berg’s Luna (Dufour 44) from Germany who last year broke the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Singlehanded record.

One of the most interesting entries to keep an eye on this year is Pjotr Lezhnin Racing, a Mini Transat 6.50 sailed by Russian Pjotr Lezhnin. This Argentinian Series 6.50 competed in the 2017 Mini Transat, and Lezhnin in his newly acquired yacht says he is looking forward to putting her through her paces this week: “This is my first time here and I am intending to have fun. I recently bought the boat from my friend in Guadeloupe so this is the first time I have raced her. Ultimately my aim is to compete in the 2019 Mini Transat so from here, I will head back to France and begin my Mini Transat qualifiers.”

Gracing the waters of Barbados once again is The Blue Peter – Mat Barker’s pretty Alfred Mylne 65, which will be racing the Coastal Series as well as next Sunday’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. As always, the entry list for this 60nm sprint round the island of Barbados is building with those not only keen to have a go at defending records from previous years, but also those keen to have a crack at setting brand-new bench marks. Andy Budgen who established a new Foiling Monohull record last year has returned this year with a new Exocet International Moth. If the wind remains favourable, Budgen has every chance of bettering his own record, which currently stands at 4h, 23min, 18sec.

Another foiler planning to take part is Sebastian Ohara in his Windrider Wave Foiling Tri Banana Split. Charles Hunt, the local speedster/record breaker on his Phantom Batwing 377 windsurfer should have a bit more company this year in the Windsurf category with not only Frenchman Cornic Fabrice on a Fanatic taking part, but also fellow French sailor Frederic Vernhes on a Starboard Phantom. To add mix to an already interesting fleet are four kiteboard sailors who also intend to circumnavigate the island and, at the other end of the scale there will be Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner, and Tres Hombres, the 33m working Brigantine. One of the most exciting entries to make her debut at this event, and indeed one of the most likely record-breakers, is CSQ, the 100ft multi-winged supermaxi from Australia skippered by Ludde Ingvall a former round the world yachtsman, world champion and record holder. Team CQS is currently en-route to Barbados and should, if all goes to plan, arrive on Friday 19 January.

16-2

Endeavour hat trick for Saxton and Lewis

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis win Champion of Champions’ event with a race to spare

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (15 October, 2017): Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis today added another three wins to their already impressive haul of first places from yesterday to win the 2017 Endeavour Trophy series with a race to spare writes Sue Pelling.

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis, overall winners

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis, overall winners

Going into today’s final three-race showdown, Saxton and Lewis were just one point ahead of Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) but just minutes into the first race of the day, disaster struck for Craig/Scott when gear failure forced their retirement from that race. Thankfully a swift repair job to the gooseneck meant they were back in action for the penultimate race of the series.

Craig, six-time former Endeavour winner, admitted however, that even without the gooseneck failure he believes Saxton would have been hard to beat. “It was good to have won some races from him [Saxton] yesterday because it made it all a bit more interesting with just one point between us but when we had to retire it was pretty much game over for us. To be fair to Ben, he did the business. He was going fast and it would have been tough for us to break his domination.”

In stunning summer-like temperatures and winds in the 16-18kt range, the 30-strong star-studded fleet enjoyed close tactical racing on the relatively sheltered waters of the River Crouch and Roach. As well as tip-top racing techniques required in the Phil Morrison-designed RS200, winning or losing was also down to gaining the best tidal advantage.

Commenting on his overall win for the third year in succession a delighted Saxton, fresh from his Nacra 17 world championship win, said: “It was a difficult tactical day today, and it was important to chose the correct shore. Winning here is all about tactics and thankfully because we are quick we have the advantage of having tactical options. Given the one point margin going into today’s race we always had to keep one eye on Nick and Holly. We were enjoying close racing with them in the first race, and feeling good after tacking on them and overtaking them halfway up the first beat but then their gooseneck broke, which was a shame for them.

“It was really tough this year and we had to really work very hard so I was glad to have someone like Toby at the front of the boat to make me look very good. He is a superstar.”

Lewis the supercrew, who by winning his seventh Endeavour Trophy today has now broken the event’s winning record, spoke highly of the event: Lewis added: “Coming to this event is the highlight of the year because the standard is so high with everyone a national champion. I would like to thank the Royal Corinthian YC for organising such a great event both on and off the water, and all the effort that goes on behind the scenes. It really is a special event and we always feel honoured to be part of it.”

Although Saxton and Lewis ultimately won every race, it wasn’t a complete walk over by any means, particularly in the second race of the day (race 7) when Steve and Sarah Cockerill (2000) sailed impressively to hang onto the lead for the majority of the race. Despite finishing 12th overall, a delighted Cockerill commented: “He [Saxton] managed to nibble me at the top mark on the second beat. He just managed to get inside us and because he was unquestionably quicker than us downwind we were unable to take him back.”

Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) quietly but confidently sailed a really impressive series to see them take third place overall. A scoreline, which included three fifth places, a third and a second was the sort of consistency required in this highly-fuelled fleet. In fourth place overall were the equally consistent Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke (RS400) who today sailed well and finished the series with a third and two fourth places.

The young brother and sister team of Bettine (14) and Jamie Harris (Cadets), gave an indication of what they likely to achieve in the future with their impressive display in the second race today when they led to the windward mark. They finished sixth in that race and were delighted with their performance. Bettine commented: “To cross ahead of Ben Saxton at the top mark was really amazing and quite nerve-wracking especially when we were crossing gybes with Nick Craig also. Bit scary but we learnt a lot about angles and the importance of keeping up the speed at all times.”

With eight races completed the fleet headed back upriver to the Royal Corinthian YC where the prizegiving marked the closure this unique, annual champion of champions’ series for the Endeavour Trophy.

Overall Results (after 8 races)

Annie Reid (RCYC Commodore) presents Ben Saxton (left) and Toby Lewis with the Endeavour Trophy1st Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (2016 Champion) 8pts

2nd Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) 23pts

3rd Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) 34pts

4th Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke (RS400) 34pts

5th Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson (470 m) 36pts

6th Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (RS200) 49pts

Red hot racing on opening day leaves reigning champs just one point ahead

Endeavour Trophy Opener

Red hot racing on opening day leaves reigning champs just one point ahead

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (14 October, 2017): With three wins in the bag after today’s Endeavour Trophy opening five races, Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (reigning Endeavour champions) lead the Endeavour Trophy series by just one point from Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) writes Sue Pelling.

Close racing throughout the dayIn perfect sunny conditions and wind averaging out at 15kts, the 30-strong Endeavour fleet of champions from the most popular and competitive racing classes, was put to the test with five back-to-back races in challenging tidal conditions on the River Crouch.

Olympic Nacra 17 sailor Saxton, and Lewis his super-talented crewman, in their 10-year-old RS200, started the eight-race Endeavour Series where they left off last year by notching up three straight wins in the opening races.

In a fairly strong ebbing tide and committee boat biased start line, the first race got underway in a good working breeze that made for some exciting downwind planning conditions. Saxon and Lewis slotted into the front rank immediately and at the top mark led the race by over a minute. Craig and Scott worked hard but had to settle for second.

Saxton and Lewis repeated their performance in the next two races, but in race four Craig (six-time Endeavour champion) and Scott were back on form and performed exceptionally well on downwind legs. By the second leeward mark they led the race by over 20 seconds.

Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson (470) who were lying second suffered an OCS in that race, which left Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) in second place, while Saxton and Lewis finished fourth. The Gilberts, who finished the day with 17 points, in third place overall are definitely going to be a team to watch in the final showdown tomorrow.

Another win for Craig and Scott in the fifth race of the day, and a second for Saxton and Lewis after a race-long battle with Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (RS200), means there is now just one point between the two favourites.

Commenting on his impressive performance, Saxton said: “We had a fun day and we are really enjoying being back on the River competing here at the Endeavour. It is fantastic to have someone like Toby in the front of the boat.

“We came out the ‘blocks’ fast in the first three races but picked the wrong side of the beat by accident in the next, which wasn’t the best move. We did a good comeback in the last race so we are really happy. Also really happy it is now a lot more open. We have come here to race and that is what we are getting, that’s for sure.”

Second placed Craig added: “Really pleased. It was the usual really hard Endeavour competition, really hard racing, really hard starts and every inch counts upwind. Upwind we just lost a lane on one occasion when we were ahead and we found ourselves in 15th round the windward mark, just like that. It is so tough. Thankfully we had good downwind speed, which is down to good crew work from Holly. Ben [Saxton] is flying though. He has an edge upwind and downwind, which makes it quite hard to beat really.”

The standard of racing was, not surprisingly, top class throughout with the strong youth contingent performing well. Local champions Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson (RS Feva) suffered with gear failure in the first race but from there on they managed to gain some good consistent results in the middle of the fleet, which leaves them in 17th overall.

The brother and sister duo, Bettine (14) and Jamie Harris (Cadets) improved as the day progressed and are lying in 21st place: “Although we came mid fleet every race we are really pleased because we feel as though we are learning a lot. I am really enjoying it and we are looking forward to some more good racing tomorrow. It is tough and we are tired but it is such an experience to be here again.”

With such a close points margin, and the forecast showing more wind, the stage is well and truly set for an exciting grand finale in the concluding three races tomorrow

After a tough and exhausting day on the water, competitors are back on shore enjoying the full Endeavour experience at the annual dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club where the solid silver Endeavour Trophy is on display.

Results (after five of eight races)

1st Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (2016 Champion) 5pts

2nd Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) 6pts

3rd Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) 17pts

4th Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson (470 m) 19pts

5th Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (RS200) 19pts

6th Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke (RS400) 23pts 

Endeavour Trophy ‘Full House’ – 2017

A total of 30 national champions ready for battle at Burnham-on-Crouch

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (13 October, 2017): A total of 30 entries have signed up to the dinghy champion of champions’ event, the Endeavour Trophy, this weekend (13-15 October).

Not only is this one of the largest entries ever recorded, it is also one of the few events in the world where such a concentrated group of champions compete against each other in the same class of boat, writes Sue Pelling.

To ensure a relatively level ‘playing field’, this invitational championship, for national, European or world champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, will be contested, for the third year in succession, in one-design RS200s.

At today’s opening Calltracks-sponsored training session headed by Steve Irish – one of the UK’s leading dinghy racing coaches – the fleet made the most of the fresh, yet mild conditions to familiarise themselves with their boats.

With new suits of sails courtesy of RS Sailing and Hyde Sails, Irish was kept busy throughout the day both on and off the water, offering tips and advice on fine-tuning the RS200. A mid morning briefing, and on-the-water session was followed by a video debrief back at the club this afternoon, and a summary of the day’s training.

Irish, a former champion and Endeavour competitor said although the fleet clearly have transferable skills, a bit of extra help when it comes to boat setup is always useful: “The key thing today was to get the fleet on the water to give them a chance to set up their boats for the conditions.

“The format with a constant stream of short races running throughout the afternoon worked well with teams able to dip in and dip out of the races as much as they wanted. The idea of the video de-brief was to offer a bit of advice for those struggling with boat handling techniques, particularly those unfamiliar with the RS200.

“Even the guys who have sailed RS200s before will have to take into account that sailing here on the River Crouch at Burnham with its tidal complications and the fact it will be fairly breezy, means there is a lot to take in.”

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis – double Endeavour champions – who are back to defend their title, have a tough challenge ahead given the particularly strong level of talent at this year’s event. With the likes of serial Endeavour champions Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One), Christian Birrell (470), and Matt Burge and Tom Pygall (Fireball), lining up on the start line tomorrow, racing is expected to be intense.

Competitors for this bumper event have travelled from far afield, including Federico and Filippo Maccari (RS 500) from Italy, and Stuart Urquhart and Brendan Lynch, who made the long road trip from Kinloss, Moray, Scotland earlier today.

There is also a good showing of young sailors to watch out for such as local champions Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson (RS Feva), Bettine and Jamie Harris (Cadets), and Jamie Cook and Finley Dickinson (Optimist) from Penarth, Wales. The youngest competitor is Imogen Wade (11) sailing with her father Dave (Mirror).

As they came off the water this afternoon, Ben Saxton offered a friendly bit of advice to fellow competitors as they prepare for 2017 Endeavour Trophy race opener tomorrow: “Have fun, and enjoy it for the spectacle that it is, as well as the racing because you’ll never come up against a fleet of such good sailors. My top tip is not to underestimate the tide. If you are considering a manoeuvre don’t think twice; do it.”

Looking ahead at the conditions for the start of the eight-race Endeavour Championship series, which kicks off at 1030, Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer commented: “I am delighted we have a full house of 30 entries this year, and with some good winds expected, there is every indication that 2017 is going to produce some exceptionally competitive racing.

“The forecast is for a good south-south-westerly breeze of about 15kts and scorching sunshine, which couldn’t be better. My intention, depending on the wind of course, is to run up five or six races on Saturday with the remaining races on Sunday.”

Confirmed entries

  • 2016 Champion Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
  • D-One Nick Craig and Holly Scott
  • Scorpion Andy Mckee and Steve Graham
  • Supernova Alex Horlock and Arthur Henderson
  • RS Feva Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson
  • National 12 Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantine
  • Enterprise Jeremy and Becca Stephens
  • RS400 Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke
  • Comet Chris Hatton and David Harris
  • 470 Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson
  • Topper Sam Cooper and Simon Hall
  • 420 Niamh Harper and Ross Thompson
  • RS200 Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright
  • Albacore Tom Lonsdale and Oli Meadowcroft
  • Miracle Dave Butler and Ross Fleming
  • National 18 Stuart Urquhart and Brendan Lynch
  • Optimist Jamie Cook and Finley Dickinson
  • Fireball Matt Burge and Tom Pygall
  • Firefly Nigel Wakefield and Mary Henderson
  • 2000 Stephen and Sarah Cockerill
  • Cadet Bettine and Jamie Harris
  • Mirror Dave and Imogen Wade
  • International 14 Roger and Jane Gilbert
  • Merlin Rocket Alan Roberts and Rosie Sibthorp
  • Women’s 470 Anna Carpenter and Martin Wrigley
  • Laser Radial Ben and Sam Whaley
  • 29er Nick Robins and Billy Vennis-Ozanne
  • RS800 Chris Rashley and Hannah Bristow
  • K1 Simon Heusen and Allan Tyler
  • RS500 Federico and Filippo Maccari

Young home club RS Feva sailor wins ticket to Endeavour Trophy

14-year-old Ben Hutton-Penman set to face top competition on home turf

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (14 September, 2017): Ben Hutton-Penman from the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, sailing with Lucy Hewitson, has won the RS Feva national championship and with it a ticket to his home club’s annual event – the Endeavour Trophy, writes Sue Pelling.

The Endeavour Trophy invitational championship, for national champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, this year takes place on 13-15 October. With the 30 boat entry limit almost complete, the 2017 event to be contested once again in RS200s, is showing signs that it could be a record year.

Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson on their way to winning the RS Feva nationals at Torbay

Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson on their way to winning the RS Feva nationals at Torbay

Hutton-Penman (14) who made the transition from the Optimist class to the RS Feva less than a year ago, said that turning up at the Feva nationals in Torbay, with 111 boats on the startline, was a bit of a shock. “I qualified for the Feva National Squad during the winter and whilst Lucy and I felt we were up in the top half of the squad, we certainly were not winning everything. Going into the nationals we just hoped we would be top mixed pair.”

With plenty of wind and wave practice through training on the River Crouch, Hutton-Penman said the big winds on the first day at Torbay helped. “We got two first and two second places and that was important because it gave us belief that we could do it. After that we just had to remain consistent and careful when it was light.”

Although racing at the Endeavour will present the ultimate in competition terms, Hutton-Penman and Hewitson’s experience from the last race of the Feva nationals puts them in good stead. “We had to beat Pierce [Harris] and Alfie [Cogger] by two places to win, it was actually down to the final beat of the final race.”

Having both raced RS200s at the nationals last year, and given the fact that Lucy’s parents are former RS200 national champions/Endeavour competitors, the pair are in a good position to perform well at the event.

Hutton-Penman is certainly under no illusion about how competitive the Endeavour will be. “I am most looking forward to being on the start line against the best sailors in the country. It will no doubt be very hard but I will look at it as a learning experience and will do my best as Lucy and I will be very light. Thankfully Lucy has done quite a lot of RS200 sailing with her dad, which will no doubt be a great help.”

On local tips on sailing at Burnham-on-Crouch, Hutton-Penman concluded: “My advice is to worry more about the tide than a wind shift; tacking when you are headed and then ending up in the tide is never as fast as staying out of the tide.”

The three-day event starts with a training day with top coach Steve Irish on the Friday, followed by an eight-race, six to count series over the following two days.

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.