All happnin' at Barbados Sailing Week 2020

by Sue Pelling 2 Oct 16:17 BST

17-23 January 2020

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 The Blue Peter – a regular visitor to Barbados Sailing Week © Peter Marshall
 

Next year, for the first time in many years the course of Barbados Sailing Week's signature event - the Round Barbados Race - will track the fleet anti-clockwise. This means as well as the 22 records already on offer, the original outright anti-clockwise record of 10 hours and 15 minutes set by a schooner in 1936 is up for grabs, plus plenty of opportunity to establish more records on the new course writes Sue Pelling.

In an effort to make the event more inclusive for locals, and showcase sailing as a sport for all, the organisers - Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay - have plenty of new incentives lined up for the 2020 event, which runs from 17-23 January.

Together not only have they come up with a well-balanced format to provide an opportunity for locals to join in the fun and 'have a go' but they have also enhanced Barbados Sailing Week's strong competitive appeal, to give racing enthusiasts new challenges on the racecourse.

As the opening event of the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) regatta circuit, Barbados Sailing Week attracts a diverse fleet with many using the event as the ideal 'warm up' for the forthcoming season. Already, within just a few days of the event's re-launch, there is plenty of interest with 12 boats signed up so far.

Among those hoping to contest the silverware (and rum) in 2020 is Mat Barker aboard his beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 classic, The Blue Peter. Others looking to take on the challenges include OnDeck's Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, Peter Lewis' J/105 Whistler, and longstanding event supporter and Round the Island Race Windsurfing record-breaker Trevor Hunte.

Mention must also be made of Franchero Ellis who will be contesting once again this year aboard his 19ft Pen Duick 600 - Oiseau - Noir. Ellis and his young team, who were presented with the Spirit of Barbados award for perseverance in both the Coastal Series and for completing the 60nm Round Barbados Race in 2018, will be hoping to succeed round the island once again in 2020.

Other locals already signed up ready to do battle include Bruce Robinson with Mandy (Hunter 29.5), Bryn Palmer - former Barbados Cruising Club commodore - on Silver Bullet (RC30 catamaran), Jonathan Gittens on Shangri La (Morgan 41), and Mike Krimholtz on Dragon Magic (Dufour 385).

Upholding the event's history of schooner racing, two big classics have signed up so far - Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner, and Tres Hombres, the 33m working brigantine that regularly races with barrels of rum on board.

Racing commences over the weekend 18-19 January in Carlisle Bay with two days of Coastal Races for racing yachts, cruisers, windsurfers, kite surfers, dinghies and paddleboards. To ensure those on shore, and on the beach at Barbados Cruising Club can follow the racing, there will be a mark off one of the viewing platforms in Carlisle Bay. There will also be plenty of activity for those on shore too with an opportunity for visitors to the island to join the locals for some real Bajan spirit.

As the organising club, Barbados Cruising Club is the hub of the event with most social events including the Coastal Racing prizegiving based there. Live music and parties every night at the club will include a Bajan Soca and Bikini Party, and breadfruit/pig roasts on the beach after the first day of racing. Everyone is welcome.

The Round Barbados Race traditionally takes place on 21 January - a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day (the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and 'father of independence). This 60nm sprint around the Island of Barbados, which gives teams a chance win their skipper's weight in

Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, is the headline event. Now with its new anti-clockwise format, it should spark plenty of interest for those keen to have a bash at breaking the record that has stood for 83 years.

Following the Round the Island Race from the shore is going to be fun too in 2020 thanks to Mount Gay who'll provide buses to take spectators on a rum tour to watch the race at various vantage points (and rum shops) around the island. The Round Barbados Race prizegiving is scheduled to take place at the Mount Gay Visitors' Centre on the evening of 22 January immediately following a tour of the distillery.

For his first visit to the regatta, Sandy Mair the event's newly appointed Principal Race Officer, and longstanding Caribbean Sailing Association measurer, said he is looking forward to the event. "Race Officer is a new duty for me but I am confident and excited to be involved in this most prestigious event."

2019 - Trevor's Sailing for The Zander Venezia Trust

Every year windsurfer Charles Trevor Hunte attempts to break his record time windsurfing around Barbados.  This year, he will be raising funds for the Zander Venezia Trust.


It is Barbados Sailing Week again and this year, I’ve decided to dedicate my efforts on January 21st to Zander Venezia; who was a 16 year old professional surfer who I have spent many years in the water with.

Zander’s family has started “The Zander Venezia Trust” a registered charity #1375 to aid and assist underprivileged and disabled children throughout Barbados. If you would like to pledge a donation in my efforts to the The Zander Venezia Trust, you can donate via online at www.gofundme.com/livelikezander or by contacting me directly. #livelikezander

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race record breakers Thrilling conditions for Caribbean classic

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race record breakers
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, writes Sue Pelling.

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.

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.

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.

Barbados Sailing Week finale Gala prizegiving marks end of successful regatta

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) writes Sue Pelling.

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.

Barbados Sailing Week prepares for headline event J/24s complete series and countdown to Mount Gay Round Barbados Race underway

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, writes Sue Pelling.

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.

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