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.

One-design racing returns to Barbados Sailing Week J/24 fleet springs into action as Coastal Series concludes

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 writes Sue Pelling.

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.”

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 writes Sue Pelling.

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.

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.

High spirits at Barbados Sailing Week Coastal Series winners emerge with one race to go

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 second day of Barbados Sailing Week writes Sue Pelling.

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.

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.”

Barbados Sailing Week ready to rumble

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

A 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.

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