The 8th edition of the Course de L’Alliance will go down as the wildest on record. Starting in light winds, the regatta ended in a terrific squall, giving participants a fun but exhausting three days of racing.
Organizers say they were pleased with the 22 boat turnout, including a surprising entry from Guadeloupe and several newcomers from St. Barths.
This unique event started in Simpson Bay on Friday November 25th where competitors were greeted on the start line with gentle winds that later developed into rain squalls. This weather pattern continued throughout the day and made for difficult racing to St.Barths.
The racer and racer/cruiser classes enjoyed a combined start, which led to some great action on the line.
First to cross the finish line outside the port of Gustavia, St. Barths, was multihull Dauphin Telecom.
At the end of the first leg of the race, competitors turned out in large numbers for dinner at Eddy’s restaurant in Gustavia. French cuisine and great wine let the racers enjoy the evening and recharge for the next day’s racing.
Saturday morning brought more rain showers and an increase in winds. Competitors had a lot of work to do while sailing from St. Barths, north over St.Maarten and then down the channel to Sandy Ground in Anguilla.Â Due to the constant wind shifts, the course was shortened and boats finished off Anguillita.
The Melges 24 Budget Marine Too crossed the line first, assisted by a 22 knot squall that kept them busy. Other competitors reported even heavier squalls, which made for interesting racing.
Dinner that night was a traditional Caribbean Bar-B-Que at Roy’s Restaurant in Sandy Ground where crews swapped stories of the days racing. Later they were treated to an impromptu performance by Jan Beaujon and Raymond Magras, who brought out their guitar and accordion.
Sunday and the weather gods felt that a torrential downpour would create an even more interesting regatta. For the first time, many of the competitors had no idea of their position in the Anguilla Channel, and with zero visibility, most had to rely on their compass and GPS units to make it to Marigot. Once again Dauphin Telecom crossed the finish line first and the crew was very happy to be able to go straight into the marina for some much needed drying off.
Due to the extreme weather conditions and light winds, the finish time on Sunday was extended by 30 minutes to allow competitors to complete the course.
Back at Marina Fort Louis in Marigot, competitors were treated to snacks and drinks at the newly built Marina Fort Louis Yacht Club Restaurant. This is the first time the prize giving has been held at the marina.
Although there was stiff competition, St.Maarten boats made a clean sweep of the regatta taking first place in each class over the weekend.
- Racing Class: Budget Marine Too – Chris Marshall
- Cruise/Racing: L’Esperance – Bobby Velasquez
- Cruiser: Tamaya – Ronnie van Sittert
- Multihull: Katzenellenbogen – Robbie Ferron