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Bad Weather Cannot Dampen Spirits at Grenada Digicel Work Boat Regatta

Even some of the worst weather seen in a Dry Season for many years could not dampen the spirit of the 2009 Grenada Sailing Festival Digicel Work Boat Regatta, held on Saturday 31 January and Sunday 1 February.

Local sailors from Gouyave, Grand Mal, Petite Martinique, Sauteurs and Woburn braved the weather and brought their boats—part of the fleet sailed, some were towed, and others were trucked in—to Grand Anse Beach to ensure that the 2009 event was better than ever.

The weather on Friday night meant that the traditional Skippers Briefing and party on the beach had to be cancelled and a new party hastily organised at the Victory Bar at the new Festival HQ Port Louis Marina. Happily, the weather lightened and the Work Boat crews were on the beach Saturday morning eager to get the racing started.

This year five classes raced over the two day as Chairman Jimmy Bristol kept the races moving fast through Saturday and Sunday morning. Crowds on the beach were entertained with some hot, competitive racing to determine which skippers and boats were to race-off for the Championship title. 

With DJs on the beach, there was a great selection displayed by local artists and craftsmen, plus balloon sculptures and face-painting for the children and what proved most poplar of all – tattoos and transfers for the adults! There was also a Bungee Run set up by Horizon Yacht Charters and a bench press competition.

The atmosphere on Sunday afternoon began to build up as the GSF16 Match Racing got underway with the Junior National Team Sailing Race, sponsored by Coca Cola and Budget Marine. Community teams drew for which boat they would sail from the fleet of boats built and kept by the Grenada Sailing Festival. Crowds on the beach cheered on as the young crews took to the water in Mr X, Tomorrow’s Worry, Gybe Talk, Homer and Pink Gin. The experience and tactics of Michael McQueen and Vaughn Bruno, now instructors for the GYC Youth Sailing Program, made the difference, and it was a very popular win for the Woburn team. Gouyave came in second in front of the Petite Martinique crew.

The excitement was kept to the max as Chairman Jimmy Bristol sent the senior crews out straight away in the GSF16 fleet to contest the Senior National Team Sailing Championship, sponsored by United Insurance. This year it was Petite Martinique who took first in front of Gouyave and Sauteurs.

Then, what everyone had been waiting for – the Skipper of the Year Final GSF16 Match Race with the winning skippers from each class: Gouyave Class winners Carlyle Joseph and Ted Richards; Petite Martinique’s Emmanuel Bethel; Andy DeRoche winner of the Sauteurs Class and Michael Charles from Woburn. The boats were picked, the stage was set for a great race and the crowds moved to the shoreline. Andy DeRoche picked his time and moved past at the last mark to bring home GSF16 Gybe Talk to victory and win the coveted title of Digicel Work Boat Regatta Skipper of the Year 2009.

Emotions ran high as the US $1000 cash prize and trophy were placed in the hands of 2009 Champion Andy DeRoche, joined by his father, and founding member of the Grenada Sailing Festival Work Boat Regatta, Clayton DeRoche.

Report submitted by Grenada Sailing Festival

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