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Bequia and the Magnificent Seven

The 24th annual
Bequia Easter Regatta was a well-attended affair with 38 boats taking part in
the Racing, J24 and Cruising classes of the four-day event. Four J24s and three
cruisers made up St Lucia’s magnificent seven who rescued three firsts, two
fourths, fifths and a sixth—Grayling even got to the bottom of how to fix a
broken boom vang and still finish first!

Grayling, Loose
Cannon, Attitude and Jabal made up the J24 contingent.

Mandarin, Doubloon of Marigot and Hot
Chocolate did the same for the

Cruising Class—which was split into two
divisions—it’s all to do with size you know?

St Lucia Yacht
Club (SLYC) commodore and J24 Grayling skipper Mike Green, described the
conditions as ‘testing,’ the atmosphere as ‘friendly’ prizes as ‘fantastic’ and
Jeremy as ‘heavy.’And he should know.
Team Green—that’s Jerard Bergasse, Chris Pilgrim, Jeremy (Vang) and, the man
himself, made it three out of three in the J24 class finishing a long way in
front of the competition.

It was ‘testing’
conditions that persuaded Grayling’s boom vang and deck to part company a
minute before the start of the inaugural event.

“We thought of
pulling out but crew member Jeremy came up with the answer, in fact he was the
answer!” said Mike.

Jeremy really did
get behind the boat, perched on the end of the boom, he kept the sale full and
competition confused.

“The competition
thought we’d re-invented sailing,” laughed Mike.

The event began on Good Friday with a
Friendship Race, Saturday was Around the Island, Sunday a lay day and finals on
Monday.

The lay day was a
family affair with dinghy and fishing boat racing—a fantastic sight by all
accounts. The 12-28ft workboats whose crews, when they’re not keeping the boat
into the wind balanced on poles, bail for all they’re worth with a tried and
tested bucket!

Comments regarding
Friday’s conditions vary from being windy enough to blow your eyebrows off to
one observer saying he’d witnessed a chicken lay the same egg three times.

Masts broke,
rudders snapped and spinnakers shredded in the 30knot breeze as crews pushed
gear and craft to the limit.

When sails were
furled and the points counted it was, not surprisingly, Grayling ahead of the
rest in the J24 class.Loose Canon,
skippered by

Frank Heaps, couldn’t find the form that
brought him success in the recent Regatta and finished fourth, Attitude placed
fifth, Jabal (the old Ladera boat) broke her rudder and finished sixth of the
eight boats who took part.

Doubloon of
Marigot finished fourth in the Cruising Class (Div I) with Mandarin and Hot
Chocolate in a respective fifth and sixth.

To the victor go the spoils, in this case
it’s a Hand-held GPS/radio, carved Bequia fishing boat and a brass ship’s clock
cluttering the skipper’s desk—Mike’s description of the prizes being
‘fantastic’ is an accurate one.

The eyes of the
Caribbean’s J24’s yachtsmen will be firmly fixed on catching Grayling, either
at the Christmas Sailing Festival or before. Her three from three winning ways
could spark of some practical sailing solutions to reel in Grayling—and
counteract a little envy. I suppose you could say the competition’s going Green
with it!

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