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Bequia Easter Regatta 2008

Boats and more boats signaled the start of Bequia’s 2008 Regatta, which began earlier date this year, March 21st to 24th, making Bequia the center of attention in the Grenadines.  Weather was a concern with high winds and seas in the forecast, causing concern for many enthusiasts, but sailors and non-sailors came out in numbers. 

The weekend filled event began on Thursday evening of the 20th at race headquarters, the Frangipani Hotel: registration, skippers seeking crew, mingling, rum, and more rum, of course.  This year, hosts of the Bequia Sailing Club were impressed by the record turn-out of 45 yachts hailing from other island nations—St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Martinique—as well as from the USA, UK, Germany and Canada.

I took in the first day’s race at Bequia’s main harbor, Port Elizabeth, where boats were divided into four classes: J/24, Keelboat, Racing and cruising.  The next day, over at Friendship Bay, located on the Eastern side of the island, fishing boat races were taking place. These boats, known as double-enders, range from 12 to 28 feet. Bequia’s fishing boats were joined by peers from Mayreau, Canouan and Carriacou. The race concluded at Paget farm, on the southern side of the island, where the following day’s race was scheduled to take place. Meanwhile, at the Port, yachts were going at each other bow to bow.

On Lay Day, Sunday, onshore the vibes were flowing as the crowd gathered around to take part in novelty competitions: beer drinking, volleyball, and football among other games.  Monday, for the Regatta’s finale, boat racers took to their respective places on shore or horizon, while under the almond trees in Port Elizabeth, the capital was alive with activities: Coal Pot Lighting, Coconut Tree Climbing and Dry Cry Competition, just to name a few. 

Prizegiving was a celebration of drinks for the competitors, compliments of its annual sponsors: Mountain Top Spring Water, Heineken and Mount Gay Rum.  In the Racing Class, Category 5, skippered by Richard Szyjan, took first place overall.  In the J/24 class, St. Lucians dominated, taking first, second and third places. In Cruising Class 1, Petit Careme, Skippered by Rawle Barrow, swooped in to claim the only first place victory overall for Trinidad and Tobago, and Hot Chocolate won Cruising Class 2.  Finally, Bequia double-enders dominated the first places in all categories except class 4.

YACHT DIVISION WINNERS

Racing Class
1) Category 5, Hobie 33, Richard Szyjan, Grenada
2) Clippers Ship, Surprise, Nicholas Gillet, France (Martinique)
3) Padig, Surprise, Vianney Saintenoy, France (Martinique­)

Cruising Class 1
 1) Petit Careme, Beneteau 38, Rawle Barrow, Trinidad & Tobago
 2) Bloody Mary, Hughes 38, Jerry Stewart, Grenada (Carriacou)
 3) Jaystar, J/30, Ron Hunt, Barbados

Cruising class 2
 1) Hot Chocolate, C&C 38, Rich Washington, USA
 2) Appleseeds, Sun Odessey 40, Peter Asseltine, Canada
 3) Kula, Tartan 41, Mark MacNeill, Canada

J/24 Class
 1) Attitude, Benjamin Todd, St.Lucia
 2) Unbridled, Mike Green, St.Lucia
 3) Jabal, Nick Forsberg, St.Lucia

Single-Handed Race
 
CSA RATED
 1) Hallucine, Open 40, Nicholas Gillet, France (Martinique)
 1) Sonadio 3, A40, Yann Lecam, France (Martinique)
 2) Clippers Ship, Surprise, Nicholas Gillet, France (Martinique)

NON-CSA RATED
 1) Klondike, Beneteau 456, Donald Radcliffe, USA
 2) Obock, Fandango 32, Gildas Courrier, France (Martinique)
 3) Kula, Tartan 41, Mark MacNeill, Canada

DOUBLE-ENDER DIVISION WINNERS

Class 1 (12 feet)
1) Knowledge, Ryan Marks, Bequia
2) Rat, Michael Marks, Bequia
Class 2
1) My Love, Stanley Harry, Bequia
2) Bad Feelings, Samuel Forde, Mayreau
3) D Shark, Hudson Ollivierre, Canouan
Class 4
1) Liberty, Elmore Snagg, Canouan
2) Marion, Damien Bess ( Bequia), Mayreau
Class 5A (18 feet)
1) Tornado, Kingsley Stowe/ Ekron Bunyan, Bequia
2) Nerrisa J, Vernon Laidlow, Canouan
Class 5B (18 feet)
1) More worries, Andy Mitchell, Bequia
2) Shanna-Lou, Ray Leslie, Bequia
3) Divine, Delacey Leslie, Bequia
Class 6 (28 feet)
1) Limbo Dance, Allick Daniel, Bequia
Class 7 (28 feet)
1) Bluff, Lachie King, Bequia
2) Confusion, Wayne Gooding, Bequia
3) Cloudy Bay, Arnold Hazell, Bequia

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