Two thousand ten was a record-breaking year for the Grenada Sailing Series as it launched into its 17th year during the final weekend of January. Those on 44 boats, the biggest fleet ever, would testify that it was also a record breaker for gear failure, blown sails, close calls and bilge pumping.
Four exhilarating, exhausting days of racing took place along the southwest end of the island from St. Georges to Prickly Bay with winds delivering no less than 20 plus knots of propulsion. Had they been steady, it would have been "smooth sailing" but with erratic and frequent gusts, some hitting 40 knots, it provided the fleet with plenty of white knuckle moments. Those winds, coupled with opposing currents on the south coast produced agitated seas that made steering seem like a wrestling match.
Tony McQuilken of Wayward reported, "There was a lot of sail ripping. Wives and other onshore crew were running around with bags full of sails, trying to get them repaired quickly." McQuilken was the voice of experience since on the third day, Wayward lost two headsails. "We completed the race running bald headed." Even so, thanks to a crackerjack crew and attrition of the competition, they finished the day in third place. Smiling, he added, "It's all fun and games, right?"
The Beneteau First 47.7, Tanga Langa 3, lost their steering at the start of day three. "It was a good thing it was on the south coast," said crew, Champie Evans. "The yard is there. Got it fixed. Went out for the second race which I think we won." Indeed they did.
There was a lot of talk blowing around about a frequent need to bail. Water that didn't make it below from waves cracking off the bow found its way there by high jumping windward rails and deeply dipping leeward combings. And then there were hatchesâ€”Wayward reported pumping out an easy 1000 gallons after a bow wave forced open a hatch by breaking the latch.
Certainly the Trinidad based J-24, Ambushe, had to remove a load of sea water after they were t-boned and holed by sister ship Impulse. "We went around the top mark," a crew reported calmly, "jibed and, well, things just got out of control." The sizeable hole didn't delay them though; a quick repair and they were back at it the next day.
Another J-24, Blew by You, did not get off as easy. During the very first race, in extremely rough conditions, the boat bit into a bomber wave causing a broach. The forward hatch, temporarily open to pass a sail through, swallowed up the sea and the boat went down off Pt. Saline. Everyone was quickly retrieved, no injuries were sustained and, since the boat sank in relatively shallow water, attempts will be made to salvage it.
Although this was the first year that a schedule division occurred, running the workboat races the following week, the fun was multiplied by the extra days of racing and celebratory events. For big boat racers, other changes included longer courses, new deep-water marks, one day of sailing dedicated to an ocean race and an extended South Coast Ocean triangle.
Since the event is traditionally called "Pure Sail, Pure Spice," there was plenty of entertainment both on the course and off. A jumbo pod of porpoises raced with the fleet on day three and a few boats reported sharing the course with a bale of turtles.
Four days of racing required five days of parties, each with a theme and purpose. Participants were treated to Tivoli drummers, local reggae, disco fever, the Dick Adams Blues Band and a Feel'n Hot, Hot Hot Party featuring everyone's favorite, those inimitable Mt. Gay Hats. Special lighting was provided by the year's biggest and brightest full moon.
Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina provided a luxurious venue and a team of generous sponsors went all out to welcome and pamper captains, crew and guests.
Racing Class 1
1st -Tanga Langa 3
2nd – Lost Horizon
3rd – Akarana
Cruising Class 2
1st – Pentanemos
2nd – Wayward
3rd – Survivor
1st – Suave
2nd – Ti Kanot
3rd – Sasha
1st – Alemata 3
2nd – Ben’s Inspiration
3rd – Life of Reilly
1st – Hawkeye
2nd – Die Hard
3rd – Impulse