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Despite Challenging Weather South Grenada Regatta a HUGE Success

The organisers are very satisfied with the outcome of the third South Grenada Regatta (SGR).  With 19 boats entered the Regatta had a slightly smaller racing field than last year.  The exceptionally rough sea and weather conditions made it a big challenge for both racers and organisers, but there were only happy people around at Le Phare Bleu for the last weekend of February.  Committee member Damon Du Bois concludes, “Against all odds the sailing crews showed great seamanship and actually enjoyed spectacular sailing.  The management of Le Phare Bleu succeeded in creating a great atmosphere even on Saturday when it was pouring down with rain the whole day.  Probably the guys who got the worst of the rain were the guys in the marker boat and the photographer in the press boat. Their small motorboats were like toys for the 12 feet waves.”

The goal of the organisers of the South Grenada Regatta is always to attract racing boats as well as keen sailors with less racing experience.  This year only 2 boats flew their spinnaker in the Cruising Class 1, “Category 5” and “Dione”. Most of the boats were racing either in the Cruising Class 2 (without spinnaker) or in the Fun Class.

South Grenada Regatta 2011

The first race on Saturday went from Le Phare Bleu Marina around Glover Island and back.  The winner in the Cruising Class 1 was “Category 5”, in Cruising Class 2 “Tulaichean II”, with Mike Bingley’s crew and in the Fun Class “Alexa”, with skipper Paul Dale. Dale’s prize for winning the Fun Class was a voucher for a Yamaha outboard from McIntyre Bros, at the value of ec$2,000.  The North South Wines, Veuve Cliquot Cup was won by Richard Szyjan with “Category 5”.

The second race had the same winners as the first except in the Cruising Class 2, which was won by Scott Watson on “Boxxer” winning the Westerhall Cup.

Whilst the big boats have been fighting the high waves and strong winds along the south coast, the junior sailors turned their rounds in the Petite Calivigny Bay and were quite an attraction for all the visitors.  It is a big pleasure for the South Grenada Regatta committee that this co-operation with the Grenada Yacht Club turns out to be so fruitful and they have managed to get these Junior Sailing Races organised for the third time in a row.  Therefore, the South Grenada Regatta 2011 decided to donate to the Grenada Sailing Association a cheque of ec$1,500 in order to support the junior sailing.  The cheque has been well received at the prize giving and was accepted by Nicolas George.  The results of the Junior Sailing Races on Saturday are the following: in the Mosquito Class: third place. Rondell Ferguson, second place, Mozart St.John and first place, Kwasi Paul. In the Optimist Class Rees Evans made third, Noah Bullen second and Brent McQueen first.  As a surprise for all these winners, next to the voucher from Budget Marine, was the fact that Minister Peter David was handing out their prizes personally.

The Sunday races took place under the shining Caribbean sun. Nevertheless the sea was even rougher than on Saturday and some problems occurred with setting the markers. But the visitors at Le Phare Bleu saw 86 minutes and 15 seconds after the start “Boxxer” sailing into the Petite Calivigny Bay and crossing the finish line.  It’s a unique situation in this Regatta as the third and final race finishes in the Bay with the finish line only a couple of yards away from Le Phare Bleu Marina, so visitors can watch all the boats sailing into the bay fighting against the time.  In the end, the winners were the same as in the first race: Richard Szyjan on “Category 5” in Cruising Class 1, Mike Bingley on “Tulaichean II” in Cruising Class 2 and Paul Dale on “Alexa” in Fun Class.  The winner of the Le Phare Bleu Cup was “Tulaichean II” and the overall winner of the whole Regatta was “Category 5”.  Race officer James Benoit comments: “The Regatta was enjoyed by all. The competitors could not complain about the wind (15-35 knots) for the two days and the courses were challenging for all boats sailing in rolling seas. The starts were quite demanding with some boats arriving at the start line too early which meant a restart for them.”

Throughout both days for none racers a lot of activities were going on both on shore and on the water.  The rides in the speedboat with Seafaris, which have been offered for only ec$20, gave many Grenadians the opportunity to see the south coast for the first time from a different perspective.  For those who were prepared to get wet could have a trial sail with a small hobie cat.  Sunday afternoon a “15hp dinghy race” was the favorite for quite a few grown up boys.  The other children enjoyed themselves with the pirate’s trail, where all different skills in the water and on the beach were necessary.  There was still space and a nice choice of food and drinks from the Poolbar Restaurant for all who just wanted to relax by the pool.

The South Grenada Regatta 2011, were selling very special T-shirts the design of which had been defined by a competition. These T-shirts have the status of being collectable as are a limited edition.  There will be again a competition for the design of the South Grenada Regatta 2012.   The committee would like to see this art and design project within the event organisation as a way to stimulate involvement from people who are not directly connected to sailing.

The winner of this years T-shirt competition was Susan Mains who actually represented Grenada in the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.  Therefore, it made complete sense for Susan Mains to show her work during the South Grenada Regatta at Le Phare Bleu and the Art Exhibition was very well received.  The original painting for Susan’s winning T-Shirt design is hanging now in the reception building of Le Phare Bleu Boutique Hotel.

Who ever thinks back to the South Grenada Regatta 2011 will point out the great entertainment. Already Friday evening after the Skippers Briefing “The Rocking Pontoons”, from Switzerland showed their talent in a smooth set to finish the evening off with some party songs as a teaser for the next evenings Prize Giving Party.  On Saturday they performed splendidly featuring Kay George and Gary Doc Adams.  Also, D Hammer and Natty from the local band “Love Vibes” joined in later in the evening.  Thoughtfully, the race committee has put the start for the Sundays race at 10:30am as most of the sailors partied till late in the night. They didn’t mind partying also on the Sunday. DJ Lesley set the ambience during the afternoon and at 8pm “Front Page” took over. A truly Grenadian night, energetic, fast and loud.  Sailors who have never experienced Soca Monarch got a glimpse of it on Sunday night at Le Phare Bleu.

Committee member Jana Caniga points out: “The South Grenada Regatta is a small and friendly Regatta. And after the 3rd edition we think we have figured out the concept for this sort of event. There will be changes next year but not in the main structure of the Regatta”.

It is by now a tradition that the band from Switzerland “The Rocking Pontoons” play an aftermath concert.  This time Dieter Burkhalter, owner of Le Phare Bleu, organised a Dinghy Concert in the middle of Clarke’s Court Bay.  With the band playing on a Tug boat the concert was accessible only by boat, obviously a very special setting with a unique atmosphere.  The film was on Youtube the next day.

Using the social media is a part of the new marketing strategy of the South Grenada Regatta especially Facebook.  All the TV and radio advertising paid off as there were definitely more Grenadians attending the event and whom now know that the South Grenada Regatta is a fixed feature on the annual agenda of fun activities.  All the pictures made by Steve Brett are accessible on the website and can also be purchased for a very reasonable price. A highlights movie can be seen on the Le Phare Bleu facebook page or the website www.southgrenadaregatta.com

As a conclusion one can say South Grenada Regatta 2011 was an event that made all the participants happy: the sailors, the visitors, the volunteers, the organizers and also the loyal Sponsors.  The SGR committee would especially like to thank: Westerhall Rum, North South Trading, Netherlands Insurance, Real Value IGA Supermarket, Le Phare Bleu as Gold Sponsors.  Silver Sponsors, Budget Marine, Island Waterworld, Act-Art&Design, Carib, The Wiremans House/ACDC and Grenada Board of Tourism.  Other Sponsors included Turbulence, McIntyre Bros. Spice Island Marine Services, Palm Tree Marine, Gary Adams Chiropractor, Island Dreams Yacht Services, C&J Car Hire, The Canvas Shop, Petite Anse Hotel, ModOne, Grenada Marine, Underwater Solutions, Glenelg, Art Fabrik, Dive Grenada, Dion Healing Hands Massage, Carib Sushi, Coconut Beach Restaurant, Seafaris and Moorings. 

All this makes for the best foundation for the forth edition of the South Grenada Regatta, which will take place the 24th – 26th of February 2012.  To see highlights from this years event and movies visit www.southgrenadaregatta.com

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