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Loose Cannon Fires a Broadside J24 Wins St. Lucia’s XMAS Sailing Festival

Christmas came early for Loose
Cannon
’s international crew and skipper, Frank Capers, when they
finished in front of last month’s third annual Christmas Sailing Festival.
Organized, not surprisingly, by St Lucia Yacht Club (SLYC) to coincide with the
arrival of Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) it attracted some big
names—none more so than Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Entries
were down from last year’s 29 to 21 but crew numbers were up for the
three-day event as ARC participants arrived later than usual, victims of an
Atlantic crossing described by some as ‘sailing in a washing
machine!’

Tuesday’s Race One brought weather conditions ARC participants
must have only dreamt about! The deep blue backdrop of Rodney Bay shimmered and
churned as Kevlar sails and brightly painted hulls sachet in each and every
direction—although it was difficult to ascertain who was doing
what—and to whom.

“Yes,”
said the Yachting Association’s president, young Ted Bull, when I pointed
this out to him “it was a little difficult to follow if you didn’t
understand the nature of the buoys.”

I
didn’t—I’m sure I wasn’t on my own—but it looked
fantastic.

The
handicap system must have been a complex affair. I’m pleased I
wasn’t involved in its orchestration! The handicapper had to take into
account Frank’s J24, the 70ft-million-pound (well that’s what it
looked like to me) Incisor of Wight,
a Corby 45 with Kevlar sails and last year’s winner
Whitea plus a further five craft.

Nope, too difficult for me.

Incidentally,
it was nice to see Cider with Rosie
back in action after a couple of year’s absence due to a dismasting and
loss of steering. Still, as they say, some things get better with age, cider
being one of them, not so sure about Rosie.

“The
fun class was similar to a maritime treasure hunt,” said young Ted whilst
putting a couple of coffees on my burgeoning bill. “The cash
point,” Ted sighed, rolled his eyes and promised
recompense sometime in the future (he wasn’t specific).

“The
fun-class crews were met at Gros Islet and given
instructions on how to accumulate points by finding and solving clues. Their
ultimate destination being JJs in
Marigot Bay
after a meandering course around the coast and Castries
Harbour,”
said Ted.

“The
tighter courses suit the J24,” said Capers, “even though the boats
were designed 30 years ago we’re still able to compete, although I would
have preferred a purely J24 class.”

The
evening ended with some 70s anthems galvanizing the crowd into action, “I
could see the floor moving,” said Ted (a young man of 65 in the
seventies), “I had a ball.”

He
wasn’t the only one!

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