From the skippers’ briefing on November 30th to the prize giving on December 2nd it was obvious that the Mango Bowl Regatta (MBR) will become an established event. After all hadn’t it attracted yachts from as far away as Barbados and the massed hordes of the Surprise Class from Martinique to Fair
Helena’s shores? Unbelievably, this was the regatta’s inaugural event and one which should put St. Lucia back on a few racing calendars (after a long absence) and give everyone involved bragging rights to the well-attended event.
The skippers’ briefing was held at the St. Lucia Yacht Club (SLYC) and free transport picked up sailors who’d anchored in the marina and carried them to the Reduit Beach Club every 30 minutes in the pouring rain.
So many people attended the skippers’ briefing that it had to be held in the SLYC’s squash courts as crews renewed old acquaintances.
On Saturday morning the rain disappeared and racing in the five-classes (Racing 1 Spinnaker, Cruising 1 Non-Spinnaker, Catamaran Non-Spinnaker, Surprise Class and finally the J4 Class) began, just a little bit late.
A courtesy boat, Endless Summer, a huge catamaran, was made available for press and visitors and duly anchored off the buoy near Gros Islet where yachts finished an upwind beat and began the downwind leg. There were some tense moments at the mark.
It looked chaotic with boats spread right across the horizon as the five classes waited for their own air-horn start.
The Surprise/J24 Class was action packed, especially on day one with seven races in rapid succession. It would have taken a flotilla of press boats and probably a helicopter to have covered all the races. However, from our anchored position, we were close enough to the action to see just how tight each race was.
The red and white hulled GFA Caraibes (Martinique) lead most races and finished first in the Surprise Class. The way the crew rounded the buoy and popped the spinnaker was nothing short of robotic! It was a great performance by a skilled crew.
And this was just the first day!
Sunday’s calendar began at 8:55am (well, sort of) with the third race for the Racing Class; third race for Cruising 1 Class; third race for Catamaran Class and finally the seventh race (of three continuous races) for the J24/Surprise Class.
The Mango Bowl Regatta has something for everyone and it was wonderful to see some of St. Lucia’s old favorites such as Cider with Rosie and Doubloon back in action along with some beautiful Caribbean traditional wooden boats.
It was more of the same with the J24/Surprise Class, as catching GFA Caraibes looked “impossible n’est pas?” as they said along the waterfront.
The prize giving took place at the Ocean Club, the only restaurant/bar with a swimming pool in the marina. Island Global Yachting General Manager Adam Foster thanked everyone for a great couple of days and raised three cheers for one of the main organizers of the event Edgar Roe, a member of the Mango Bowl Regatta Committee, who’d done such a great job of contacting sponsors and persuading competitors to take part.
For a full list of sponsors, competitors and finishing positions, visit the SLYC’s website: http://stluciayachtclub.com