Winds weren’t conducive for establishing new records in the 77th Anniversary Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Series, organized by the Barbados Cruising Club in association with Mount Gay Rum and The Barbados Tourism Authority. Yet that doesn’t mean there weren’t any milestones. One was the largest fleet to date of 36 entries in the 60 mile Signature Round Barbados Race held January 21st. The second welcomed a new class where the winner set the time to beat next year and the opportunity for the skipper – like all record-breaking skippers in this event – to win their weight in Mount Gay Rum Extra Old.
The first start in this pursuit-style race took place off the Barbados Cruising Club in Carlisle Bay, located at the southwestern edge of the island.
“Entries ranged from Trevor Hunte’s Windsurfer 1, to the beautiful classic yachts such as The Blue Peter and Valteam, which previously arrived in Barbados as part of the Panerai Classic Transat,” explains organizer Alene Krimholtz. “The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race would not be the same without old favorites such as Tres Hombres, a 105ft trading brigantine and her crew from The Netherlands.”
The 36-vessel fleet was divided into ten classes including everything from classics, multihulls, single and double-handed to monohulls from 80 to 35ft and under.
Only seven knots of breeze greeted the first yachts to start their clockwise circumnavigation at 7am. By 11am the winds were blowing 15 knots for the final starters, and current absolute record holders, Idea, a 78ft Reichel-Pugh, and Silver Bullet, a 30ft Super Cat.
The fleet came together at North Point, just in time to meet rain squalls and receive a visit from a passing school of dolphins. As if the wind speed wasn’t low enough, then came the calm after the storm. The breeze dropped and speeds fell away. Tres Hombres, Mandy, Mary Jo and Barnacle retired before reaching the East Coast of Barbados. For those who continued, progress was slow.
“Conditions improved as the fleet reached the easterly Ragged Point Light House, but by then it was too late for the existing records to be broken,” Krimholtz tells. “Sadly, no skippers were awarded their weight in rum!”
Idea was first across the finish line with a time of 5 hours, 26 minutes and 18 seconds, 23 minutes slower than last year when she broke the Absolute Monohull Record.
Seven yachts raced in the new CSA-rated class and competed for the first-ever Rapier Trophy. Idea pocketed this prize too with a CSA-corrected time of 6 hours, 50 minutes and 49 seconds.
This year’s Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Series included two other events. The Two Restaurants Race, an 18 mile handicap warm up race, was held January 19, while the inaugural 300-mile Barbados to Antigua Ocean Race set sail January 23rd. This last served as a feeder race for yachts who also wanted to compete in the Superyacht Challenge Antigua.
FIRST IN CLASS RESULTS
Classic Yachts: The Blue Peter, Bermudian Cutter 66ft – 08:07:25
Monohull 80ft and Under: Idea, Reichel Pugh 78 – 05:26:18
Monohull 60ft and Under: Rapajam, Beneteau First 53 – 07:44:26
Monohull 40ft and Under: Happy Morning, Sigma 36 – 09:45:30
Monohull 35ft and Under: Whistler, J/105 – 08:39:44
Single Handed: Dragon Magic, Dufour 385 – 11:18:16
Double Handed: Immigrant, Dubois Custom 40 – 10:13:30
Multihull: Silver Bullet, Super Cat 30 – 5:53:35
CSA Rated: Idea, Reichel Pugh 78 – 05:26:18
For full results, visit: www.mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.