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Steve McLaren’s schooner Elena of London. Photo curtesy of Peter Marshall/MGRBR
Steve McLaren’s schooner Elena of London. Photo curtesy of Peter Marshall/MGRBR

Records Fall At Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race

Despite light airs, three teams won their skipper’s weight in rum for breaking records in the 79th Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race held in January.

The Double-Handed Monohull record for the 60 NM course went to Dave Staples on Hallucine (Pogo) with a time of 07:29:51. Staples, who chartered the boat for the event, has now beaten his own previous record.

Conviction the local TP52 sailed by Paul Johnson, Clint Brooks and team representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) took the 60ft and Under Monohull record with a time of 06:07:06, while the well-sailed One Design J/24 record went to Jason Tindale and his young local team on College Funds.

Team College Funds skippered by Laser sailor Jason Tindale managed to break through to lead the fleet at North Point by sailing closer to shore and finished third over the line. They also broke the J/24 record with a time of 09:06:38.

“We had a fantastic day and are delighted to have done so well,” said Tindale. “It didn’t look good at the start in just four knots of breeze. It took an hour to sail two-and-a-half nautical miles. Thankfully the breeze filled up to 14 knots and the crew worked well to get everything together.

He added, “We had a bit of a tough time steering down the top part of the east coast with the kite up for four hours but once we were round East Point the situation improved and it was a fun ride home.”

Palpatine, the British Stormforce Coaching charter yacht (Stimson 42) skippered by Doug Innes, took line honors completing the course in 07:43:57. They sailed well in the light airs at the start and managed to retain their position at the top end of the fleet. They did, however, struggle to make any impact on the two well-sailed J/24s – College Funds and Glory Daze – who led the fleet for almost two thirds of the race.

“We are thrilled to have crossed the finish line first,” said Innes. “It is a great achievement for me and the British team.”

Although the lack of record-breaking opportunities proved disappointing for many in the 35-strong fleet, the race was a huge success, with most competitors regarding it as one of the best to date.

Peter Lewis on his J/105 Whistler who won the 35ft and Under, and the CSA divisions, said he couldn’t have asked for a better day. “It was an excellent race and despite the generally light airs it was a beautiful day for sailing and one of the best on record.”

Steve McLaren’s 55m Elena of London (A Class Racing Schooner); the recently-launched and locally built Ruth (30.5m schooner), and Tres Hombres (33m Brigantine) looked stunning as they glided up the west coast in the light airs. Ruth and Tres Hombres struggled to round North Point however, and retired, while Elena, with her huge sail aloft, blasted all the way down the east coast. Although unable to break the record she set in 2011, Elena managed to achieve wins in both the Unlimited and Classic divisions.

The British VO70 Monster Project who last year set a new outright monohull record with a time of 04:42:28, were unable to better their performance this year but were still able to claim the overall win in the 80ft and Under division.

Because the event traditionally takes place on a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day, and is the headline event at the annual Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, it was no surprise that this important sporting event attracted crowds of spectators.

Locals and holidaymakers not only headed to the south of the island to the beach area at Barbados Cruising Club, to relax in the sun and watch the start and finish, but also followed the race by car, stopping off at key vantage points round the coast, including the North Point, the most challenging part of the race.

For full results, visit: https://app.regattaguru.com/bcc/ 100086/results

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