The 2009 Grenada Sailing Festival was presented by Port Louis and Camper & Nicholsons, in association with the Grenada Board of Tourism from Friday 30 January to Tuesday 3 February. The Festival, based for the first time this year in its new Home Port at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, saw four days of international yacht racing and the traditional two-day Digicel Work Boat Regatta off Grand Anse Beach.
Grenadian skippers and crews provided strong competition to visiting international and regional yachtsmen in three out of four of the racing classes and figured in the prizes each day.
Saturday’s Mount Gay Race Series began to show the pattern of the close competition to come, despite some light winds. In the Racing Class British skipper James Dobbs in his J122 Lost Horizon took the day. Well known Carriacou-based Festival competitor Jerry Stewart in his Hughes 38 Bloody Mary led the Cruising Class.
The J24 Class was up to five entrants for 2009, with three boats from Grenada, joined by Barbados and Trinidad. The first day of racing saw Charlie Gloumeau and Russell Carrie from Barbados in Jaboulani take first place. The Charter Class, sponsored by the Dutch company Boval, also had a strong international representation, with British and Californian skippers joining the four boat fleet entered by the Dutchmen. UK’s John Couper in the Bavaria 46 My Mistress came in first.
After a hard first day of three races, skippers and crew headed for the Victory Bar at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina for the prize presentation and the Mount Gay Red Cap Party.
The True Blue Bay Race followed on Sunday, the traditional half-day of racing, allowing skippers and crews to watch the finals in the Digicel Work Boat Regatta on Grand Anse Beach. First, second and third placings between James Dobbs, Richard Szyjan and Paul Solomon were exactly the same as day one in the Racing Class, while in Cruising, Grenada’s Peter ‘Champie’ Evans took first in his Nautor Swan Julia. Charlie Gloumeau and Russell Carrie could not be knocked from the number one J24 slot, and in the Charter Class, Jaap Eringa and Second Chance took first.
There was a very popular new addition to the party schedule on Sunday evening, with a cocktail party for skippers and sponsors on the lightship Västra Banken, based on the dock at new Marina Le Phare Bleu, followed by the day’s prizes and a Pirates of Calivigny Party at the waterside restaurant.
Monday morning saw another change in the Festival schedule for 2009, as for the first time, the Moet & Chandon Pursuit Race started off the day. This was open to the full Festival fleet competing for Champagne prizes. Jerome McQuilkin and Wayward took home the magnum in first place.
The Pursuit Race was followed by the ever-popular South Coast Triangle courses in the Heineken Race Series. It proved to be a day for Trinidad successes: Peter Peake led Racing Class in Storm; Jerome McQuilkin took the Cruising Class; and Stephen Bushe and Ambushe took the J24 Class. John Couper and My Mistress were again successful in the Charter Class.
The prize presentation party was staged at the Aquarium waterside Restaurant, where guests were treated to a ‘Taste of Spice’ evening.
The Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Race Series made the final day of racing, and the two race series in excellent wind and water conditions gave skippers and crews their last opportunity to change their cumulative places for the overall Festival titles. James Dobbs could not be beaten in the Racing Class., and Jerome McQuilkin took another first in Cruising. Robert Yearwood came through to take first in the J24 Class as did John Couper in Charter.
The final night Prize Presentation Party was at the ever-popular venue of the Dodgy Dock at True Blue Bay and was a night to remember with traditional drummers, pan bands, salsa dance and Parang style music, all topped off with farewell fireworks. Race day prizes were again provided by North South Wines, Moet & Chandon and Colombian Emeralds, with original signed prints from International photographer Onne van der Wal.
All Class winners took home a magnum of Champagne and a Tissot watch. As winner of the Racing Class, James Dobbs also took home a Yamaha outboard engine presented by MacIntyre Brothers; Cruising Class winner Jerome McQuilkin received a haul-out courtesy of Spice Island Marine Services; John Couper took away a one week charter from Horizon Yacht Charters; and J24 Class winner Stephen Bushe was presented with US$400 vouchers from Turbulence Grenada.
The title of Overall Festival Winner 2009 went to James Dobbs and he was presented with the Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Plate, as well as two British Airways return tickets to London … a great ending for Dobbs, who was a participant in the second ever Grenada Sailing Festival in1995. For full results: www.grenadasailingfestival.com.
Event report and photographs submitted by Grenada Sailing Festival