For three days this winter, from the 27th of February till the 1st of March, Le Phare Bleu Marina & Holiday Resort became a buzzing place with the launch of the first South Grenada Regatta. The committee has already met to start planning its second event and has announced dates in late February.
“We firmly believe, and this event has confirmed that belief, that Le Phare Bleu is perfectly suited to host such a sailing event, said sailor Dieter Burkhalter, owner of Le Phare Bleu Marina, citing the beautiful south coast, a full service marina to accommodate the boats and the beach with Poolbar Restaurant on site for all the on-shore activities.
Small but well organised and ready to grow, the South Grenada Regatta intends to become a permanent fixture in the racing calendar of the southern Caribbean.
This year, 14 boats set off on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in perfect sailing conditions. The first race went from the entrance marker of Le Phare Bleu Marina down wind, around Glover Island and back to the finish line at the marina. The first boat home was Category 5 with Richard Szyjan as captain. It took him with his Hobbie 33 one hour and 32 minutes.
The Twelve Degree race also started from the marina, up wind along the south coast to the Westerhall marker on 12 degrees north, then all the way down to Point Salines where a marker again on 12 degrees had to be rounded. Category 5 were also the victors in this race.
The Westerhall Rum Cup, presented by one of the sponsors, Westerhall Rum, was awarded to the winner of the Twelve Degree Race, Richard Szyjan. Jason Fletcher on Apero was second and Scott Watson on Boxxer was third in the cruiser class. In the J24 class it was Bru Pierce on Blew by You who came in third, Tempest driven by Mark Solomon second and Die Hard with Robbie Yearwood first.
Graham Williams, the General Manager of Westerhall Rums, didn’t miss the Prize Giving Party. “For a first time event, the 2009 South Grenada Regatta attracted 14 boats and this is a great success. As one of the major sponsors Westerhall Rums is very pleased with the event and look forward to growing along with it.“
Sponsors Richard Strachan from Netherlands Insurance and William Joseph, the Director of Tourism, believe in the future of the South Grenada Regatta as well.
“Events provide opportunities for locals and visitors to celebrate life and to make good use of the natural assets available on Grenada. The first South Grenada Regatta is a welcome addition to our calendar of events. Its home base at Le Phare Bleu is a most perfect setting for a good quality sailing event which will surely be bigger, better and more exciting in 2010,“ emphasized the head of the Board of Tourism.
The South Grenada Regatta featured not only two challenging races along the south coast but also a day of races for juniors, a 15hp dinghy time trial and the very popular Pirates Trail which attracted children of all ages. In the Junior Sailing Regatta, four races with Optimists and with Lasers were accomplished. Kevin Banfield was the winner in the laser class, Vaughn Bruno second and Michael McQueen third. With the optimist Kenzo Szyjan came in first in all four races, second was Shakeem Collins followed by Kwasi Paul, Rees Evans and Noah Bullen.
Experienced in putting together all sorts of events the organisors are very much aware that every popular event needs time to grow. Already some changes are being considered for next year’s South Grenada Regatta.
“To attract more boats it might be necessary to organise two days of racing. This would make it reasonable also for boats coming from other islands to join,“ explains committee member Lucy Murchie.
A lot of hard work has gone into making this first South Coast Regatta a success. The motto the organisers are holding up for their demanding task: As it’s all volunteer work it has to be fun! Certainly that appears to be the case. And it looks as if the committee member have had fun too.
Report submited by the South Grenada Regatta Committee