A truly international field of 21 boats registered for the 2 days of racing for the South Grenada Regatta hosted by Le Phare Bleu Marina & Boutique Hotel, and met perfect weather conditions. Eight nationalities all focused on winning and having fun mean’t the Regatta would be one to remember.
Being a young event the South Grenada Regatta has the charm of a big family with lots of character and it’s own uniqueness. People who know each other, new faces and friends of the family are integrated in no time. Racing boats met Catamarans and classic boats. Cruisers join with landlubber some of whom are racing for the first time, locals mingle with tourists and the whole mix gives an atmosphere of achievement, fun and friendship.
That 21 boats registered was a big surprise for the organisers; many bets have been lost as this number surpassed their expectations. Plus, 17 boats finished all the three races, this is also a big improvement to the first edition of SGR.
The sailors appreciated all 3 courses. Two races on Saturday with the final race on Sunday. The first race ’Round Glover Island’ started just outside Petite Calivigny Bay, home to Le Phare Bleu Marina, to Glover Island and back. This race was won by “Category 5“ in 1 hour. Second place went to Blanquilla and third to Rasmus.
Right after the first race the second race started, the “Westerhall 12° Cup“. This was a downwind race around the marker set at 12°. This shorter race was the right challenge for the 19 boats and the winner was again “Category 5“. Second place, Rasmus and third Loup De Mer.
Richard Thomet, skipper of the Fetard said “What a great start to the Regatta and we just hope we step our performance up for the last race tomorrow“. Richard and his crew of 4 came from Switzerland and had planned their charter weeks especially so they could take part in the South Grenada Regatta. Fetard entered the Fun Class along with 9 other yachts.
All participants were back early enough from the first day of racing to enjoy some time relaxing in the Poolbar by the swimming pool or on the beach. There were many exchanges of race talk whilst enjoying a Carib or two. Westerhall Rum had a special tent offering rum cocktails mixed personally by Westerhall Estates Ltd Marketing & Sales Manager, Damon Du Bois.
The main Prize Giving Party took place on Saturday evening. The happy winners receiving many great prizes, such as an outboard sponsored by McIntyre Bros, a voucher for a 2 night stay including breakfast and dinner at Petite Anse Hotel, St Patrick’s, Carib Sushi meal voucher, Native Spirit Scuba half day snorkeling, full body massage by The Conch, Art Fabrik voucher, plus many practical vouchers like an outboard service from Palm Tree Marine Diesel Engineers, bottom of the boat cleaning by Underwater Solutions. Bottles of French B&G Cuvee wine and a magnum of Verve Clique donated by Silver Sponsors – North South Wines and bottles of Vintage Westerhall Rum donated from the Gold Sponsor – Westerhall Estates. The magnificent trophies, truly a piece of art in their own right, were designed, made and donated by Act Art&Design.
On Sunday the field was challenged by one race, the ’Le Phare Bleu Cup’. Obviously a very convenient course for Rasmus skippered by Dieter Huppenkothen, who finally won the Cup. The overall winner of the Regatta was Robbie Yearwood with Team Island Water World ’Die Hard’.
Dieter Burkhalter, committee member and co owner of Le Phare Bleu Marina, said “when we started to organise the second edition of the South Grenada Regatta last july it was a huge encouragement when nearly all Sponsors from last year came back on board. This was confirmation of our efforts and due to the huge success of the first SGR 2009. Next to Netherlands Insurance, Westerhall Rum and Le Phare Bleu we also secured a new gold Sponsor with Real Value IGA. Patrick Halout, the General Manager of IGA said in his short address, “Real Value is committed to support efforts which generate strong communities, because strong communities generate a strong nation. A highlight of the prize giving party was the visit of Hon. Minister of Tourism Glynis Roberts who underlined the importance of such events as the South Grenada Regatta for the tourism industry.
Many local friends of Le Phare Bleu owners, Dieter Burkhalter and Jana Caniga embraced the possibility to join a racing crew. For some this was the first time out on boat. Jeffrey Peters, Sponsor and Director of AC/DC Electric, was asked why he enjoyed being crew during the Regatta, he said “I like the fun of it, all the activity on board which is much more intense than during normal cruising. The main highlight of the racing is the tacking. You have to be very fast!“.
For Dieter Burkhalter, a passionate sailor for more than 35 years, its the biggest thrill to show and share the beauty and the excitement of sailing to as many people as possible. In this same spirit came the intergration of the Junior Dinghy Sailing competition into SGR, a must for the organisers.
The Junior Sailing was great fun to watch and all 14 of the competitors enjoyed the event. Refreshments including lunch was laid on for them between the races. The dingy boats were on loan by the Grenada Yacht Club and the Gouyave Sailing School. Budget Marine as one of the Silver Sponsors, donated the certificates to all the entrants and the prizes for the three main winners. 5th place, Noah Bullen. 4th place, Reese Grans. 3rd place Shakeem Collins. 2nd place, Kimo Sampson and the winner taking 1st place, Kwesi Paul.
The musical part of the weekend had all the ingredients of a multi cultural event. Visiting muscicians from Switzerland gave their time and played along side Xtasy and Love Vibes. Natty from the band Love Vibes said “We love it man, having the opportunity to play for the Regatta and play with our visting musician friends is real special. We’re looking forward to next year already“.
The committee should be commended for the organisation of the event. They are Dieter Burkhalter, Jana Caniga, Lucy Murchie of Palm Tree Marine Engineers, Laura Harvey, Jo-Anne Hypolite-Peters of Wiremans House and James Beniot.
38 Volunteers, including members of staff from Le Phare Bleu, gave their time and some of them their boats to help during the weekend for which the Committee is truly grateful.
The South Grenada Regatta is now firmly on the sailing event calender and will be an annual event. The Committee will be meeting again soon for a debrief and to start planning the next event. The dates for 2011 will be confirmed later on in the year. All results and images will be availble at www.southgrenadaregatta.com or call 444 2400.