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St. Lucia Update – Apr 07

Howzat for a quick jetty?

“Three weeks to build a jetty—you’re kidding, right?" All At Sea asked Dave Seal, the Project Manager in charge of the construction of the new jetty in St Lucia’s Gros Islet. It was, after all, 180ft long with an 80ft extension heading towards Rodney Bay, but Dave wasn’t fazed: "It’s a tight crunch but everything’s coming together!" he replied above the din of construction.

As the floating crane pile-drove concrete foundations, the 10-man crew, including local and overseas specialists, set about their (in my view) Herculean task.  The Barbados firm of Marenco Ltd was sub-contracted from the local firm of C.O. Williams to complete the task in time for World Cup Cricket, not that any matches will take place on the jetty, of course, but the tenders for the expected cruises ships will be more than happy to anchor up and ease the congestion on the highways.

It’s expected that the eight foot rigid concrete platform will have a wooden deck. A small bridge over the river to Pigeon Island is also planned to facilitate the cricket faithful . . . howzat?

Swiss on a roll in St Lucia’s Independence Day race

Eight boats were scheduled to take part in St Lucia’s February 22nd Independence Day Race from Rodney Bay’s St Lucia Yacht Club to Anse Cochon and back, in the end it was down to six, however, it was six of the best!  Whitea, Sea Queen, Hot Chocolate, Fido, Nut Cracker, Breeze-a-way took part with Doubloon, who retired, and Eclipse, who failed to start, making up the eight.

Incredibly, the time for the course was predicted at five and a half hours, I say incredibly as all boats who finished did so within half an hour of the allotted time.  "Someone forgot to book the wind," said St Lucia Yacht Club’s Honorary Bosun, Ted Bell, who, as usual, marshaled the event. The breeze was light for the 10 a.m. start as the yachts circled in front of SLYC. The flags went down, the hooter blared, and the race was on; three boats paid the price (five minute penalty) for an early start in the handicapped affair.

Doubloon, who later retired, was a late entry after engine problems sailing up from Marigot Bay and began the race around 30 minutes later than the main fleet. The wind stiffened (someone had ordered it after all) as the boats headed to the first Pigeon Island buoy and then set off for Anse Cochon with Hot Chocolate leading the charge—with just three minutes separating first from last.

The finish was as close as the start with Whitea finishing with an elapsed time of 5hrs. 15.13; Sea Queen was next with 5hrs.23.27 followed by Hot Chocolate with 5hrs.48.46; Fido came in at 5hrs.37.13; Nutcracker with 5hrs.19.03; and last, but not least, was Breeze Away with 5hrs.37.41.

The well-attended prize giving was on the following Sunday with Marine Industry St Lucia’s Keats Compton thanking sponsors Peter & Co, Renwick, St Lucia Distillers, Spinnakers, Cable & Wireless, Heineken, Waveriders and St Lucia Rainforest for their part in sponsoring the event.

Honorary Bosun, Ted Bell, (this guy’s busy) presented the prizes including a special prize for ‘The Spirit of the Regatta’ to Fido who, judging by the t-shirt slogan, expected to be picking up the winner’s trophy… still, there’s always next year.

The biggest round of applause went, quite rightly, to the Whitea crew as they picked up the prize for first place. Swiss captain Volkmaar shook Ted’s hand, not for the first time as he’s a regular at most events and promised to compete again next year . . . I suppose you could say he’s on a roll, a Swiss one of course!

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