Something for everyone sums up the fun at the South Grenada Regatta, hosted out of Le Phare Bleu Marina & Boutique Hotel from March 6 to 9. A ‘floating’ Dinghy Concert in the middle of Clarkes Court Bay kicked-off the event, which also included a 15hp Dinghy Time Trial, Junior Sailing Regatta aboard Mosquito dinghies, and a Pirate’s Trail on shore where kids tested their skills in fun-filled activities like walking the plank. However, the real focus of the SGR centered on the more recently added match races as well as the traditional fleet races. The latter featured a David and Goliath battle for Overall Winner championed by Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood and crew aboard Yearwood’s J/24, Island Water World (IWW) Die Hard.
“We were by far the smallest boat in the regatta at 24-feet,” explains Yearwood. “Our challenge was to keep clear of the bigger boats and play to our strengths and their weaknesses. We did. IWW Die Hard’s strength lies in team work and boat preparation. The team members are very good friends and have raced together for as long as twelve years. My crew is smart enough to ignore my orders and instead do the right thing at the right time.”
Fourteen yachts racing in Cruising, Fun and Multihull classes competed in a series of four cup races under ideal weather conditions.
The first day, IWW Die Hard won the North South Wines ‘Veuve Cliquot’ Cup. Yearwood explains, “We positioned ourselves to start on starboard tack, with speed, close to the committee boat allowing us to tack out early rather than to continue, like the fleet, towards the left and shallow water, which would have meant coming back out against huge and short seas that would have stopped us in our tracks. It worked because we rounded the windward mark with the biggest boats of the fleet.”
During the second race for the Netherlands Insurance Cup, the IWW Die Hard team judged correctly that there was more wind on the right during the long downwind leg to Prickly Bay, which at the same time had larger waves due to shallower water. These two factors enabled them to find more surfing opportunities and make up for the J/24’s much shorter waterline compared to the rest of the fleet.
IWW Die Hard also triumphed in the race for the Westerhall Cup. However, the team lost the series fourth and final IWW Cup to the nearly twice as large Dufour 44 Piccolo, driven by Grenada’s Mike Bingley. Bingley accomplished this feat thanks to a quick learning curve on a boat new to him and with inexperienced crew.
“My boat had some rigging problems so Andrew Yates generously lent us Piccolo and some of my staff at Palm Tree Marine, who had never raced in a regatta, joined us for a wonderful time,” Bingley explains. “When your team can gel together on a new boat as fast as the team I had, and cooperate for the common cause, that is a good recipe for winning.”
Ten teams, including two from yachts who recently participated in the Oyster World Rally, match raced on 33ft Rush 10 catamarans. The first round matches proved fast, exciting and extremely close. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the second round, one of the Rush 10s dismasted and racing stopped.
Bingley, who match and fleet raced, says, “I enjoy racing no matter the type of race. Since match racing uses two evenly matched boats, it leaves it down to the experience of the crew.”
Having fun is what this regatta is all about, says SGR chairman Jana Caniga. “Sailors enjoy our fleet, match, and junior racing programs. And our great parties, top notch musical entertainment, and wide range of other water and land-based activities makes it a fun regatta for all, sailors and non-sailors, Grenadians and visitors alike. We take great pride in that.”
The 2015 SGR is tentatively set for the second week in March.
For full results, visit: southgrenadaregatta.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.