Twenty-four entries in this popular regatta made for exciting racing in perfect conditions off Jolly Harbour and Five Islands Harbour. As the name suggests, the regatta was sailed over the Valentine’s Day Weekend February 14-16. Included in the fleet was Scarlet Oyster, a highly successful 48-footer raced by Englishman, Ross Applebey. Scarlet Oyster was to have a dramatic end to the regatta.
The fleet was split into three classes for Saturday and Sunday’s racing: Cruising, Racing-Cruising and Racing. Scarlet Oyster, the light wave Oyster, scored bullets in all four of Saturday’s racing class races, as did the Swedish Yachts 42 Ocean Harmony in Cruising class. However, it was a different story in the Racing-Cruising class where Blue Peter, a modified J30 and Frolic, an ex USA Coastguard Yawl, battled for honors. The result at the end of Saturday’s racing was two wins and two seconds for Frolic and two wins and two seconds for Blue Peter. These boats were built in the 1960s and 70s respectively but are raced very competitively against more modern boats.
Sunday saw slightly lighter winds but with some heavy squalls gusting through Five Islands Harbour. This created some interesting sights with the smaller boats heeling further and further as the squalls roared through.Ocean Harmony had little success in the lower winds in the Sunday races but did sufficiently well to guarantee the overall regatta honours in her class.
The battle continued between Blue Peter and Frolic in the Racing-Cruising Class, the latter placing second twice and third once and Blue Peter gaining regatta honors with a third, a first and a second.
In the Racing Class, Scarlet Oyster continued to dominate while the J105, No Face to Face, sailed by Robbie Ferron and the J102, Sunset Child, raced by Christian Reynolds, battled it out for the minor placings.
Then came the drama! In the very last race a heavy squall saw Scarlet Oyster dismasted whilst flying her spinnaker. The bang, as the rigging snapped, was heard all over Five Islands Harbour. One crew member was swept into the sea by the boom but suffered only minor injuries to her hand. Fortunately, because the rules of the regatta allowed each boat to discard its worst result, it was some small comfort to Scarlet Oyster’s crew that they still won the Racing Class.
The regatta was followed by a lively prize-giving at the Westpoint Bar, Jolly Harbour.
Best Boat in Regatta:
1st: Scarlet Oyster
2nd: No Face to Face
3rd: Sunset Child
1st: Blue Peter
1st: Ocean Harmony
3rd: Spring Tide
The regatta was organized by Jolly Harbour Yacht Club. For full results and photographs, visit: JHY Cantigua.com. Any proceeds from the photographs taken by Jody Sallons-Day have been generously
donated to the Antigua Sailing Academy.
Report by Lawrence May. Photography by Jody Sallons-Day