Great sailing conditions, with flat seas, bright sun and breezes averaging 15 knots with an occasional 20 knot gust and 20 degree shift to keep sailors on their toes, set the scene for the inaugural Barbados Old Brigand Rum Regatta. Raced May 14th and 15th, the Barbados Sailing Association-organized and Barbados Yacht Club-hosted regatta saw three classes – one design J/24, CSA and non-CSA – compete on a mix of windward-leeward courses in Carlisle Bay and longer courses along the island’s south shore. In the end, it was the teams aboard Banks Esperanza, Rapajam and Waymar that won their classes.
The J/24 class win didn’t seem certain at all when on the first day of racing Ian Mayers thought he might have to sail with one man down aboard his Banks Esperanza due to a crew member’s minor accident on the way to the Club. Luckily, everything moved along quickly and a full crew was on board 30 minutes before the start.
“We cast off the mooring, quickly hoisted the spinnaker for two quick jibes, two quick tacks and then we were off. As it turned out, we ended up with our best start of the regatta, nailing the pin end, capitalizing on the first left shift and leading the long race up and down the south coast pretty much wire to wire. This was great as it allowed the crew to build some confidence and push on from there,” says Mayers.
Sunday’s conditions were shiftier with more variable wind speeds, yet the crew on Banks Esperanza were able to hold on to their lead and pull off the class victory. Mayers credits team work and the crew’s ability to quickly gel and respond to the challenges on and off the racecourse.
Robert Povey’s Hawkeye and Charlie Gloumeau’s Bunga Bunga finished second and third, respectively, in the J/24 Class.
This win put Banks Esperanza in a tied lead with Bunga Bunga in the eight-regatta Suzuki Marine 2016 J/24 National Championships. There are two regattas left to Series season. The winner represents Barbados in the J/24 World Championships.
Rapajam, Ralph Johnson’s lightning fast Bruce Farr-designed Beneteau 54, won the CSA Class. Johnson’s crew included his eight-year-old son, Jason, and six-year-old daughter, Jade.
“I would say that strong winds and good courses worked in our favor,” says Johnson.
Ten Seven, owned by Ian Hickling, placed second in this class and Mike Krimholtz’ Dragon Magic third.
Finally, it was Doug Graham who sailed friend Mark Mostovac’s 32-foot Jeanneau Attalia Waymar to first in the non-CSA Class.
“The small crew on Waymar included members who had never sailed together before and one who had never raced before. On the first day that resulted in some tacks not being executed as well as should be and room for improvement and one interesting need for a 360 penalty.
The most satisfying part of the race was the improvement on the second day with the team being synchronized and getting the best out of Waymar,” says Graham.
Peter ‘Wipers’ Hoad’s Paddington finished second and Bill Tempro’s Sail La Vie third.
Trevor Hunte championed the Windsurfer class.
With nary a mishap and only one protest throughout the weekend, this inaugural regatta proved a huge success.
“Many thanks go out to our new sponsors Old Brigand Rum, as the onshore parties proved to be a big hit with the potential to bring out the pirate in all of us,” says regatta director Penny McIntyre, referring to the rum’s pirate-themed brand.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.