A record-breaking total of 54 yachts and 29 local double-enders registered to take part in the Bequia Sailing Club’s 32nd Bequia Easter Regatta. Conditions were blustery and challenging but this could not dampen the spirits of the 83 boat fleet as they raced throughout the four day event.
Two, one-design Classes – one for the 25ft French ‘Surprise’ boats from Martinique, and the other for the popular J24s; a Racing (spinnaker) Class and two Cruising Classes made up the 54-yacht fleet. Competition was fast and furious in the blustery winds, however, the nightly awards ceremonies and get-togethers, hosted by the Bequia Sailing Club and sponsors Heineken and Mount Gay Rum, kept spirits and camaraderie at an all-time high.
Fourteen French yachts made the journey from Martinique to compete. They were joined by boats from around the Caribbean, USA, Canada and Europe.
Regatta Premier Sponsors First Citizens awarded unique teak trophies to the winners of Friday’s First Citizens Yacht Races and Big Boat Challenge, whilst winners of Sunday’s 11-boat entry Heineken single-handed Yacht Race and Monday’s Heineken Yacht Races all received additional prizes courtesy of Heineken.
Regatta sponsors United Insurance lent their name to the J24 three-race series on Saturday, with the United Insurance Challenge Trophy going to the young crew from St. Lucia on Bad Attitude, skippered by Frederic Sweeney. The nine boat J24 Class competed fiercely throughout the regatta’s six specially designed races. When the final results were tallied, Bad Attitude was the overall winner, thereby also taking the J24 Southern Caribbean’s Champion Trophy for 2013. St. Vincent’s own Saltfish, skippered by Philip Barnard took a well-earned second overall, pushing last year’s Champion Fadeaway from Barbados into overall third place on a points tie-break.
Overall winners in the other four closely contested classes were Racing Class: Lost Horizon (James Dobbs, Antigua) with a typically impressive two firsts and a second, Cruising I: Frolic (Hans Lammers, Antigua), unbeatable with two firsts and a fifth place; Cruising II: Leonora, (David Spieler, Barbados); and Surprise: GFA Caraibes (Nicolas Gillet, Martinique) – runaway winner yet again with three first places.
On the local boat side, excitement ran at fever pitch on Good Friday for the First Citizens Big Boat Challenge, as the sleek new 28-footer Fo’ True took part in her maiden race. Owned by Dylan Ferry from the Virgin Islands and built and skippered by master boat-builder Arnold Hazell, Fo’True’s glistening varnished hull drew huge crowds of admirers. With nine entrants overall, the race was won by Bequia’s own Double Bluff, skippered by Lachie King.
The 29-boat local double-ender fleet that took part in the three race series over the Easter weekend came mostly from Bequia, but also included boats from Canouan, Mayreau and Carriacou. Amongst the Bequia boats there were no fewer than seven competing with young Bequia sailors as crew.
With Monday’s long Mount Gay Challenge race for the largest boats postponed because of difficult weather conditions, the overall winner of Bank of SVG Trophy in this 28ft Class 7 is yet to be decided. The other overall winners were O Connie (Class I, Wag Service Station Trophy) My Way (Class 2, RBTT Trophy), Lightning from Mayreau (Class 4, Mountain Top Spring Water Trophy), Nerissa J 2, (Class 5 Caribbean Woods Trophy),with 140-year-old Iron Duke taking overall honors in Class 6 with The Bequia Sailing Club Trophy.
A large crowd of competitors from both the local double-ender fleet and the yacht racing fleet were welcomed at the closing ceremony by Senator Elvis Charles, representing Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture the Hon. Cecil McKie. Charles thanked the competitors and sponsors, and reaffirmed his ministry’s commitment to supporting the Bequia Sailing Club in their work in putting on the regatta each year. Sir James Mitchell, founder of the Bequia Sailing Club, and Northern Grenadines MP Dr. The Hon. Godwin Friday joined the competitors at the gardens of the Gingerbread Hotel for the regatta prize-giving.
Report courtesy of Bequia Sailing Club