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Carriacou’s August Regatta

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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The Carriacou August Regatta, organised predominantly by Tyrrel Bay Haul Out and the local cruising fraternity to raise money for various island charities, runs at the same time as the established Carriacou Festival Regatta for traditional boats and enables those of us in “modern” boats to not only have an enjoyable few days racing in Carriacou’s stunning waters, but to share in local traditions that are a part of this long weekend.

For our part, in Aquilo we were not only racing, but she was to be our room and board as well, this included the cat and 14 year-old granddaughter—in fact everything including the kitchen sink! We left our berth at Grenada Yacht Club early on Wednesday morning and arrived in the lovely Tyrell Bay anchorage early afternoon to the first of the charity events, a pot luck.

The Bay was hosting some 80 to 90 boats, many of them real head-turners, and the whole area has become cleaner and more affluent (there is even a Hummer cruising the beach road.) Yet nothing has been lost of the charm and ‘getaway’ feeling that Carriacou has always offered.

Thursday was spent readying Aquilo for the racing, stowing dodger, bimini and belongings. At the Skippers Meeting, hosted by Stitches, the sail loft, a total of 21 boats signed up for the Round Island Race, restoring somewhat my faith in sailors; it is possible to leave the anchorage and sail competitively even with the dog, cat, lamb (yes lamb) and pot plants aboard!

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The fleet set off in bright sunshine and fairly light winds. The strong current meant we had ample time to take in the stunning waters off Windward before turning to run down past the other delightful islands that make such lovely day anchorages.

Saga was to take line honours , with Windbourne finishing first on corrected time followed by Bloody Mary and, in third place, Antares, who was sailed impressively all weekend single handed by her owner. The Fun class was won by Regent 1, with Yellow Bird in Second and Nancy Dawson in third.

Day Two and the Island Water World South Coast Race: crews were now aboard and, apart from Harriet, we were joined by Nik Goodchild (our usual foredeck crew) and Natalie from the classic yacht Lily Maid. The race started well with a good start and great mark rounding. A good beat to Frigate Island kept us in touch with all the bigger boats, even in the light wind, however the tide between the islands held us in her grip for nearly an hour as we tacked back and forth gaining only inches trying to get around the north of Frigate. Eventually we made it past the rocks and reefs to turn the corner and shoot down past Round Island, then head for the Sisters and the finish line.

Saga took line honours again, however Tim Sudell had taken the opportunity in the perfect conditions to fly his spinnaker and withdrew after being protested. The winning boat on corrected time was Bloody Mary (though she had needed to leave a bit of her keel on Frigate) ahead of Windbourne. The single-handed Antares came in a worthy third. Only two boats finished in Fun Class, both sailed by skippers with local knowledge—Sanctus, owned and helmed by Dominic from the fabrication business, and Yellow Bird of Stitches sail loft.

Lay Day gave those that wished an opportunity to enjoy the Festival happenings in Hillsborough. A wet and windy night heralded in a damp and blustery day for the last Race. On Aquilo we were hoping this would help us to a good result, however it was not to be, as into the final five minutes the outhaul sheave exploded, putting paid to our chances. We watched our fellow competitors charge off to the Windward mark as we rather despondently dropped and stowed our main.

Saga had a great start, contributing to his second place behind Bloody Mary. Not so Windbourne, who was forced to take a 360 penalty, which was probably to cost him a place, leaving him in third. Sea Devil battled for control as her crew sitting out on the wings were continually up and down as she rounded up, while the other boats in the class—Antares, Tuluchian II, and the J24 HOIC—were all holding on. The Fun class (well reefed) sailed conservatively round the course. Yellow Bird on corrected time finished first, followed by Sanctus, with a delighted crew aboard Mange Tout in third.

Prize giving at the Yacht Club—and thanks to the generous sponsorship from Doyles, Mount Gay, and Budget, everyone received a prize. Bloody Mary was to be the overall winner in Cruising and Sanctus in Fun Class.

For all of us, these events are a chance to show off not only our boats, but our sailing skills and be a part of the adrenal kick that comes from competing. It truly is a case of ‘taking part is the real fun,’ so give it a go, why don’t you—pot plants and lambs included!

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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