Sailors enjoyed lots of late summer racing in Grenada. Fourteen boats set sail in the two-day Round Grenada Regatta, held August 19th-20th, and a dozen teams competed in the first J/24 Match Race on September 17th. Both events were hosted by the Petit Calivigny Yacht Club (PCYC) and both produced some great stories of competition and camaraderie.
Wind, at first too much and then too little, was a theme at the 3rd Round Grenada Regatta. In fact, Barbados’ lashing by then Tropical Storm Harvey almost prevented well-known J/24 sailor, Gus Reader, on his Shakin, from sailing south. In fact, Reader and his crew just made it to the start line off Le Phare Bleu in time for the race back north to Carriacou.
“Decent winds on the south coast kept the three J24s with spinnakers in contention and in the lead until the dreaded west coast Grenada calms, where everyone sat for hours turning gently in circles,” says Reader, who ultimately finished eighth overall against larger boats like winner, Galatea, a 72ft Bermudian yawl, and second in the J/24 class behind Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood’s Die Hard. “From there, it was who the wind gods favored like Julie Rule (Chris Hellburg’s Elan 37) inshore, Galatea in the middle and Am Bushe (Rene Froehlich’s J/24) on the outside, who got breeze from somewhere while the rest of us sat like rubber duckies in a bathtub. When the breeze finally picked up, we almost got Am Bushe and stayed ahead of Die Hard to finish first, second and third, respectively, by the time we reached Tyrrell Bay. Great party, and great spirit that night in Carriacou, not about who won or lost, mostly about being there.”
The next day’s race from Carriacou back to Grenada was abandoned due to lack of wind. One boat, Galatea, did finish the second leg under sail and was declared the overall winner.
“The fleet started in good wind but halfway a squall came through, took the wind away and it never really came back,” says Judd Tinius, Galatea’s owner and skipper. “Being as I have no engine, we were forced to stick it out and finish the race when all others either motored or got towed in. We had a lot of fun and I will definitely do this event again next year.”
The J/24s were back and the boat of choice for the PCYC’s newest match race.
“The PCYC has organized monthly Hobie Cat match races for some years,” explains commodore Rene Froehlich. “Robbie (Yearwood) came up with the idea to now have J24 match races. He secured two more J24s, plus his own, so we had three boats. A date was set right after the Round Grenada Regatta, we had about three weeks to organize and very quickly eager teams booked the 12 spots.”
On the Saturday prior to the race teams had a chance to practice on the water. The breeze was great, the boats went out, and the teams had fun. Then Sunday, the actual race day, the seas were flat and there was no breeze when sailors arrived at the course. Thankfully, the wind freshened a half hour later and racing was on for the day. Each team raced three times, each time on a different boat. At the end of the day, it was Jason Crew’s Team Palm Tree Reserve which won all the races and the overall title. The two second place teams, Richard Fleming’s Skinny Guys and Richard Amerling’s SGU Yacht Club, each had the same number of points and had to race one more time for second and third place.
“In that sail off, Richard was over early at the start and I got out in the lead,” says Amerling. “Then downwind, I was getting fuzzy because it was late in the day and I didn’t have a game plan in mind. We went around the leeward gate, split in opposite directions and Richard got the better breeze. He’s also a very good sailor. We had speed issues too. We later saw that we were dragging a fender in the water. I really loved sailing with this nucleus of a one design J/24 class here in Grenada and I hope we do more.”
The PCYC J/24 Match Race was sponsored by North Yacht Shop, Clarkes Court Boatyard & Marina, Adrift Restaurant & Bar and Westerhall Rums Grenada. For full results, visit: pcycgrenada.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.