There are good regattas and there are great regattas. This year – with its combination of challenging courses, competitive racing, fun vibe, hot parties, and lots of prizes – ‘Grenada Sailing Week: Camper & Nicholsons Race Series 2013’ tipped the scales towards greatness. Big kudos indeed considering it was organized in just four months.
This year marks the 20th year of keelboat racing in Grenada. Last September, however, there was great uncertainty about the future of the Keelboat Regatta when the Grenada Sailing Festival announced its suspension. Fortunately, a group of enthusiasts appeared, a new board was established, and with a new identity to mark a new era of international yacht racing in Grenada, ‘Grenada Sailing Week’ was formed.
“The Festival’s decision to suspend the keelboat regatta was much to the dismay of every sailor in Grenada and beyond,” stated Marc DeCaul, Chairman of Grenada Sailing Week. “We simply had to find a way to keep the races going”. Thankfully, due to the devotion of this board and its small group of hard-working volunteers, local and international yachtsmen were again able to ‘Sail de Spice’ in Grenada.
Despite its early drama and abbreviated timeline, this year’s race series was bigger than ever with additional races pushing the total up to ten races over four days. Twenty-eight boats from ten countries, crewed by sailors from many more nations, saw top international talent compete against those from the Caribbean Islands. The boats themselves ranged from a 16ft modified Laser Stratos to a Swan 53.
The regatta kicked off with an adrenaline-charged day of racing along Grenada’s south coast. Big seas and reported winds gusting over 30 knots provided sailors with challenging conditions and great stories, but also breakages, torn sails, and bruised bodies. Weather challenges continued through subsequent days as racers experienced lighter winds and occasional rain, and the race committee moved marks and recalculated courses to accommodate fluctuating winds. Overall, though, the weather and courses produced superb racing and demonstrated why Grenada is considered one of the best racing destinations in the Caribbean.
Competition in Racing Class was fierce, with boats often neck and neck as they approached marks and finish lines. Peter Peake’s Slippery was the one to beat this year; in every race she set off at a blistering pace, as if daring all others to ‘catch me if you can’. Positions chopped and changed on a daily basis and no two races in the whole ten-race series showed the same results. But in the end it was Slippery who took the first place trophy in Racing Class, and was announced this year’s overall race winner. In second place was last year’s champion, Lost Horizon, and Category 5 took third.
In Cruising One, returning champion Peter Morris took an early lead on Jaguar, although Rapajam gave him a run for his money. No stranger to the podium, having placed first in Cruising One the past two years, Jaguar retained first place honours. As one crewman said: “Nobody can tame the cat!” Second place went to Rapajam with Eagles’ Wings in third.
Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood with Island Water World’s Die Hard – another returning champion and last year’s overall regatta winner – emerged victorious again in Cruising Two. Rasmus took second, and Loose Cannon placed third.
Last but not least, RaVi placed first in the Fun Fleet, followed by X-Strato and Patronus.
But the fun didn’t end when the racing finished. Each night racers gathered at Port Louis Marina where the atmosphere was perfect for ‘liming’, race-day stories, and partaking of food, drink, and nightly musical entertainment. Thanks to the generosity of a stellar line-up of sponsors, there were ample prizes for racers as well. With party themes like ‘Pirate Dress Up’, ‘Face Painting’ and the ever popular ‘Mount Gay Red Cap’, there was definitely a feeling of fun and frivolity in the air. Even on Lay Day, it was ‘all-aboard’ Grenada’s Discovery Train down to Grand Anse Beach, where racers experienced the flip side of racing in Grenada: The Sailing Festival’s fun-filled Traditional Workboat Regatta.
In the end, ‘Grenada Sailing Week: Camper & Nicholsons Race Series 2013’ was declared a resounding success. As for the future of Grenada Sailing Week, Chairman DeCaul wrapped up by saying, “We learned a lot this year, we have much to do, but we now have 12 months to put together an even better event. Watch for us next year as we’re here to stay!”
2013 GRENADA SAILING WEEK RACE WINNERS
1. Slippery – RP 37, Peter Peake, Trinidad
2. Lost Horizon – J 122, James Dobbs, Antigua
3. Category 5 – Hobie 33, Richard Szyjan, Grenada
1. Jaguar – Frers 43, Peter Morris, Trinidad
2. Rapajam – Beneteau 53, Ralph Lancelot Johnson, Barbados
3. Eagles’ Wings – J 125, Hal Slentz-Whalen, USA
1. Die Hard – J 24, Robbie Yearwood, Grenada
2. Rasmus – Swan 43, Dieter Huppenkothen, Austria
3. Loose Cannon – J 24, Edgar Roe, St. Lucia
1. RaVi – Oceanis 45, Harald Horjen, Norway
2. X-Strato – Modified Laser Stratos, Mark Solomon, Grenada
3. Patronus – Beneteau 473, Christopher Conway, USA
Overall Race Winner:
Slippery – Peter Peake, Trinidad
For complete results, visit: www.grenadasailingweek.com
Connie Martin is a world traveler who is currently exploring the Island of Spice.