Fierce competition in a variety of conditions made for an outstanding Grenada Sailing Week. Hosted January 30th to February 4th out of both the Grenada Yacht Club in St. George’s and Secret Harbour Marina in Mount Hartman Bay. Sailors on thirty-one boats from as far away as Lithuania, the UK, France, USA, and closer to home, Trinidad, Barbados, Antigua, the U.S. Virgin Islands and of course Grenada, raced in six classes on everything from a J/24, a Volvo 60, and 70ft classic yawl.
Trinidad’s Mark Chapman sailing his modified Kerr 11.3, Dingo, won the prize for Best Performing Yacht, plus came in first overall in the Racing Class against a dozen boats.
“We always have great camaraderie with other teams, but TAZ (Antigua’s Bernie Wong’s RP 37) is always close racing with us. Bernie’s daughter Mei Ling sails with us, so it is always exciting to hear her comments,” says Chapman. “For us, crew work was key. Plus, we enjoyed the weather conditions. There were shifty conditions off Grand Anse and then more sea and breeze off the south coast.”
In the spinnaker-optional Racer-Cruiser class, Trinidad’s Peter Morris, aboard his Frers 43, Jaguar, beat the UK’s Andrew Yates, sailing his Dufour 44, Piccolo, by a mere one point. This was despite Jaguar breaking a hydraulic backstay in the second of nine races.
“The new format, with shorter races and better courses, worked well and the winner was only decided by the results of the final race. A well-prepared boat and enthusiastic crew that included Trinidadian, Grenadian, British, French and American nationals led to our success,” says Morris.
Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood, helming his J/24, Die Hard, won the Racer/Cruiser 2 class, while the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Judd Tinius finished first aboard his 70ft, 1899-built classic yawl, Galatea, in the Classic class. Galatea traded first and second place finishes with The Blue Peter, an Alfred Mylne-designed 1930-built 65-footer sailed by the UK’s Mathew Barker, ultimately beating the smaller boat by one point.
“Conditions this year were a bit breezy causing us to take a little damage in the tied race, but fortunately we had three firsts at that point and were able to throttle back. Both Galatea and The Blue Peter are so closely matched that it is rare for one to have more than a two-boat length lead meaning that no one could make a mistake,” says Tinius.
In the Cruising Class, the winner was Barbados’ Jonathan Gittens aboard his Morgan 41 Out Island Sloop Shangri La.
“This was our second time in Grenada and our second victory there. The flat seas of the first couple of days suited our competitor (After Hours) and the larger seas of the last couple of days suited ourselves better. So, at no point in any race were we assured victory. The final race of the series concluded with us finishing seconds ahead of our competitor. As always, we had a wonderful time with great races, excellent parties and fantastic prizes,” says Gittens.
Regatta organizers introduced a Class 40 division this year and welcomed one entry, the Campagne De France. France’s Halvard Mabire sailed with a crew of just three around Grenada and set a record of 7h 19m 52s. Organizers hope to attract more entries to this class next year.
“A huge thanks to the team behind the scenes which helped make Grenada Sailing Week 2017 the success it was,” says regatta manager Karen Stiell. “We had four days of competitive sailing and our parties were ‘off the hook’ as they say in the islands.”
For full results, visit: grenadasailingweek.com