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Petite Calivigny Yacht Club’s Round Grenada Regatta

La Diablesse prepares to set sail. Photo: Pattie Hall

Racing around any island is a thrilling experience, but sailing west around Grenada from Petit Calivigny, with an overnight stopover at Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, and back again doubles the adventure. This is just what a fleet of boats did in the Petite Calivigny Yacht Club’s second annual Round Grenada Regatta, held August 21 and 22. Since the regatta is all about fun, there are no handicaps. The boat that finishes first wins the race and the accumulated times of both legs determines the overall regatta winner. This year, grand champion was Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood aboard his J/24, Die Hard. Yearwood, however, was not without keen competition.

The course north to Carriacou on the first day saw some interesting match racing between Yearwood and Barbados’ Gus Reader aboard his J/24, Shakin. Die Hard won the start and was closely tailed by Shakin. It soon became a three boat race between the light displacement hulls of the two J24s and La Diablesse, a 33-footer designed and built by Grenada’s Rene Froehlich, who was also at the helm. The three boats constantly changed positions each leapfrogging over the others by finding their own private zephyr. This continued until Victoria, on Grenada’s northwest corner, after which La Diablesse headed offshore looking for more breeze, while the two J24s stayed closer to land to maintain windward positioning in anticipation of the westerly going running current.

“The breeze soon filled in and our two J24s developed an unassailable lead,” tells Yearwood. “Since there was no handicap, when the wind strengthened, both of us had lots of fun experimenting with innovations to offset our short waterline disadvantage relative to La Diablesse. The most successful was creating a trapeze by rigging a bosun’s chair to the spinnaker pole topping lift. Die Hard eventually managed to overtake Shakin, and won the first leg of the race.”

Beating to Carriacou, with steady breeze, through the beautiful Grenadines with crew on both Die Hard and Shakin on makeshift trapezes was one of the most exciting stories of the regatta for Reader. “So was handling sixteen hours of offshore racing with spirit and style with my all girl youth crew,” he says.

Photo of Shakin from Die Hard during the race as the boats struggle with the early morning calm. Photo courtesy of Die Hard
Photo of Shakin from Die Hard during the race as the boats struggle with the early morning calm. Photo courtesy of Die Hard

Carriacou Marine hosted a lovely evening of dinner and live entertainment, followed the next day by a 10am start back to Grenada. The reaching start off Tyrell Bay was closely contested, but Froehlich’s La Diablesse managed not only to get ahead under full main and a big jib, but also did so at an angle that gave the boat consistently good speed. It was at this point that the team enjoyed watching its competitors slowly recede in the distance astern.

Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood (white shirt) at the awards for his win overall aboard his J/24, Die Hard. Photo: John Whitsett
Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood (white shirt) at the awards for his win overall aboard his J/24, Die Hard. Photo: John Whitsett

“The wind started to ease as we reached Grenada, but it kept blowing enough to keep our speed up enough to stay ahead of the opposition,” tells Hugh Pringle, crew aboard La Diablesse. “Then, spinnakers appeared to windward and behind us and started to gain. Eventually the wind went astern enough so we in turn could hoist our spinnaker and accelerate a little. We sailed past the familiar headlands and bays of Grenada’s east and southeast coasts until finally Petit Calivigny and Le Phare Bleu came in view. Our competitors were still well astern as we crossed the finish to take line honors. Our second day’s success gave us third overall, behind Die Hard and Shakin, pretty good for the first racing event on a new yacht and of course a new crew. So here’s to the next race and more success!”

For full results, visit: www.pcycgrenada.com/round-grenada-regatta-2016-results

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