Cheers from the spectator boat must have been heard in Martinique as Sugar Beach Attitude raced across the finish line of the final race in the 2013 Saint Lucia Mango Bowl Regatta. The local team, skippered by St Lucia Yacht Club Sailing Captain Fredric Sweeney, fought against stiff competition from veteran crews from Saint Lucia, Barbados and Martinique.
Out of nine races in the J24 Class, Sweeney and crew: Dylan Charles, Konstantin Tonkopi, Ryan Alexander and Ricardo Charmon took four first places and three second places to finish with a total of 14 points ahead of Unbridled skippered by Olympian and champion J24 match-racer Mike Green. Third place went to another local boat, Buffalo Soldier, which was raced by Martiniquan skipper Nicholas Gillet and his crew who flew into Saint Lucia especially for Mango Bowl.
The island’s premier competitive sailing event is in its second year, and organizers at the Saint Lucia Yacht Club (SLYC) are delighted with the response from participants, sponsors, spectators and media who supported the regatta and made it a success. Thirty-two boats took to the waters of Rodney Bay, an increase on last year’s fleet even after two boats had to retire from the 34 registered.
Conditions were blustery and overnight torrential rains caused a few worried faces at the welcome party on Friday, however, conditions improved to ensure a perfect day of spectacular sailing around two courses: J24s and the similarly sized Surprise Class, from Martinique, raced together on a short circuit, while Racing and Cruising Classes headed north off Pigeon Island on their longer race route.
Winner of the Cruising Class after five races was the Carriacou sloop Savvy from Grenada: Skipper Danny Donelan and his crew were ecstatic at the prize-giving, and vowed to return next year to defend the title. Second place in Cruising went to British yacht Happy Morning. A very enthusiastic Trini crew on Where the Wild Things Are finished third.
Although a smaller fleet, the three Racing Class yachts fought a tough regatta, with Barbados’ Whistler taking the top spot from Martinique’s Fiser by one point. Third place went to returning competitor Open the Barre.
Six Martiniquan crews battled for glory in the Surprise Class but Clipper’s Ship blew away the competition by winning seven out of nine races, with second place Digilife matching their last year position and the all female crew of Denebola taking third.
But it was Sugar Beach Attitude’s weekend and the local lads were popular winners among the competitors and spectators alike. After winning the Southern Caribbean J24 Championship in Bequia at Easter, Fredric Sweeney and his team have competed in Barbados and spent many hours training in the waters off Rodney Bay, which was evident in the teamwork and tactics that took them to the end of the nine races in overall first place. The team also took the IGY Rodney Bay Marina J24/Surprise Class Combined Series prize of a haul out for the boat valued at EC$2500, which was presented by IGY General Manager Simon Bryan.
At the Mango Bowl Prize-giving at the Yacht Club on Sunday, Commodore Dr. Stephen King thanked all the visiting sailors that came from Martinique, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and England to make the regatta a bigger and better event in its second year. He had high praise for the social events hosted by the club and the Boardwalk Bar at Rodney Bay Marina during the regatta, and the crowd was in agreement that Saint Lucia’s new kid on the competitive sailing circuit is on the calendar to stay.
Winners in all four categories received a hand-painted ceramic Mango Bowl trophy, designed and created by local artist Michelle Ribot, as well as vouchers, useful gadgets, equipment and a sport-fishing tour for two.
Report submitted by Dee Lundy-Charles, Saint Lucia Yacht Club PRO