The West Indies Regatta, which takes place in Saint Barth the first weekend in May each year, adds a touch of old time sailing to the island’s nautical calendar. The last official event of the season, this charming little regatta is a tribute to old wooden sailing boats and traditional boat-building skills, as well as the desire to keep these boats in the water and encourage new ones to be built.
Two days of casual racing on May 3rd and 4th enjoyed perfect weather condition.
“It may have been the best sailing we ever had,” says Lee Davidson, an American resident of Saint Barth who sails in this event every year. “Every race had groups of two or three boats sailing together, which made it more exciting. On the race back from Colombier on Sunday, there were five boats within ten boat lengths of each other, which made it a lot of fun. I went out on Summer Cloud, which has no motor, and is great to maneuver … the crew included captains of big schooners and St. Barth sailing school students. It’s nice that a lot of kids went out during the races.”
The fleet this year comprised the 1951 Clyde Tug Flying Buzzard, which served as the committee boat and had recently been the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta Committee vessel. The Carriacou sloops were Zemi, a 42ft Alwyn Enoe design; Exodus, the latest Alwyn Enoe creation, which homeports in Antigua and returned to St. Barth for the second year; Tradition, from Anguilla – the largest sloop in the race; Sweetheart and Savvy from Grenada; Genesis, winner in class, Antigua classic 2014; Ocean Nomad and last year’s winner, Summer Cloud. Zemi was declared this year’s winner, with plenty of Skullduggery Rum to celebrate.
Two schooners were on hand as well: Alexander Hamilton, built in Nevis and skippered by Andrew Robinson, arrived from Dominica fully laden with fresh organic produce, and Scaramouche, the Queen of the West Indies Regatta fleet, sailed up from St. Vincent.
A Caribbean market with arts and organic produce, and even a few down-islanders cooking up Ital cabbage soup right on the dock, added to the authenticity of the event, which is organized by Alexis Andrews in cooperation with the Collectivity of Saint Barth, the Tourism Committee of Saint Barth, the local UNESCO club, and the Port of Gustavia.
The seventh annual West Indies Regatta takes place April 30th to May 3rd 2015. The premiere of Andrews’ film Vanishing Sail will be screened at the 2015 St. Barth Film Festival to coincide with the opening night of the Regatta.
For more information, visit: www.westindiesregatta.com