Sailing action took centre stage on Grand Anse Beach in January as the 24th annual Grenada Sailing Festival got under way bringing high adrenalin racing and fun to the crowds who came to enjoy this unique sailing event. Twenty five boats from Gouyave, Grand Mal, Sauteurs and Woburn lined up bringing their well-known and much loved colours with them. New boats had been built to take part in the 2017 event, and Woburn, with a Community fleet of ten boats entered two Racing Classes for the first time: Woburn Traditional and Woburn Sport.
Skipper Ted Richards and crew sailing Tomorrow’s Worry, one of five matched design boats owned by Grenada Sailing Festival, stormed through the finish line to bring the title of Champion of Champions back to Gouyave for 2017. The winners took away a cheque for US$1,000.00, and a Yamaha outboard presented by McIntyre Brothers. This completed a ‘Hat-Trick’ of wins in the major Match Race finals, with Gouyave crews taking first place in both the Budget Marine Junior National Team Sailing Final, and the Senior Team Sailing Final, sponsored by Carib.
The racing was as close and competitive as ever in the Community Classes, with every skipper and crew sailing hard to score first place and the chance to go through to race in the Westerhall White Jack Champion of Champions match race final. At the end of the first day positions were close, leaving everything to race for on Sunday.
Another two races in The Community Class Series on Sunday morning set the scene for the afternoon finals. In another first, two Woburn Classes took to the water together in a fun ‘Bragging Rights’ race between Tradition and Sport – the honours going to skipper Allan Noel with his boat Here Comes Trouble.
Excitement levels moved to a new high as the crowds on Grand Anse Beach waited for the boats and teams to be picked for the National Team Sailing Match Races in the fleet of GSF16s – the 16ft workboats owned by the Grenada Sailing Festival.
Racing was tough in the Budget Marine Junior Final, Team Gouyave, sailing in Pink Gin, crossed the finish line to take first in front of Woburn in Mr. X. There followed more high-octane racing in the Senior National Team Sailing Final – sponsored by Carib – as Team Gouyave and Pink Gin once again crossing the finish line first in front of Woburn in Mr. X, with Sauteurs sailing Gybe Talk in third place.
The afternoon ended with the winning skippers and crews from the Community Class Race Series battling it out in the Champion of Champions final. As the sun went down, crowds lined the water’s edge to watch the five boats race for the Big Prize. Positions changed throughout the race, but Gouyave pressed hard, starting the charge for the line after rounding the final mark. The Gouyave crew from the Community Class winning boat Classic came home in style to take the title, trophy, cash and outboard motor.
The final prize giving was rounded off with a firework display courtesy of Spice Island Fireworks, Dodgy Dock and True Blue Bay Resort – a true high spot to start the week of Independence celebrations.