ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – A record 44 yachts have taken part in the 2010 Grenada Sailing Festival Port Louis Racing Series, presented by Port Louis Trading and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas.
This year, the annual National event, run in association with the Grenada Board of Tourism, took place from Friday, January 29 to Tuesday, February 2, and organisers reported that they were delighted to welcome one of the strongest and most competitive fleets since the event began in 1994.
Yachts raced in six different classes, Racing, Racing/Cruising, Cruising, Charter, a one-design class of J24s and, for the first time in the festival for several years, a class of Multi-hulls – catamarans & trimarans.
The Festival fleet made a spectacular sight each morning, as all the yachts vied for places at the start line. As the yachts vary in size from the 24-foot long J24s to the biggest yacht in the fleet, Nimrod, an 82-footer, the sight was a photographer’s dream.
Grenada’s home-grown talent was in contention with tough local crews sailing with Richard Szyjan in Category 5, Grenada Marine’s Apero and Justin and Peter ‘Champie’ Evans in Tanga Langa 3 and Carriacou’s Jerry Stewart with Bloody Mary.
They were joined by some of the best names in Caribbean racing from neighbouring Trinidad, as well as Barbados and Antigua: Wayward, Storm, Jaguar, Lost Horizon, Blackberry Enzyme and Whistler.
This year’s festival also welcomed a great mix of other nationalities, with the UK, Ireland, USA, France, and Holland strongly represented, plus skippers from as far away as New Zealand and South Africa.
Organisers were also delighted to announce that its Charter Class was again sponsored by long-term supporters Boval, the Dutch Insurance Group.
Over past years, the group flying to Grenada to compete has been steadily growing and for 2010, 49 keen sailors from The Netherlands joined the festival, chartering seven boats to take part.
At the time of going to press, three days of racing had been completed. The competition was proving very tight, with close results in every class.
At this stage, the main contenders were: in Racing Class, Trinidad’s Peter Peake and Storm and James Dobbs of Antigua in Lost Horizon; in the Racing/Cruising category, Trinidadians Jerome McQuilkin, Peter Morris and David Leighton in Wayward, Jaguar and Survivor; in Cruising, John McLean from the UK in Pentanamos and Grenada Marine’s Apero; in Multihull, UK’s Chris Doyle and the Anguillan yacht Ti Kanot, another UK skipper Max Hyslop with Sasha and Joe Walsh and Suave from the USA; in J24, Robert Povey and Neil Burke from Barbados in Hawkeye and Impulse with Grenada’s Robbie Yearwood in Die Hard.
All final results and news can be found on the Festival website www.grenadasailingfestival.com.
For the second year running, yachts taking part in the annual festival docked at a ‘Home Port’ – Port Louis by Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, the island’s newest international class marina facility.
All racing started and finished from this base, so there were four days of high activity both on the water and at dockside with ‘Finish Line Limes’, Happy Hours and After-Race Parties focusing on the new-look Port Louis Marina and Victory Bar.
Although the Grenada Sailing Festival’s Port Louis Racing Series has drawn to a close, the sailing does not stop.
On Independence weekend, February 6-7, the action moves to Grand Anse Beach for the Digicel Work Boat Regatta, with racing starting on Saturday morning.
Some 35 boats from the traditional local sailing communities of Carriacou, Gouyave, Grand Mal, Sauteurs, Petite Martinique and Woburn will be competing for prizes and the coveted title of Skipper of the Year.
The event becomes a great sailing feature of the island’s Independence celebrations and there will be music, food, games and entertainment for everyone, including a Kiddi’s Korner.
The 2010 festival was run with presentation partners Port Louis and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, in association with the Grenada Board of Tourism.
The organisers also thank Work Boat Regatta sponsor Digicel, plus sponsors and supporters for 2010: ScotiaBank; United Insurance; FLOW; Mount Gay Rum & Heineken with Bryden & Minors; Budget Marine; Boval; Spice Island Marine Services; West Indian Treasure Chest; Horizon Yacht Charters; American Airlines; British Airways; Coca Cola; Island Dreams Yacht Services and Steele’s Auto Supplies.
Thanks also go to Courts; Southern Electric; Independence Agencies; Deyna’s and Grenada Electrical Contractors for their support on the beach for the Digicel Work Boat Regatta.