Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fabulous Mount Gay Barbados Series

J/105 sailing Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados)- The Mount Gay Round Barbados Series organized by Barbados Cruising Club, in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing and Mount Gay, got off to a spectacular start with the first race of the three-day Coastal Series blessed with glorious sailing conditions.

A good 17-20 kts of north-easterly breeze and relatively flat seas resulted in exciting close racing for the five fleets, which ranged from Windsurfers and Foiling International Moths, Cruising classes, to the CSA Racing class.

The courses started in Carlisle Bay and took the fleets generally out to the southeast, round South Point to Tapas, a mark just off the beach up the east coast. The CSA Racing Division, the largest fleet in the Coastal Series, enjoyed exciting racing along the south coast.  Local hotshot Peter Lewis, and team on the J/105 WHISTLER sailed well and managed to clinch the opening race on corrected time.

The second day produced spectacular competition once again. Although it was an unusually damp day with rain squalls passing through for most of the race, the wind built under the clouds to 15-16kts, which made for really exciting racing along the west coast of the island.

J/105 sailing off BarbadosAccording to Steven Kern, tactician aboard the J/105 WHISTLER and winner of the day’s CSA Racing division, this week is one of the most competitive he has experienced in the event’s recent history. “The starts and the close racing throughout have been fantastic. It has been consistently competitive, which is what we love.”

Kern, sailing with skipper Peter Lewis and team, who are seasoned Caribbean circuit sailors, added another win to their race win yesterday and were now looking good for an overall Coastal Series win. They say their secret weapon this week is a new flat spinnaker.

“The new spinnaker worked beautifully going up the west coast. It is a smaller spinnaker we can fly for longer. I think we also managed to stay focused even when we dropped up the coast. The wind dropped to less than 2kts at one stage off Holetown, but we popped the kite and gained a lot.”

The final day of the Coastal Series concluded in spectacular style with sunshine, a good working breeze up to 17-18kts, and a relatively flat sea. The 15nm course took the fleet out to the west, followed by a long windward leg to Oistins, not far off South Point.  The conditions made for a particularly exciting conclusion to the Series with results in some classes going down to the wire.

Peter Lewis and his seasoned local team aboard WHISTLER clinched the series today with three straight wins. This super-tuned team demonstrated their impressive kite handling skills once again, so it wasn’t particularly surprising to see them take overall honours. Their closest rivals throughout the series were Stimson 42 and a local TP52 race team.

Interestingly Calvin Piggott & Mark Mostovac on the J/24 PADDINGTON sailed a storming first beat and led round the windward mark. With clear air, this team looked set to challenge for the win in the early stages but sailed a long way out to the right on first reach and, unfortunately, were overhauled.  Had they won the race, they might have earned silver!  However, their risky move did not pay off and ended up in 3rd for the race and 4th overall in Non-CSA Racing Class.

Following the Coastal Series Awards and the Round Barbados Race Skippers’ Briefing, teams enjoyed the party at Copacabana Beach Bar, just along the beach from Barbados Cruising Club. With a planned lay day, crews have a chance to recuperate before the lay day Regatta Polo Match, which was taking place in the afternoon at Holders Polo Field, St James.

J/24s sailing BarbadosRound Island Race
The 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race took place on Saturday 21 January.  The wind was generally light from the east-north-east, reaching no more that 12-15kts so it was never going to be a big record breaking day, but those who took part raced hard for a chance to smash one of the 14 records up for grabs, all of which offered a chance to win the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum.

Following on their success in the Coastal Series, the J/105 WHISTLER continued her winning ways, taking CSA 35 ft Under Division and taking 6th overall in the fleet of fifteen boats.

Meanwhile, the local J/24 sailors Cyril Lecrenay on BUNGA BUNGA and Gus Reader on GLORY DAZE enjoyed close racing at the head of the fleet, despite the extremely light airs at the 0700 start. As they rounded the top of the Island three hours into the race, they were still neck and neck and reveling in the breeze that had built to 10-12kts. A close race continued down the east coast but it was GLORY DAZE that finally took the One-Design Division win.  For more Mount Gay Rum Barbados series sailing information