Jan 10, 2016
Editor’s note - -It’s always lovely to look south when the temperature in Canada plummets, so to fuel your sunny thoughts we are including the report from this winter’s race in Barbados written by Sue Pelling, the event journalist .
Bridgetown, Barbados:With just four days to go before the start of the 2017 Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January), the festival atmosphere in Barbados is starting to rumble.
Overseas entries, including Tony Lawson’s record-breaking MOD70 – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield is already in Bridgetown preparing to defend the Absolute Multihull record the team broke last year in the event’s 80th anniversary year. They wowed the crowds in a thrilling finish that saw them complete the 60nm course just 12 seconds ahead of Phaedo3,co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson, with a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds. In doing so they won an impressive 54 bottles (nine cases) of Extra Old Mount Gay Rum.
Given the fact there is a total 14 established records up for grabs, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, if broken, this event is not only the ultimate choice for speed sailors seeking a spot of early season training for the forthcoming Caribbean season, but also is an ideal post-Christmas choice for sun seekers keen to escape the European winter climate.
Organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay – are currently in the process of welcoming a stream of visitors to Bridgetown’s new marina facilities. Those currently en route include the Austrian team onX41 Godspeed.
Other interesting entries lined up to have a crack at record-breaking times in the sprint round the island this year include thecustom 63ft Irens/Cabaret-designed high-performance multihull Paradox. Ocean Phoenix, the Custom Humphries 78,Maximizer, Farr 72, and Spirit of Juno, Farr 65 are also likely to produce some stiff competition. One of the most interesting entries to watch this year, in the hands of her new owner Roman Guerra, is Monster Project. This is the former Volvo Ocean Racer V070 that still holds the Absolute Monohull Mount Gay Round Barbados record.
In an effort to maintain the event’s tradition, which saw the first race in 1936 based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner round Barbados, there’s a strong classic revival this year. Among those taking part is Adix, the Arthur Holgate 65m. Also in the line-up are Tres Hombres, the 33m workingBrigantine,and the locally built 30.5m Schooner Ruth. Event regular Matt Barkerwill be gracing the waters off Bridgetown once again aboard his pretty Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter.
During the run-up to the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, competitors will enjoy a mix of serious and fun racing in the three-day Coastal Series, inthe constant 12-18 knot east to east-north-east trade winds that Bridgetown is known for. Those heading north, post event can enjoy a final 265nm Ocean PassageRace to Antigua to link up with the Superyacht Challenge.
As headline sponsor, Mount Gay is the theme behind most daily parties and social events including the legendary Red Cap party, a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, and an exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field, at Holetown, St James on lay day. New to the social schedule this year is a party Copacabana Beach Bar located just a few minutes stroll along the beach.
About the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series
The first recorded race round Barbados was in 1936 when five trading schooners (Sea Fox, Mona Marie, Marion B Wolfe, Lucille Smith and Rhode Island) took up the challenge. Sea Fox (Captain Lou Kenedy) was the overall winner with a time of 10 hours 20 minutes.
The original race was based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner. In an era where prices for cargo arriving ahead of rival ships commanded a massive premium, this was a lucrative race for captains.
The consolation prize of a barrel of Mount Gay Rum for the slowest yacht was discontinued several years later following the discovery that some competitors purposely stalled and remained out at sea for days to ensure they won the prize.
In 2012 The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race expanded to incorporate the Two Restaurants Race, which meant racing took place over two days. The idea proved such a success, it was decided to expand the event further in 2014, in line with most other Caribbean regattas, and run a series of coastal, round-the-buoy races including the Two Restaurants Race, and The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. The 265-mile Ocean Race from Barbados to Antigua at the end of the regatta was specifically designed to tie in with the start of the Superyacht Challenge in Antigua.