altIn the 75th Anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race But Local Cuisine Makes Everyone a Winner!

Tell me what self-respecting Galley Guy could possibly (while on the beautiful island of Barbados) turn down an opportunity to tour the famous Mount Gay Rum Distillery? For sure, not this Galley Guy!

Sadly, the other Galley Guys, Andy Adams and John Armstrong who both lean a bit in the direction of diesel instead of wind power, and whose sailing skills are less than race-ready anyway, did not get the call. Putting a brave face on it, Adams claimed to be working on the west coast at the Vancouver International Boat Show while Armstrong had again slipped away to vacation somewhere in South America (or so he said).

Regardless, this Galley Guy was invited to compete in the 75th anniversary of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race that started in the days when working schooners competed to prove that they were the faster ship. Back then, the winner would have won the right to secure contracts to carry premium goods at a premium rate from Barbados to all corners of the globe. There is little doubt that much of this “precious cargo” contained casks from the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. I had to seize the opportunity!

This year, the Opening Party was sponsored by Mount Gay Rum, the After-race Party was sponsored by Mount Gay Rum, the Awards Banquet was sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. . . I think you get the picture!

The competitors were also invited to a private tour of the main tourist attraction on the island – the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Mount Gay is one of the oldest and best-respected rum distilleries in the world and its name is nearly synonymous with Barbados.

With 1,500 rum shops spread across a mere 167 square miles of island, the drink is an undeniable part of Bajan life. So an afternoon sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean, carefully studying the subtleties of this fine drink, was not only, let’s say enjoyable, but I believed it was this Galley Guy’s best way of exploring and understanding the Bajan culture.

Rum was also at the heart of the creation of the “Galley Guys”. I had a chance meeting several years ago with one ‘Ed Hamilton’. Ed, a former corporate exec from the USA, left the business world to spend some time on his sailboat in the Caribbean and he ended up writing what many consider to be the definitive book on island rums.

Now known as the “Minister of Rum”, Ed travels extensively to event tastings – special occasions where rum is being served. He educates, promotes and broadly smiles in his role as the ambassador for many of the leading rum distilleries in the world.

Our respect and admiration for Ed’s lifestyle was the “shot” that started the Galley Guys writing articles encouraging boaters to improve their onboard enjoyment and enthusiasm for entertaining friends with great food and drink. Ed, who created the “Minister of Rum”, has researched, studied and written about this wonderful drink for many years now and I encourage you to visit for a complete overview of the world of rum.

Rum also made it to the Toronto International Boat Show this year, at the first-ever Canadian Yachting Island Village. “The Village” was a new feature at the Toronto show designed to be a boater’s meeting place by capturing the warmth of the sun and the feeling of the tropics with palm trees, tikki huts, steel band music, spicy island food and of course, a cool rum drink. The “Village” was a huge hit and Mount Gay Rum was a big part of its success.

The year’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race was held on Errol Barrow Day, honouring the first Prime Minister that led Barbados to independence in 1966. Regarded as the “Father of the Nation”, Mr. Barrow was an avid sailor and founding member of the Barbados Cruising Club, as well as the host and organizer of the race.

This national holiday is celebrated everywhere on the island. The beaches are packed with picnics, parties, music and great food! For a special treat, our friend/driver, David, took us to the hottest spot. The Village of Oistin, located near St. Lawrence Gap on the south end of the island, is where you will find the island’s largest fish market. The daily catch is cleaned and filleted in an open market style.

Right next door is a large cluster of wooden buildings that serve the most incredible island food. We chose a stall called “George’s” named for its owner and cook – a man with a big, no…a huge smile. As I hope you can imagine, Oistin on Errol Barrow Day was packed. The music was large and everyone was moving in that laid back island easy groove way.

George’s grilled marlin, eaten on a picnic bench with plastic cutlery, will always be remembered as one of the greatest seafood meals that I have ever eaten. Friday Night at Oistin is a must when in Barbados!

Remember to drink responsibly on your boat this summer; drop the sails, turn the engine off, tie up and start entertaining with family and friends, and maybe enjoy a Mount Gay rum or two!


The Galley Guys

A Sailor's Tale

I almost forgot I was in Barbados to participate in the 75th Anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race! In a week of great experiences, here is my best story and it could only happen during the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race…

We were racing down the Atlantic side of Barbados in 20 knots of breeze, in 3 metre swells with a huge asymmetrical up.

Foredeck man and first mate Mark, in anticipation of a sail change, yelled back to Skipper Rory, “Where are we, Skip?”

Rory, a very knowledgeable and confident 22-year-old skipper who was both managing the wheel and a crew of 14 aboard an ocean racing Farr 65, and without much in the way of maps or navigation instruments at hand, and without hesitation, pointed his index finger to the bottom of the map of Barbados embroidered onto the brim of his Mount Gay hat and yelled back, “About here!”

Thumbs up! Keep racing!

The Barbados's Cutter Sandwich

One of Barbados’ great culinary treasures is a fish cutter (sandwich) at Cuz’s right next door to the Barbados Cruising Club in the beach parking lot. There is a constant line-up of locals, beach bums, taxi drivers, kids and tourists waiting their turn to order a marlin cutter. The sandwich consists of salt bread, lightly pan-seared blue marlin, tomato, lettuce and pickle, with an option of either a fried egg, or cheese. There are also a number of sauces: mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and, of course, Scotch bonnet that add to this outstanding treat.

As most Bajan breads are sweet, the cutter’s salt bread consists of a thin crust and a chewy interior. Inside, the juicy fish steak has a very light, peppery breading and wet flakes. If you choose the cheese, you get Anchor New Zealand Cheddar, the cheese found everywhere in local grocers'.

Don’t be shy about mixing fish and cheese as the meat isn't fishy and the thick slice of soft cheese pulls the bread and fish together. The cutter’s crunchy pickle and its vinegar is key to flavour and texture balance and the “make-you-sweat” Scotch bonnet sauce makes the Banks beer (or two) that you will need to finish your cutter seem like they were made for each other.

Mount Gay Rum Punch

19 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
1 oz. Angostura bitters
12 oz. Grenadine syru
4 oz. Lime juice
13 oz. Simple syru
1 tsp. Fresh nutmeg
18 oz. Water

Pour all ingredients into punch bowl and stir. Allow to rest for two hours. Serve over ice and garnish with cherry and orange twist.

Serves 8 or 4 who are very thirsty!

By Greg Nicoll