Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Valentine’s Regatta
A highly competitive Regatta with a variety of party nights bought together sailors, visitors and residents of Jolly Harbour for an unparalleled weekend. Entries came from eighteen mixed class boats. The Olympic designed courses had been fine-tuned for more challenging racing, starting outside Five Islands Bay.
This year the spirited weather conditions bought an additional edge to the racing. The skippers and crew needed all their skills and wits about them from start to finish. The events commenced Friday afternoon with a fun race around existing marks to get a feel for the conditions. That evening the Yacht Club provided delicious canapés to keep the hungry crews replete after the skippers briefing. Drinks were available at Happy Hour prices all night and bonhomie was a plenty. A DJ was on hand for those late night revellers.
Saturday racing started early with most boats testing the waters by 9.00am, ready for a 10.00am start. Over 130 sailors took part in the exhilarating and grueling weather conditions and 30 knot wind gusts. Boats were competing in three classes: racing, cruiser/racer and cruiser. Racing class: El Ocaso, Liquid, Spirit, Island Girl, Regardless, Juakall; Cruiser/Racer: Caribbean Alliance Blue Peter, Blue Fin, Huey Two, Belle du Large III, Ocean Harmony, Minerva; Cruiser Class: Imagine of Falmouth, Yess, LJ Winward, Seal, Full Monty, PIMS.
Day one consisted of four races around a course of three pillar marks, run from the Committee Boat and either Windward/Leeward or Triangle courses set.
Entertainment Saturday night made the people in the Jolly Harbour square hop as “The Rift”, a cool local band, performed. Sunday evening crew and spectators grooved to the sultry Cuban Group “The Tobacco Band” at the Westpoint Bar.
Sunday morning saw the Race Officer make a sensible decision to cancel the second day’s racing due to gusts exceeding 35 knots and waves of nearly a meter inshore.
Despite this, the atmosphere and revelry following the Prize Giving was second to none. His Excellency, Governor General Sir Rodney Williams KGN, GCMG, presented the prizes and in his speech he praised the organisers, sponsors and the participants for entering the challenging regatta, sailing being a key part of Antigua’s tourist industry.
1st El Ocaso
1st Caribbean Alliance Blue Peter
2nd Blue Fin
3rd Huey Two
2nd Full Monty
3rd Imagine of Falmouth
Major sponsors of the event were Budget Marine, Sea Hawk Premium Yacht Finishes & North Sails. Local shops around the Jolly Harbour Marina, restaurants and businesses from Jolly Harbour and the wider Antigua community donated prizes for the first three places in each class. Paradise Boat Sails donated the use of a Boston Whaler as a chase boat. Save the date for 2019 as the Valentine’s Regatta will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday 08, 09 and 10 February 2019.
by John King & Grahame Williams