Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet at the glitzy Beach House, St James last night to mark the conclusion of the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2017.
The event prizegiving not only celebrated the success of the competitors in this fun yet competitive week-long regatta, but also provided the opportunity to pay tribute to the organisers Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, and the race committee who worked tirelessly to ensure the event ran smoothly.
The Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, which incorporates three days of coastal racing and headline event – the Round Barbados Race – is the opening event of the season on the Caribbean race circuit. It offers teams not only a chance to enjoy spectacular sailing on a race circuit with uninterrupted winds, but also a chance to win their skipper’s weight in rum if any of the 16 records are broken. Not surprisingly, it has become a popular early season choice for racing sailors keen to sharpen their Caribbean race circuit skills both on and off the water.
Those who took part in the Coastal Series were treated to three days of competitive racing in four divisions including CSA Racing, Non CSA, Multihull, and International Moth/Windsurfer. The courses, set just off the beach in Carlisle Bay, took the fleet on a grand tour of the west and south coast. Good, uninterrupted breezes and spectacular scenery added to the regatta’s charm, as did the warm onshore Bajan hospitality.
The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, which traditionally takes place on a public holiday to celebrate Errol Barrow Day, (the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and ‘father of independence) saw 50 per cent increase in entries this year, which is a huge boost and a good indication the event is now gaining the support it deserves.
The star of the show at last night’s prizegiving was undoubtedly Andreas Berg, the German sailor who was the sole record-breaker this year. Berg, who sailed solo around Barbados in his Dufour 44 – Luna – managed to trim an impressive one hour, 39 minutes and 11 seconds off the Singlehanded Record and set a new eight hours, seven minutes, 31 seconds benchmark. Berg, who sailed to the Caribbean for the race season, was delighted to receive 88kg worth of Mount Gay Rum. “This is my first time here in Barbados. I never expected to be heading to my next regatta with extra weight on board. I definitely need to shift a bit before the next race!”
Although only one record was broken this year, in comparison to the 2016 event, where winds topped 28+kts and a total of five records were smashed, awards were presented to two teams who established new records for the future. The most significant was Andy Budgen who sailed 60nm around the Island his Mach 2 foiling International Moth Nano Project in four hours, 23 minutes, 18 seconds, to established the Absolute Foiling Monohull record.
Bryn Palmer – commodore of the Barbados Cruising Club – and Evan Walker on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet took the award for establishing a new Multihull Doublehanded record.
Although the prizegiving party signaled the end of the Coastal Series and Round Barbados Race, some teams are now preparing for the Antigua Ocean Race – the 265nm feeder race – that starts tomorrow (Tuesday 24 January).
by Sue Pelling