Gusts topping 30kts test skills to the limit on second day of The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2014
Day two of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series produced big winds and big waves, which made for spectacular sailing. The biggest excitement of the day was in the first race for J/24s when gusts up to 30kts hit racecourse causing half the fleet to fall like dominos. Thankfully there was no serious damage and most of the fleet was soon on track again to complete a second race in slightly less gusty conditions.
After the first short beat in Carlisle Bay in race one, the fleet sailed round Needhams Point on a two mile beat to a mark along the south coast. Initial leader Team Sugar Beach Attitude from St Lucia sailed a good couple of legs but on the shifty beat to Tapas, Banks Esperanza (Ian Mayers and team) sailed well, improving their position from sixth to first at the windward mark.
Swift mark roundings and kite hoists saw the fleet head off on a sleigh ride downwind in the constantly building breeze. Team Banks Esperanza continued to sail well and took advantage of their position in clear air at the front of the fleet while behind, fun and games were in full flow with boats broaching all over the course.
1 and 2 - J/24 Island Water World Die Hard crew struggle to right
the boat after a capsize in today’s windy race.
The worst capsize of the day was Robbie Yearwood’s Island Water World Die Hard which remained over on her side for nearly five minutes while the crew struggled to right her. Although there were thankfully no crew injuries she lost a shroud cap and had to be towed in by the Coastguard.
Yearwood commented: “We were doing 13kts of boat speed in over 25kts, sailing by the lee towards the mark. There was another boat to leeward of us also sailing by the lee so we had to sail above the mark to avoid a collision. Consequently we were forced to gybe and because I pointed up to high after the gybe we capsized. She took ages to right because the spinnaker got tangled in the shroud.”
Had their been a prize for the best seamanship for the day however, Robert Povey on Hawkeye who made a wise decision to drop the kite just before the gust hit would definitely have been on the short list. Their prudence paid off too, because they then went on to secure second place behind Banks Esperanza in that race, and took first place in the second race of the day with Banks Esperanza in second. This leaves Banks Esperanza in the overnight lead with seven points over Impulse in second with 11 points, and Hawkeye in third with 16 points.
Elsewhere on the racecourse today, fleet battles emerged creating no shortage of interest particularly in Racing Class where a dispute about some boats not sailing the correct course led to protest. The outcome resulted in a two-minute time penalty added to finish times of Rapajam and Spirit of Venus, however, this did little to affect Rapajam’s overall first place result. In second place was the British Reichel Pugh 78 – Idea, and in third, the British registered J/105 – Whistler.
Peter Lewis and team on the J/105 Whistler enjoyed a tough day on the racecourse to
take third place which leaves them in third place overall after two days.
Peter Lewis, skipper of Whistler, commenting on today’s racing, said: “We had excellent conditions and we sailed well as a team. We touched about 14kts of boat speed in 25kts of wind so our spinnaker runs added excitement to an already great day. We were also pleased to be one of the teams to sail the correct course.”
After a tough day on the water crews enjoyed the full Barbadian hospitality at Barbados Cruising Club and the Barbados Yacht Club.
Coastal racing continues tomorrow with courses set on the south coast to take full advantage of the strong breeze and big rolling waves that Barbados is noted for.
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 Kennedy) 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 on 21 January. The 300-mile Ocean Race from Barbados to Antigua starts on 24 January.