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Bequia Regatta smashes record for number of yachts

Bequia Regatta smashes record for number of yachts

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The Easter weekend saw another milestone for the Grenadine island of Bequia and its all-volunteer Sailing Club.{{more}}

Regatta 2009’s record entry was smashed once again this year with 53 yachts and 33 local double-enders registering to take part in the weekend’s racing. And just as in 2009, the record number of yachts entered makes Bequia the biggest meet for yachts in the entire Southern Caribbean for 2010 to date.

The Bequia Sailing Club clearly has produced a winning formula with yachts coming from Trinidad, Grenada, Carriacou, Bequia, St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, the USA, Canada and the UK, all eager to take part in the much-praised event.

The local double-enders that raced for three days over the Easter weekend came mostly from Bequia, but with seven from Canouan, two from Union and three from Carriacou completing the 33-boat fleet, the contribution from the other Grenadine islands was significant in producing a record breaking entry.

With Pepsi, Mount Gay and Heineken each sponsoring one of the three days of local boat racing, the Overall Winner in the 28-foot Class 7 was Lightning, built in Carriacou in 2009 for Petit Martinique-born Bequia resident Boysie Decouteau. The other overall winners were Knowledge (Class I), My Love (Class II), Unity from Union (Class IV), Tornado (Class VA), Shamu Class VB, and Limbo Dance (Class VI). Iron Duke, Bequia’s legendary New England-built whaleboat dating back to the 1870s, sped through the waters with her customary grace in Class VI and was never far behind Limbo Dance.

On the yacht side of the Regatta, there was a new one-design Class for the 25-foot French “Surprise” boats from Martinique. The other four yacht Classes were the existing one-design Class for J24s, the Racing (spinnaker) Class, and two Cruising Classes.

No fewer than sixteen J24s turned out to compete in their Class, producing yet another record for Bequia – this time for the largest ever meet of these very popular racing boats in the region. Hawkeye, skippered by Barbadian Robert Povey was the Overall Winner of Bequia Regatta’s 6-race J 24 series.

At the Grand Prize-giving at Gingerbread Hotel on Easter Monday, opened by Sir James Mitchell and attended by parliamentary representative Dr. Godwin Friday and Chief Operating Officer of the SVG Tourism Authority Faylene Findlay-Scrubb, Povey was also crowned first-ever J24 Southern Caribbean Champion by the newly-formed J24 Southern Caribbean Council.

Overall winners in the other four yacht classes were Racing Class: Category V (Grenada); Cruising I: Petit Careme (Trinidad); Cruising II: Trinity (USA) and Surprise: Clipper’s Ship decided on a whisker tie-break with Digilife, both from Martinque.

But it wasn’t only competing boats that crowded the harbour in Admiralty Bay. An estimated 100 additional yachts came to Bequia to see the traditional sprit-rigged local boat compete, follow the yachts races or simply enjoy being in Bequia at Easter. Regatta sponsors Bequia Beach Hotel provided a wonderful Lay Day of family entertainment on Easter Sunday, hosting the Regatta Sandcastle Competition, and entertaining a relaxed and happy crowd of all ages with the Bequia children’s steel pan orchestra and traditional string music. Elsewhere, crowds from both Bequia and the mainland headed for Lower Bay for the finish of Sunday’s Heineken fishing boat race and the popular Easter Sunday fete.

The Regatta attracted a record number of visitors to the island and accommodation was almost impossible to find in the days leading up to the event. The Bequia Sailing Club came in for universally high praise for its organization and smooth running of the Regatta, and received many promises to return in 2011!

The Regatta organisers would like to thank The SVG Ministry of Tourism for their increased contribution this year; main sponsors Heineken (St. Vincent Brewery), Mount Gay and Pepsi (Bottlers Ltd.), Mountain Top Water, Tradewinds Cruise Club, the Frangipani Hotel, Bequia Beach Hotel, De Reef, Windward Island Plantation and C. K. Greaves and Darnley Frederick for their exceptionally generous and loyal support of this prestigious sporting and tourism event. Thanks must also go to all business and private donors and all the volunteers within the Sailing Club who worked so hard to make Regatta 2010 another great success.

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