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Bequia Easter Regatta a success!

Bequia Easter Regatta a success!


by J. Soso-Vincent 17.APR.09

The Grenadine island of Bequia, last weekend, bubbled with the activities of its annual Easter Regatta, which this year thumbed its nose at the global financial crisis by being, according to the organizing committee, the only regatta in the region to record an increase over its 2008 figure.{{more}}

Although many patrons were sad to see the Bequia Easter Regatta 2009 come to an end, they surely must be overjoyed that this year’s 10 per cent increase in yacht attendance has now given the Festival the accolade of “biggest meet for yachts in the entire southern Caribbean.” In a press release from the Bequia Sailing Club, the festival’s volunteer organizer, Secretary Nicola Redway declared: “Bequia regatta clearly has a winning formula with wide appeal!”

With the entire island caught up in the fever of things, the weekend of April 9 – 13 was chock filled with fun, skill, tradition and camaraderie. Events included yacht/boat races, a sand castle/sculpture competition, beach splash at Lower Bay beach, crazy craft race at Friendship beach, and a plethora of smaller events on Monday, April 13th at the harbour in Port Elizabeth. These comprised of maypole dancing, greasy pole climbing, local string bands performances, dominoes competitions, and laughing/crying competition, amongst others.

Along with mostly excellent weather, the Regatta brought in both international and regional visitors hailing from the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Martinique, Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica – undeniably a boost for Bequia’s tourism industry.

At the Gingerbread Hotel, Sir James Mitchell and Northern Grenadine representative Dr. Godwin Friday presented the winners of all the competitive events with prizes on Monday afternoon.

With 50 entries on the yacht side of the Regatta, they were divided into five classes with a new ‘Surprise’ category for the small vessels from Martinique. The results are as follows:

In the Cruise Class I category, first, second and third position were captured by Acadia, skippered by Burt Keenan; Petit Careme, skippered by Rawle Barrow; and Nirvana, skippered by Lloyd DeRoche, respectively.

In the Cruise Class II category the top three spots went to Appleseeds, skippered by Peter Asselstine (1st); Carina, skippered by Dave Baker (2nd); and Dionysus, skippered by Jack Burns (3rd).

In the Racing Class category, Caraïbes Gréement, skippered by Phillipe Leconte; Category 5, skippered by Richard Szyjan; and Sonadio III, skippered by Eric Baray, were awarded the top three positions, respectively.

In the J24 Class category, first, second and third were respectively taken by Esperanza, skippered by Ian Mayers; Fadeaway, skippered by Charlie Gloumeau; and Die Hard, skippered by Robbie Yearwood.

The Surprise Class category saw Padig, skippered by Vianney Saintenoy, take 1st prize, while Only, skippered by Nicolas Gillet; and Clippers Ship, skippered by Manu Velasquez, had to settle for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

There was also a Single-Handed CSA rated category, which again saw Only and Clippers Ship winning 1st and 2nd prize, respectively. Jabulani, skippered by Peter Hoad, took 3rd.

The Double-Ender (fishing boat) races were a first at Regatta, with seven classes. The winners are as follows: Class 1 – Knowledge, skipper Ryan Marks; Class 2 – My Love, skipper Stanley Harry; Class 4 – Liberty, skipper Jamien Bess; Class 5A – Irie, skipper David Taylor; Class 5B – More Worries, skipper Andy Mitchell, tied with Shamu, skipper Ekron Bunyan; Class 6 – Limbo, skipper Allick Daniel; and Class 7 – Lightning, skipper Benson Patrice.

The Bequia Sailing Club was extremely grateful to its main sponsors Heineken (St. Vincent Brewery), Mount Gay and Pepsi (Bottlers Ltd.), the Ministry of Tourism, Mountain Top Water, Tradewinds Cruise Club, the Frangipani Hotel, Windward Island Plantation and CK Greaves & Company. Describing their support as “exceptionally generous and loyal,” Secretary Nicola Redway expressed: “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 2009 another huge success.”

There were several independently organized events over the 4-day weekend, which included a beauty pageant at the Paget Farm Hard Court, and Heineken Country Dance Train Finals at De Reef Restaurant and Bar, Lower Bay.