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High praises to Bequia Sailing Club for another successful Easter Regatta

High praises to Bequia Sailing Club for another  successful Easter Regatta

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The Bequia Sailing Club’s 31st Bequia Easter Regatta came in for universal praise last weekend as a total of 72 boats registered to take part in Bequia’s world famous sporting and tourism event.{{more}} Conditions were near perfect with light steady breezes and glorious sunshine. The large turnout this year and the number of visitors and following boats in Bequia guaranteed a bumper weekend for the island’s businesses, re-affirming the economic significance of the event to the island and its contribution towards the tourism product in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

A large crowd of competitors from both the local double-ender fleet and the yacht racing fleet joined Senator Elvis Charles, (representing Minister of Tourism Ces Mckie), Sir James Mitchell, founder of the Bequia Sailing Club, Deputy Director of Grenadine Affairs Herman Belmar and Northern Grenadines M.P. Dr. Godwin Friday, visitors and supporters at the gardens of the Gingerbread Hotel for the Regatta Grand Prize-giving. Loud cheers rang out for all the winners and runners up, many of whom took time to salute the all-volunteer Bequia Sailing Club and the regatta sponsors for yet another superbly run regatta overflowing with generous hospitality, and to thank the people of Bequia for the warmth of their welcome.

Excitement ran at fever pitch on Friday for the inaugural First Citizens Big Boat Challenge, as the sleek new 28 footer Black Berry took part in its maiden race. Owned by the community of La Pompe, built by a group of Bequia craftsmen led by boatbuilder Jarson Hazell and skippered by Orson Ollivierre, Black Berry drew huge crowds of onlookers wherever she raced. With ten entrants overall, Friday’s First Citizens Big Boat Challenge was won by Skyler from Carriacou, skippered by Verrol Compton.

The 30-boat local double-ender fleet that took part in the three race series over the Easter weekend (two Heineken Challenges and a Mount Gay Challenge) came mostly from Bequia, with two boats coming from Carriacou. Overall winner of Bank of SVG Trophy in the hotly contested 28-foot Class 7 was Bequia’s Confusion skippered by Wayne Gooding. The other overall winners were Wisdom (Class I, Mountain Top Water Trophy) My Love (Class II, Bequia Sailing Club Trophy), Tornado (Class VA, Admiralty Transport Trophy), More Worries, (Class VB, Bequia Express Trophy), and Ace Plus from Carriacou taking overall in Class VI with The Bequia Sailing Club Trophy).

The yacht side of the regatta was officiated for the thirteenth year running by Principal Race Officer James Benoit from Grenada, working along side the 7-person Bequia Sailing Club Race Committee. Two one-design Classes – one for the 25-foot French “Surprise” boats from Martinique, and the other for the popular J24 racing yachts – a Racing (spinnaker) Class and two Cruising Classes divided up the 42-boat yacht fleet.

No fewer than ten yachts made the long overnight journey down from Martinique to compete in what all emphatically declared to be their favourite regatta of all. They were joined by boats from the UK, USA, Netherlands, Austria, Trinidad, Grenada, Carriacou, St Vincent, Bequia, St Lucia, Barbados and Antigua, all eager to take part in the Bequia Heineken Easter Regatta 2012.

New Regatta Premier Sponsors First Citizens awarded unique teak trophies to the winners of Friday’s First Citizens Yacht Races and Big Boat Challenge, whilst winners of Sunday’s Heineken Single- handed Yacht Race and Monday’s Heineken Yacht Races all received additional prizes courtesy of Heineken.

Regatta sponsors United Insurance lent their name to the J24 three-race series on Saturday, with the United Insurance Challenge Trophy going to Fadeaway from Barbados, skippered by Charlie Gloumeau. The 9-entry J24 Class included boats from St Vincent, Barbados, Grenada and

St Lucia, each competing fiercely throughout the regatta’s six specially designed races. When the final results were tallied, it was Fadeaway that was the Overall Winner, thereby also taking the J24 Southern Caribbean’s Championship Trophy for 2012. St Vincent’s own Saltfish, skippered by Philip Barnard took a well earned second overall.

Overall winners in the other four classes were Racing Class: Regis Guillemot Charters (Regis Guillemot, Martinique); Cruising I: Rasmus (Dieter Huppenkothen, Austria); Cruising II: Bandos, (Dirk Gents, Netherlands) and Surprise: GFA Caraibes (Nicolas Gillet, Martinique), taking the honour for the second year running..

But it wasn’t only competing boats that thronged the harbour in Admiralty Bay. An estimated one hundred additional power and sailing yachts came to Bequia to see the legendary local boat races, to follow the yacht races or simply enjoy being in Bequia at Easter. On Lay Day Sunday, regatta sponsors Bequia Beach Hotel hosted the Regatta’s Sandcastle and Crazy Craft race in Friendship Bay, followed by a delightful afternoon of live music and children’s entertainment in the hotel’s gardens by the beach.

The Bequia Sailing Club would like to thank Headline Sponsor Heineken (St Vincent Brewery), Premier Sponsor First Citizens, the SVG Tourism Authority, and main sponsors Mount Gay Rum (Bryden’s, St Vincent), United Insurance, Mountain Top Water, the Frangipani Hotel, Bequia Beach Hotel, De Reef, Windward Island Plantation and C. K. Greaves 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 2012 another great success. A full list of donors will follow in a future edition.

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