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“A fabulous weekend!” declares Minister of Tourism

“A fabulous weekend!” declares Minister of Tourism

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The Bequia Sailing Club’s 33rd Bequia Easter Regatta came to a successful close on Monday April 21 with the Grand Prize-giving at Gingerbread Hotel, with a total of 43 yachts and 28 local double-enders having registered to take part in Bequia’s world-famous sporting and tourism event.{{more}} Winds were high and conditions were blustery and challenging, but this could not dampen the spirits of the 70-plus boat fleet as they raced with superb skill throughout the four days of competition.

In his opening address at the Grand Prize-giving, Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture Cecil McKie welcomed the large crowd of visiting yachtsmen, double-ender racers and their friends and followers, and congratulated the Bequia Sailing Club on their continued success in producing such a well-run series of events on the water. “It was a fabulous weekend, with tremendous crowds and a wonderful atmosphere,” said Minister McKie. “I encourage everyone to be “inVincyable” for Easter Regatta 2015 and to enjoy the activities both on and off the water!” Much to the delight of the visiting crews, the Minister then presented all the Overall Prizes, Special Awards, and Consolation Prizes in the yacht division, including the prestigious J24 Southern Caribbean Trophy.

Sir James Mitchell, founder of the Bequia Sailing Club, also addressed the audience, thanking the all-volunteer Bequia Sailing Club for their dedication in putting on the regatta each and every year, and for providing the unique focus to the Easter weekend. MP for the Northern Grenadines Godwin Friday assisted in handing out the awards to the double-ender competitors from Bequia and throughout the Grenadines.

The 28-boat local double-ender fleet that took part in the three-race series over the Easter weekend (two Hairoun Challenges and a Mount Gay Challenge) came mostly from Bequia, but also included four boats from Canouan, one from Mayreau and one from Carriacou. Among the Bequia boats there were no less than six competing, with talented young Bequia sailors as crew. There’s clearly a whole new generation of sailors ready to take on the challenge of Bequia Regatta for years to come!

The overall winner of the prestigious Bank of SVG Trophy in the hotly contested 28-foot Class 7 was Skyler from Carriacou who also received a magnificent fishing rod and reel donated by Action Bequia. The other overall winners were: Class I, Wag Service Station Trophy – O Connie, ( Evan John); Class 2, RBTT Trophy – My Way, (Mike Marks); Class 4, Mountain Top Spring Water Trophy – Ark Royal (Javin Morgan); Class 5, Caribbean Woods Trophy – Nerissa J 1, Matthew McLaurean; Class 6, Sandrock Trophy – Eclipse, (Kimani James).

The yacht side of the regatta was officiated for the 15th year running by principal race officer James Benoit from Grenada, working alongside the Bequia Sailing Club Race Committee. The high, gusting winds led to several yachts incurring damage during the weekend, but in true Bequia Regatta spirit, assistance was swiftly offered by several local Bequia boats, and both yachts and crew were safely rescued.

When the races were over, the nightly prize-givings and parties hosted by the Bequia Sailing Club, Platinum Sponsors Hairoun, Gold Sponsors Mount Gay Rum and Bronze Sponsors Mountain Top Water, kept spirits refreshed and camaraderie at its usual high level.

Good Friday’s full day of yacht races was sponsored by Gold Sponsors Mount Gay Rum, and prizes for the day’s races were presented by Sabrina Mitchell, managing director of Vintages Ltd, agents for Mount Gay Rum in the Grenadines, at the Frangipani Hotel Race Headquarters.

Silver Regatta sponsors United Insurance lent their name to the J24 three-race series on Saturday, with the United Insurance Challenge Trophy going to Mount Gay Scotia Bank Bunga Bunga. from Barbados, skippered by Charlie Gloumeau. Mount Gay Scotia Bank Bunga Bunga also was the Overall Winner of the J24 Class in Bequia, thereby also taking the J24 Southern Caribbean’s Champion Trophy for 2014.

Overall winners in the other four classes were Racing Class: Eliott et Compagnie (Frederick Dutheil, France); Cruising I: Rasmus (Dieter Huppenkothen, Austria); Cruising II: Leonora, (David Spieler, Barbados) and Surprise: Clippers Ship (Nicolas Poix, Martinique).

But it wasn’t only competing boats that thronged the harbour in Admiralty Bay. Over 120 additional power and sailing yachts came to Bequia to see the legendary local boat races, follow the yacht races or simply enjoy being in Bequia at Easter. On Lay Day Sunday, regatta sponsors Bequia Beach Hotel hosted the Bequia Sailing Club’s Sandcastle competition on the beach at 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 Platinum Sponsors Hairoun (St Vincent Brewery, Gold Sponsors Mount Gay Rum (Vintages, Bequia), Silver Sponsors United Insurance, Bronze Sponsors Mountain Top Water and the SVG Tourism Authority, Action Bequia, the Bequia Beach Hotel, the Frangipani Hotel, De Reef, Lower Bay, C. K. Greaves, Sandrock Bequia, WIP/French House, and Sugar Reef for their exceptionally generous support of this prestigious sporting and tourism event. Thanks also go to Customs and Immigration, SVG Coastguard, the Bequia Tourism Association, Kenmore Henville, Courtney Adams, numerous generous businesses in Bequia and St Vincent, loyal private donors, and all the volunteers within the Sailing Club who worked so hard to make Regatta 2014 another big success.

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