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Bequia Easter Regatta 2015 – fast and furious competition!

Bequia Easter Regatta 2015 – fast and furious competition!

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The Bequia Sailing Club’s 34th Bequia Easter Regatta came to a successful close on Monday, April 6, with the Grand Prize-giving at Gingerbread Hotel, with a total of 29 yachts and 19 local double-enders having registered to take part in Bequia’s world-famous sporting and tourism event. Conditions were near perfect for the four days of racing, and competition was fierce and intense, with the outcome wide open across the board going into the last day of racing.{{more}}

In his opening address at the Grand Prize-giving, Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture Cecil McKie enthusiastically welcomed the assembled crowd of visiting yachtsmen, double-ender racers and their friends and followers, congratulated the Bequia Sailing Club on their continuing success in producing such a well-run event with such international appeal, and stressed the vital importance of yacht tourism to the nations’ tourism industry.

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 together the regatta each and every year, and for providing the unique focus to the Easter weekend. He also gave thanks to Orbin Ollivierre, the Bequia Sailing Club’s recently retired commodore, for his many long years of outstanding service, and congratulated Alo Raguette in stepping forward to take his place in the organization of the local double-ender races.

The 19-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 three boats from Canouan, and one from Petite Martinique. Amongst the Bequia boat crews, there were about 40 talented young Bequia sailors as crew, keen to follow in the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers. There’s clearly a whole new generation of sailors ready to take on the challenge of the Bequia Regatta for years to come.

There was a tie for Overall Winner of the prestigious Bank of SVG trophy in the hotly contested 28-foot Class 7 between Skyler from Petit Martinique, skippered by Hope Deroche, and Black Berry, skippered by Orson Ollivierre. It was proposed that the splendid trophy would stay six months in Bequia and six months in Petite Martinique to reflect the tied result on six points each. The other overall winners were: Class I, Wag Service Station Trophy – O Connie, (Evan John); Class 2, LIME Trophy – Bennita G (Royie Marks); Class 4, Mountain Top Spring Water Trophy – Y Knot (Orekay Joseph); Class 5, Caribbean Woods Trophy – Camille, (Javin Morgan); Class 6, Sandrock Trophy – Eclipse, (Kimani James).

The yacht side of the regatta was officiated for the sixteenth year running by principal race officer James Benoit from Grenada, working alongside the Bequia Sailing Club Race Committee. Regular competitors and “regatta rookies” were fulsome in their praise of the quality of the regatta and its organization, and for the “feel good” factor, which many commented was often missing from other Caribbean regattas.

When the races were over, the nightly prize-givings and parties, hosted by the Bequia Sailing Club and Platinum Sponsors Hairoun, Gold Sponsors Mount Gay Rum and Bronze Sponsors Mountain Top Water at the Frangipani Hotel and the Fig Tree, kept spirits refreshed and sailors partying long into the evening.

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 Class and Surprise Class three-race series on Saturday, with the United Insurance J24 Challenge Trophy going to Attitude from St Lucia, skippered by Frederick Sweeney, and the United Insurance Surprise Challenge Trophy going to Digilife from France (Martinique) skippered by Vianney Saintenoy, who also took the Overall Winner award in the Surprise Class for the three days of races.

The J24 Southern Caribbean Championship is also awarded annually in Bequia, decided by the Overall Winner of the Bequia Easter Regatta. This year the double crown went to Island Water World Die Hard from Grenada, skippered by Robbie Yearwood.

Overall winners in the other three classes were Racing Class: Regis Guilllemot Charter (Regis Guillemot, France); Cruising I: Palm Tree Marine (Mike Bingley, Grenada); and Cruising II: Zulu, (Eric Johnson, Nantucket USA).

But it wasn’t only competing boats that thronged the harbour in Admiralty Bay. Over 100 additional power and sailing yachts came from St Vincent and all over the region 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, major regatta sponsors Bequia Beach Hotel hosted the Bequia Sailing Club’s hugely popular Sandcastle Competition, sponsored this year by LIME, on the beach at Friendship Bay, followed by a delightful afternoon of 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) and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Silver Sponsors United Insurance and Sandrock Bequia, Bronze Sponsors Mountain Top Water, LIME and Action Bequia, the Bequia Beach Hotel, the Frangipani Hotel, De Reef, French House, and Sugar Reef, C K Greaves, and Edwin D Layne and Sons for their exceptionally generous support of Bequia’s prestigious sporting and tourism event. Special thanks go also to deputy director of Grenadine Affairs Herman Belmar and the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr the Hon Ralph Gonsalves for their invaluable assistance and intervention during yacht registration.

Thanks also go to Customs and Immigration, SVG Coastguard, the Bequia Tourism Association, 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 2015 another big success.

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