by Louay Habib
At the Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014 official prize giving if the smiles and laughter is the measure of a successful regatta, then the 2014 edition was a massive success.
Mike Drummond (NZL) A-class catamaran Nationals Takapuna February 8, 2014
Hundreds of sailors from all over the Caribbean, and indeed from all over the world, enjoyed racing in a variety of conditions. Grenada Sailing Week is all about fun and the regatta is a blend of glorious Caribbean weather, race courses designed to show off the spectacular vistas of Grenada and great parties after sailing.
This year the regatta committee's mantra was - Spice it Up! Diverse courses provide some high-octane racing action and every night was party night at some of Grenada's best loved venues. Grenada Sailing Week was hosted by Port Louis Marina, Le Phare Bleu Marina and Prickly Bay Marina. On the water, 14 race courses ranging from tight windward-leeward to stunning coastal navigations tested the teams’ right through every sail on the boat and every conceivable manoeuvre.
The Fun Class is designed for entries that don't fly spinnakers, that need fewer crew and have a more relaxed approach to racing. Christian Nelias' Baltic 42, Tropical was the victor. With a clean sweep of eight straight wins the French team from St. Tropez had the best score of any boat competing at the regatta, but the boat of the week was awarded to Peter Morris' Frers 43, Jaguar from Trinidad.
Jaguar was racing in an exceptionally competitive CSA Cruising 1 division and had an epic battle with Bluewater Sailing's Chao Lay, skippered by Alex Johnstone and Canadian entry, Scott Watson's Boxxer. The class winner was decided in the very last race, which Jaguar won to take the title. Boxxer and Chao Lay tied on points, but Chao Lay's second in the last race gave the Grenadian team runner up in class.
'Grenada Sailing Week is a fabulous regatta.' commented Jaguar's skipper Peter Morris. 'It is the first event of the season for us and from here we head north to take part in more. The Jaguar team is all good sailors, but we don't have any professionals. We are good friends who love to sail and Grenada Sailing Week provides great racing and a fabulous atmosphere ashore. Close racing and bonhomie with everyone involved makes a perfect event and winning the best performing yacht overall prize was a very special moment for all of us.'
The Blue Peter was the clear winner in the Classics division. The British cutter rigged sloop was dismasted in Antigua last year and it was great to see the beautiful classic back out on the race course and to see that skipper, Mathew Barker, has her going so well. With most days blessed with good winds, The Blue Peter went like a witch upwind.
Stuart Armstrong's vintage British Ketch, Desiderata was second with Grenadian Danny Donelan's Carriacou Sloop, Savvy third.
In true Grenadian style, Danny invited many crew onto Savvy to enjoy the regatta, including Peter and Scott who had travelled all the way from the remote Scottish, Shetland Islands. 'We have had a fantastic time in Grenada', smiled Peter. 'Many thanks to Danny for his hospitality. Like Grenadians, we also come from an island and although our weather can be rough at times, we have the same spirit in The Shetlands and that has been delightful to experience here in Grenada.'
Apero & Island Water World Die Hard dice it out - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014
In CSA Cruising 2, a tremendous battle developed between two Grenadian entries, Robbie Yearwood's J/24, IWW Die Hard and Jason Fletcher's Albin Stratus 36, Apero. IWW Die Hard was two points off the lead going into the last race, but Yearwood's team sailed a cracking final race to take the class title.
In the CSA Racing division Mark Chapman's RP37, Dingo was unstoppable, winning the division with a race to spare. Richard Szyjan's cool-looking, modified Hobie 33, Category five was second with Antigua's Bernie Evan Wong, racing Hi Tension in third.
Grenada Sailing Week is dedicated to great racing but without doubt the event is also about having fun ashore. Port Louis Marina's opening party was sensational, Le Phare Bleu Marina Pirate Party was a roaring success. Both venues provided excellent service and wonderful locations that any regatta would be proud of.
The prize giving ceremony at Prickly Bay Marina was a truly memorable occasion attended by the Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel, Minister for tourism, civil aviation and culture who said. 'Sailing is a very important part of the culture of Grenada and we welcome visiting sailors with open arms.'Grenada Sailing Week showcases the beautiful sailing condition in Grenada and I am especially glad to hear that many of our visitors have also enjoyed cruising to Carriacou and Petite Martinique, as well as the main island of Grenada.'
After the awards ceremony, a mass steel band, provided by First Dimension and positioned all around the dance area played joyful and highly professional tunes. It wasn't long before the dance floor was full of revellers but there was even more to come. A breath-taking fire dance troop was followed by the full complement of the Tivoli Drummers, who burst into action and the beat was intoxicating. Sailors were encouraged to join in with the group and limbo dancing and a conga really got the party going.
The skies above Prickly Bay lit up with a spectacular firework display and then Barracuda and his band turned up the volume with rock and roll numbers and despite five days of intensive racing, the party went on until the small hours.
Grenada Sailing Week would like to thank sponsors Island Water World, Mount Gay Rum, Sea Hawk Premium Yacht Finishes, Grenada Tourism Authority, Mount Cinnamon - Peter de Savary and Dream Yacht Charter, as well as many others who supported the second edition of this event.
The 2015 edition of Grenada Sailing Week will take place in early 2015, dates still to be confirmed.
Jaguar collects best performing yacht trophy - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014
Cruising 1 Start - Jaguar in foreground then Eagles Wings & Chao Lay - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014
Dingo powering along the coast with spinnaker - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014
Danny Donelan - Savvy's pirate captain - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2014
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