In a new initiative launched in this 175th Anniversary year of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Hamble-based Club have co-operated to offer the owner of the most consistent and successful yacht in the Club's four Summer Series Regattas, a prize trip to view the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race on 21st January 2013.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club 175th Anniversary ’’Champion of Champions’’ 2012 was named as Mike Holmes (Jika-Jika). Pictured left to right at last night’’s Prizegiving are: Jamie Holmes (crew), Petra Roach, Barbados Tourism Authority, Mike Holmes (owner/skipper) ’’Champion of Champions’’, Lynn Girling, Mango Bay Hotel Group and Ian Dobson (crew).
The winner and victor ludorum is Mike Holmes from Bath, Avon, who has sailed his J/97, Jika-Jika, meaning 'twist and turn' in Swahili, with his son Jamie, to a resounding series of 13 wins and two second place finishes out of 15 races, in the highly competitive IRC 3 class.
On receiving the news that he was to be crowned 'Champion of Champions' 2012, Mike was ecstatic: 'We are absolutely thrilled at winning this fabulous prize and especially excited about the prospect of competing in the Round Barbados Race. The Royal Southern's Summer Series is one of our favourite yachting events. We love the format, the Race Officers have been excellent, the racing has been highly competitive and sailed in testing conditions, ranging from the sporty in the early events to light and shifty in September.
'I should like to thank my crew; an amateur crew of friends with an average age of about 26 (excluding me) who have been together for three seasons in Jika-Jika and I think this is reflected in the consistency of our performance throughout this series.'
A member of the Royal Naval Sailing Association and Royal Yacht Squadron, Mike is an ex-submariner who started sailing in 1958, competing mainly offshore throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including the fateful 1979 edition, of several Fastnet Races. He took part in the 1977 World ¾ Ton Cup in La Rochelle and placed fourth in the 1978 World ¼ Ton Cup in Japan. He also competed in the inaugural double-handed 1981 Transat, taking first in class in his 30ft trimaran and was part of the winning crew in the 1988 and 1989 Three Peaks Race.
Many of Mike and Jamie's crew, largely ex-Southampton University alumni, have risen through the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) dinghy and keelboat programmes. Jamie and two other regular crew members sailed the RYA's Farr 45, John Merricks in the 2006 Round Britain and Ireland Race and, more recently, placed Jika-Jika second in class and the fifth double-hander in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet.
The 'Champion of Champions' announcement and presentation was made by Petra Roach, Vice President Marketing UK for the Barbados Tourism Authority, during the formal annual prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, on Saturday, 10th November.
Royal Southern website