Round Barbados Race Series news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

J/24 squeezes it on tight reach in today’s second race - Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2014
Peter Marshall
I feel comfortable speaking for the entire Seattle sailing community in saying that we could all use a serious shot of sunshine and Vitamin D, given that we’re now roughly half-way through the worst of winter’s dark and dreary days. Are things snow-clad or scared by the frigid memories of the recent polar vortex, a la the Midwest or the East Coast? No—just constantly dark, damp, dark, cloudy, dark, and—with latitude of almost 48 degrees—our days are super short (and dark) near the winter solstice. Not that we’re complaining (although our ski season sure could be a lot better this year…), but I will admit that I start vividly daydreaming when I read reports from sun-soaked and wind-steeped events such as the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (January 15-23).

This dream-destination regatta features several days of round-the-buoy racing before the fleet takes on a 70-mile around-the-island race (Tuesday, January 21), as well as a 300-mile 'sprint' from Barbados to Antigua. According to reports, some 50 boats and several hundred sailors have descended on the small Caribbean island, where sailors have been finding plenty of breeze, as well as great on-the-water competition.

The J/24 class’ ten-strong entry list makes it the single largest class of boats, but the regatta also boasts an interesting mix of bigger monohulls and multi-hulls. Day Two saw 30-knot winds comb through the J/24 racecourse, allowing crews to experience firsthand lessons in 'righting moment'. According to reports, several boats capsized, but the worst capsize was suffered by Robbie Yearwood’s 'Island Water World Die Hard' crew, who spent some five minutes fighting to right their overturned J/24 before being towed ashore.

J/24 Island Water World Die Hard crew struggle to right the boat after a capsize in today’s windy race. - Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2014
Peter Marshall

'We were doing 13 knots of boat speed in over 25 knots [of air], sailing by the lee towards the mark,' reported Yearwood. 'There was another boat to leeward of us also sailing by the lee so we had to sail above the mark to avoid a collision. Consequently we were forced to gybe and because I pointed up too high after the gybe we capsized. She took ages to right because the spinnaker got tangled in the shroud.'

Fortunately for Yearwood and company, 'Island Water World Die Hard' is now back ashore; fortunately for sailors aboard other boats, Day Two’s breezy conditions made for some spectacular racing conditions. 'We had excellent conditions and we sailed well as a team,' said Peter Lewis, skipper of the J/105 'Whistler'. 'We touched about 14 knots of boat speed in 25 knots of wind so our spinnaker runs added excitement to an already great day.'

Peter Lewis and team on the J/105 Whistler enjoyed a tough day on the racecourse to take third place which leaves them in third place overall after two days. - Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2014
Peter Marshall

Get the full report from this windy-and-sunny Caribbean dream regatta, inside, and, if you live someplace dark, cold and (you guessed it!) dark during the winter, give some serious consideration to adding this regatta to your sailing plans for next winter.

And in America’s Cup news, British double-Olympic medalist Shirley Robertson and her CNN Mainsail crew spent some time DownUnder this December, talking with both Emirates Team New Zealand and Team Australia to get the latest scoop on AC35. Be sure to check out these episodes of CNN’s Mainsail program, inside this issue.

Tight spinnaker action - 2014 Australian 18ft Skiff Championships - Race 2

Also inside, get the latest updates from the Australian 18-foot Skiff Championship, the PWA World Tour and the Clipper Round the World Race. And finally, for One Design enthusiasts, be sure to check out the planned changes to the International Melges 32 Class Association’s 2014 racing year. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,