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White Jack Grenada Sailing Festival - Preview

by Louay Habib 30 Jan 2020 07:21 PST 1-2 February 2020

Boat building in the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique has been a tradition for over 200 years. Every year since 1994, the traditional workboat regatta has been held on the Spice Island of Grenada.

Title sponsor Westerhall Rums, in association with the Grenada Tourism Authority, support the regatta alongside generous sponsors supporters and friends.

Situated right on Grand Anse Beach, visitors to Grenada can not only witness the action but become part of the spirit and tradition of the Spice Island, cheering on the teams alongside their family and friends.

Grenada is a seafaring nation with a long history of sea trading, fishing and boat building and even today this tradition remains one of the strongest influences in the local culture. The friendly rivalry that has always existed between closely knit communities has often been expressed in competition amongst fisherman and their boat-builders to be the fastest or the best, developing into organized regattas taking place regularly over the years.

Sailors take part in the Westerhall White Jack Grenada Sailing Festival come from all over Grenada plus the sister Islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Communities with a strong sailing and boat building heritage race each other off the award winning Grand Anse Beach outside Grenada's capital St. Georges.

Traditionally the boats raced are 16 or 17 feet long, made from local hard woods and with masts of bamboo. Today boats are built specifically for racing and on average it takes four to six weeks to build a boat from scratch. On the Saturday of the festival, teams from each Grenadian community race each other to become their own community champion. In recent years, a new Woburn Class has been introduced to encourage the continued participation of young community sailors - the 'Young Guns' who wish to sail faster and harder.

On Sunday afternoon the winners of the community classes race against each other using the one design GSF 16s - the fleet of boats that Grenada Sailing Festival had built specifically for match racing. This fleet of boats is also used for the very popular National Team Sailing finals where each community nominates a junior and senior crew to race.

This is a very high-profile competitive end to the regatta and generates tremendous community support for the participating crews. The long-term commitment of the Grenada Sailing Festival continues to be the continuation of involvement in, and interest in Grenada's strong boat building and sailing heritage.

More information at facebook.com/WorkboatRegatta

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