Mount Gay Round Barbados Series ends with high spirits
Published on January 23rd, 2016
Bridgetown, Barbados (January 23, 2016): The 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, which incorporates three days of coastal racing and headline event – the Round Barbados Race – concluded last night with a spectacular prizegiving ceremony at The Beach House, St James on the east coast of the Island.
Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet to celebrate the success of not only the competitors who fought hard all week in the challenging conditions, but also the organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay – and the race committee who helped make the 80th anniversary event one to remember.
The standard of competition throughout the three-day Coastal Series, particularly in the J/24 fleet and the Multihull fleet was, once again, extremely high with results going right down to the wire. The most exciting race of the series, however, was undoubtedly The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.
This 60nm challenge, that traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow Day (21 January) to celebrate the birthday of the late Errol Walton Barrow, the island’s first Prime Minister and ‘father of independence’, attracted a strong fleet including two powerful MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson.
The racing was exciting right from the start, giving spectators, who’d turned up the join in the island’s celebrations, plenty of thrill particularly when the huge multihulls crossed the finish line at full tilt in Carlisle Bay just 12 seconds apart. Despite being seasoned speed sailors, some of those on board including Jonny Malbon, and Paul Larsen on MS Barbados Concise 10, and Brian Thompson on Phaedo3 confessed it was some of the most exciting racing they have ever experienced.
As well as MS Barbados Concise 10 who broke the Multihull record, there were four other records broken which meant that at last night’s prizegiving, there were cases and cases of Mount Gay Rum Extra Old presented to the winning skippers. At 96.2kgs, Dave Staples – skipper of the Williams Industries Inc. team on TP52, Conviction, – collected the biggest haul (10 cases) for breaking the 60ft and Under Monohull record.
MS Barbados Concise’s Ned Collier Wakefield at 87.7Kg was close behind, in terms of cases of rum, with an impressive nine cases to share among his team.
Although the prizegiving party signaled the end of the Coastal Series and Round Barbados Race, some teams are now preparing for the Antigua Ocean Race – the 265nm feeder race – that starts tomorrow (Sunday 23 January).
Among those taking part are Team Phaedo3. Lloyd Thornburg, co skipper, commented: “It has been a fantastic week here on Barbados and we plan to come back at some point, however, in the meantime we are making final preparations for tomorrow’s sprint to Antigua.”
Phaedo3 is likely to complete the 265nm course in eight or nine hours while some of the others, including Spirit of Juno and Juan Luis Serra Lalaurie’s 24m one-off Ocean Phoenix will take more like 24-30 hours.
Tony McBride, skipper of the Farr 65 charter yacht, Spirit of Juno, commented: “Having this race to Antigua is great because it adds a bit extra to the week for the guests. It took us about 38 hours to get here, upwind so downwind should be about 30. We turn around in a day in Antigua and then head down to Grenada for the next regatta.”
John Coveney, Principal Race Officer, commenting on the week and the conditions for the Antigua Ocean Race, said: “Overall it has been a fantastic week with much better wind conditions this year. We fitted in all the Coastal Series races including 11 of the 12-scheduled races for J/24s. The good Trade Wind conditions also helped to slaughter a few of the records in the Round Barbados Race.”
“The forecast for tomorrow is about 20kts from the east. It will be a beam reach with spinnakers between Guadeloupe and Antigua. For Phaedo, however, with the sort of speed they achieve, their apparent wind will always be on the nose, but they’ll get their quick, probably quicker than me flying on a Liat!” he added.
Report by Sue Pelling, Event Media
About the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series
The first recorded race round Barbados was in 1936 when five trading schooners (Sea Fox, Mona Marie, Marion B Wolfe, Lucille Smith and Rhode Island) took up the challenge. Sea Fox (Captain Lou Kenedy) was the overall winner with a time of 10 hours 20 minutes.
The original race was based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner. In an era where prices for cargo arriving ahead of rival ships commanded a massive premium, this was a lucrative race for captains.
The consolation prize of a barrel of Mount Gay Rum for the slowest yacht was discontinued several years later following the discovery that some competitors purposely stalled and remained out at sea for days to ensure they won the prize.
In 2012 The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race expanded to incorporate the Two Restaurants Race, which meant racing took place over two days. The idea proved such a success, it was decided to expand the event further in 2014, in line with most other Caribbean regattas, and run a series of coastal, round-the-buoy races including the Two Restaurants Race, and The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. The 300-mile Ocean Race from Barbados to Antigua at the end of the regatta was specifically designed to tie in with the start of the Superyacht Challenge in Antigua.