Camper & Nicholson’s Race Series / Grenada Sailing Week January 31-Feb 5

When you almost lose something, you realize how much it means to you. This was the case with this cancelled and reborn Grenada keelboat regatta. Many previous sponsors and a loyal core of sailors such as Sandy Mair on Cricket from Antigua and Jerry Stewart on Bloody Mary from Carriacou, participants in the Grenada Sailing Festival over the past 20 years, came to the newly formed Grenada Sailing Week with a sense of rescue, knowing how difficult it is to resuscitate an event once it off the racing circuit calendar. In addition to the familiar faces there were also new boats, new sponsors, new courses and new ideas for entertainment, adding energy and enthusiasm to the event, which drew 29 entries from Antigua, Austria, Barbados, Canada, Carriacou, Grenada, Norway, St Lucia, Trinidad, the UK and the USA.

In Racing Class competition was tight with 1st placed Slippery, the well-oiled racing machine from Trinidad skippered by Peter Peake, only 1 point ahead of the next 2 boats, which, with identical scores, were only divided by the number of 1st places they took. 2nd was Lost Horizon from Antigua, skippered by skilled veteran racer James Dobbs and 3rd was Grenada’s smaller, but potent Category Five, skippered by Richard Szyjan, whose passion and commitment initiated the formation of the Grenada Sailing Week.

Cruising Class 1 was dominated by Jaguar from Trinidad, whose skipper Peter Morris and his immaculately prepared boat and crew have repeatedly done well in Grenada. Their nearest challenge came from 2nd placed Rapajam from Barbados, skippered by experienced Ralph Johnson and his spirited crew. 3rd was Eagles Wings from the USA, skipper Hal Slentz-Whalen.

In Cruising Class 2 thirteen boats battled for advantage with positions changing regularly. Exhilarating wind and bouncy seas on the first day of racing off the southern coast saw some gear failure, but lighter breeze and calmer water on the western coast during the following days favored the smaller boats.  Grenada’s keenly competitive J24 Die Hard skippered by Robbie Yearwood and his intrepid crew was 1st, followed by Rasmus, 2nd; a Swan 33 from Austria whose performance defies her age, skippered by Dieter Huppenkothen. 3rd was J24 Loose Cannon, whose skipper Edgar Roe sailed his small boat all the way down from St Lucia.

In the Fun Class 1st was Ravi, an Oceanis 45 from Norway, skipper Harold Horjen, followed by the diminutive modified Laser X Strato from Grenada, skipper Mark Solomon. Patronus, a Beneteau 473 from the USA was 3rd, skippered by Christopher Conway, with a bunch of young children on board.

Old and young, international and local sailors and supporters, all enjoyed the after race entertainment at the Victory Bar and Restaurant in Port Louis Marina, which provided an ideal regatta base. Pirate and Face Paint Parties, Red Caps and Old Rum, tourist train rides to Grand Anse beach on Lay Day, unusual trophies and charismatic board chairman Marc DeCaul as master of ceremonies, all added to the success of the event.

The Grenada Sailing Week organizing team thanks all competitors and sponsors who gave their support to this 2013 GSW edition, especially main sponsor Camper & Nicholsons, host venue Port Louis Marina and Race Day sponsors Mount Gay Rum, Sea Hawk Paints and Island Water World.

Images courtesy of Tim Wright.

Photos left to right:  Slippery; Jaguar; Slippery crew