The fifth edition of the South Grenada Regatta (SGR) was like a family reunion with lots of laughter, teasing and fun.
What is needed to organise a regatta? Some would say a committee, racing boats, a few markers to race around, race officials, prizes, parties and sponsors. Sounds easy but the South Grenada Regatta, hosted by Le Phare Bleu Marina & Boutique Hotel, offers so much more. Why? The organising committee sees their regatta as a platform to promote sailing to everyone and not just for sailors.
The SGR 2013, started with a free Dinghy Concert on Wednesday 20th February, a floating musical concert on the water, offering free water taxis from Le Phare Bleu out to the floating bar and seating area. Musicians performed for about an hour from a tugboat. One rule the musicians had to follow is that they must play a song about Grenada. This song is performed twice so a video can be made and if you go on to the Internet and type in dinghy concert you will be able to see a selection of past concerts plus the one performed for the SGR, the 12th Dinghy Concert.
Anita Sutton, President of MAYAG (Marine and Yachting Association for Grenada) addressed the Dinghy Concert audience asking them to show support for the marine industry in Grenada. A collection passed around and $1029 was raised which will be put towards projects to enable easier clearance between Grenada and St Vincent & Grenadines, more emphasis on yachting safety and security and formal marine training for Grenadian technicians.
The Skippers briefing took place on Thursday 21st February, followed by a welcome party with a special pizza night offer at the Poolbar with DJ Leslie, again everyone was invited to join in and they did.
Friday and Sunday were the main Fleet Racing days offering two races each day and Saturday was reserved for the Match Race day.
North South Wines, Veuve Clicquot Trophy was the first race on the Friday with two categories – Cruising and Fun Class. The winds were light offering good sailing conditions. The category winners in order, Apero, Jason Fletcher and Category 6, Richard Szyjan. The overall winner winning the Verve Cliquot Trophy was Category 6.
The more challenging Westerhall Cup followed the first race again with two categories. Winners of each category were Bloody Mary, Jerry Stewart and Samadhi, Frank Pearce. Overall winner of the Westerhall Twelve Degrees Cup, Bloody Mary.
Saturday was dedicated to the Match Racing. The Moorings & Sunsail donated two 39ft Beneteau Charter Yachts, one marked with a blue flag and the other with a green flag. Eight teams battled against each other for the title of Match Race Overall Winner. Race Umpire, Neils Lund, watched the action to ensure all teams were racing by the rules. Match Racing is where two identical boats race against each other sailing the same course with different teams. The teams, with a maximum of 6 crew, were – Team Palm Tree Marine, Bloody Mary, Green Dragons, IWW Die Hard, Grenada Marine, Island Water World Posse, Sailing Underwater and Sailing School Grenada.
The competition was tight and spectators enjoyed watching the action from the floating regatta village, which offered delicious rotis and drinks. The weather conditions were mixed with light rain plus strong breezes one minute and sunshine with windless pockets the next, challenging conditions for some.
The final Match Race saw winning team Bloody Mary against the under dogs Sailing School Grenada battle it out for first and second place. The atmosphere was tight and everyone wished Sailing School Grenada, headed by Rene Froehlich, all the best as they left the floating regatta bar to be taken to their awaiting yacht and join the Bloody Mary team out on the water. Sailing School Grenada team put up a good fight but Bloody Mary crossed the finish line first.
During Saturday the Junior Sailing Regatta also took place with fourteen entries, six from St George’s and eight from Gouvaye. Various volunteers helped to set the course and place the markers. Nicholas George, Store Manager from Budget Marine, made sure that all was in order.
The prize giving for the Junior Sailing took place the following evening along with the final days fleet racing. There were two categories Mosquito and Optimist and, for the unfamiliar, these are types of sailing dinghies. Optimist – 3rd place Michael Derrick, 2nd place Ralph, Francis, 1st place Noah Bullen. Mosquito – 3rd place Shakeem Robertson, 2nd place Kazim James, 1st place Kevi James. Each Junior Sailor was presented with a certificate and each placed Junior with a trophy and framed certificate.
On Sunday the wind had picked up offering challenging conditions. All the boats left Le Phare Bleu Marina to make their way to Clarkes Court Bay for the start of the Netherlands Insurance Cup, the first time Netherlands have offered a cup. Again two categories – Cruising and Fun. The category winners were Island Water World Die Hard, Robbie Yearwood and Samadhi, Frank Pearce. An additional race was offered on the last day being the Island Water World Cup another first time cup sponsor. Apero, Jason Fletcher won the cruising class and Samadhi, Frank Pearce won the fun class.
The overall winner of the South Grenada Regatta 2013 was Jason Fletcher with Apero.
James Benoit, Race Officer and also a member of the SGR Committee, had a big task on his hands making sure all the races ran smoothly. All went well but they did have a protest from one boat unusually protesting all other boats in the fleet. A little while before the prize giving all skippers were asked to attend the protest putting the prize giving proceedings on hold. The protest office was packed with most of the skippers attending and the volume was high. The Protest Jury declined the protest and all was well again. James was thanked for all his efforts and presented with a gift on behalf of the SGR Committee.
The entertainment every night offered a great range of talent, The Rocky Pontoons with special guests Keturah George and Doc Adams had the dance floor packed. The Wizards also did a great job before the Grenada Royal Police Force Band entertained the crowd for the last night of the event.
The committee will start planning soon for 2014 regatta but are taking a well deserved break to reflect on the event. They will tell you that organizing a regatta is much more then just attracting racing boats, placing a few markers to race around, inviting race officials, selecting prizes, arranging parties and approaching sponsors. Thank you to Dieter Burkhalter, Shawn Jardine, Daniela Froehlich, Jo-Anne Hypolite-Peters, Damon Dubois, James Benoit and Lynn Fletcher for all your hard work and commitment.
Well done to all those who helped organise, volunteered, took part and came to watch. A special thanks has to go out to all the Sponsors of the event – Westerhall Estate Ltd, North South Wines, Netherlands Insurance, Island Water World, Real Value IGA Supermarket, Le Phare Bleu Marina & Boutique Hotel, The Moorings & Sunsail, Grenada Board of Tourism, Turbulence Rigging and Sail Makers, Budget Marine, Carib, Wiremans House & ACDC, Sailing School Grenada, First Caribbean International Bank, Palm Tree Marine, Canvas Shop, Island Dreams Yacht Services, Grenada Chiropractic, Underwater Solutions, Modone and SOL Petroleum.
The SGR took place 20th to 24th February 2013. For further information please visit www.southgrenadaregatta.com
Photo below: Blanquilla leads around Glover Island. Photo: Steve Brett