Bequia Easter Regatta 2011
Minister of Tourism the Hon. Saboto Caesar gave the opening address at the Grand Prize Giving of the Bequia Sailing Club’s 30th Anniversary Bequia Easter Regatta, last Monday.
A large crowd of competitors from the local double-ender fleet and from the yacht racing fleet gathered together in the gardens of the Gingerbread Hotel to hear the Minister congratulate the all-volunteer Bequia Sailing Club, on another hugely successful regatta, and to salute the work of its members and their contribution towards Tourism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
M.P. for the Northern Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Godwin Friday, and Bequia Sailing Club founder, Sir James Mitchell, joined with Minister Caesar in thanking all the visiting yachts for continuing to make Bequia the most popular regatta in the region, and congratulating all the winners and participants of both the local double-enders races and the yacht races for their demonstration of skill throughout the weekend.
The Double-Enders Challenge
Easter weekend saw a bigger-than-expected turnout in both the yacht and fishing boat fleets, much to the delight of the organisers. A total of 39 yachts and 28 local double enders turned out to race on a weekend of light but steady breezes and glorious sunshine. No less than eleven yachts come down from Martinique to attend what many attendees emphatically declared to be their favourite regatta of all. They were joined by boats from the UK, USA, Trinidad, Grenada, Carriacou, St. Vincent, Bequia, St. Lucia, Barbados Antigua and the USVI, all eager to take part in Bequia’s 30th anniversary Regatta.
Yachts Ahoy!The yacht side of the regatta was officiated for the twelfth year running by Principal Race Officer James Benoit from Grenada, working alongside the 7-person Bequia Sailing Club Race Committee. Two one-design Classes - one for the 25-foot French “Surprise” boats from Martinique, and the other for the popular J24 racing yachts - a Racing (spinnaker) Class and two Cruising Classes divided up the overall Yacht fleet.
New regatta sponsors, United Insurance, lent their name to the J24 three-race series on Saturday, with the United Insurance Trophy for that series going to Xpelair Fadeaway from Barbados, skippered by Charlie Gloumeau. The 9-entry J24 Class included boats from St. Vincent, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia, each competing fiercely throughout the regatta’s six specially designed races. When the final results were tallied, the two leading boats, Sumptin’s Happ’nin’ and Xpelair Fadeaway (both from Barbados) ended up tied on points, with Sumptin’s Happ’nin’ declared the Overall Winner of both the Bequia Regatta J24 Class and the J24 Southern Caribbean Championship 2011 after the application of the CSA tie-break rules.
Overall winners in the other four classes were Racing Class: Regis Guillemot Charters (Regis Guillemot, Martinique); Cruising I: Nirvana (Lloyd Deroche, Trinidad); Cruising II: No Fear, (Robin Smith, SVG) and Surprise: GFA Caraibes (Nicolas Gillet, Martinique).
Other Attractions and ExcitementBut it wasn’t only competing boats that thronged the harbour in Admiralty Bay. An estimated one hundred additional power and sailing yachts came to Bequia to see the legendary local boat races, to follow the yacht races or simply enjoy being in Bequia at Easter.
Easter Sunday saw big crowds from the mainland liming at the famous Easter Sunday beach splash in Lower Bay, while regatta sponsors Bequia Beach Hotel hosted the Regatta’s Sandcastle and Crazy Craft race in Friendship Bay, followed by live music and children’s entertainment.
The Regatta attracted large numbers of visitors to the island, and bars and restaurants enjoyed much welcomed brisk business at the end of a busy season. The Bequia Sailing Club came in for universally high praise for the overall organization and smooth running of the Regatta, and received many promises to return in 2012 in even greater numbers.
The Bequia Sailing Club would like to thank premier sponsors Heineken (St. Vincent Brewery) for their very generous increased support, the SVG Tourism Authority, main sponsors Mount Gay Rum (Bryden’s, St. Vincent), United Insurance, Mountain Top Water, Tradewinds Cruise Club, the Frangipani Hotel, Bequia Beach Hotel, De Reef, Windward Island Plantation and C. K. Greaves for their exceptionally generous and loyal support of this prestigious sporting and tourism event.
Thanks must also go to all business and private donors and all the volunteers within the Sailing Club who worked so hard to make Regatta 2011 another great success.
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(Photo credit: Wilfred Didier, courtesy Bequia Sailing Club.)