The concluding races of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Coastal Series took place today. Although the conditions were unusually light and fluky, the racing was intense in all classes with most fighting it out for overall honours right to the bitter end.
The only exception was the J/24 class, which saw Robert Povey and his local hotshot team on Hawkeye walk away with the winning title with a race to spare.
Interestingly, Team Hawkeye who went into the final day’s racing with an impressive 1,1,1,2,2,2 scoreline had a disastrous day. They were slow off the start at the pin-end in the first race, and found themselves stuck on the wrong side of the beat. They ended that race in eighth place, while Neil Burke and team on Republic Bank Impulse, pulled through early leaders, Robbie Yearwood and team on Die Hard, to finish first. Die Hard was second.
The start of the second J/24 race of the day, in extremely light airs, produced the first individual recalls of the series, one of which was Hawkeye. She retired while the rest of the fleet struggled round the course. The race to decide second overall became intense but it was the team on College Funds who managed to sail well in the light airs to score their second win of the series.
Chatting about his overall win and the change of tempo in today’s racing, Povey commented: “We are absolutely delighted, particularly at not having to sail the last race, which turned out to be long and windless. In the first race we had a poor start and decided to head right where we thought the pressure would come in. Everyone who went left was on a headed course and was also in down pressure. We thought we had made a great decision but those on the inside got a huge left shift. It was a gamble and we lost and there were no real passing lanes from there on. We also softened the rig in that race but we couldn’t point so well, which didn’t help matters.”
The remaining classes were sent on the same course, which took them once round Carlisle Bay and then on a long leg to Oistins along the south coast of the island. Many struggled in the light airs in the Bay but thankfully there was more pressure on the south coast and all fleets managed to complete the course within the time limit.
In CSA Racing Conviction – the local TP52 – sailed by Paul Johnson, Clint Brooks and team representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS), executed an impressive port-tack start and comfortably crossed the fleet and picked up a favourable shift on the approach to the windward mark. They had a three-and-a-half minute lead at the first mark but unfortunately for Team Conviction, they managed to find windless hole on the leg out to sea and watched the fleet sail past, which didn’t help their cause. They eventually finished second to Lancelot II – from Southampton, the Britannia Corporate Beneteau First 40 charter yacht sailed by Chris Jackson and a team from Slovakia.
This team was also on form right from the start and managed to pull off another win to add to already impressive scoreline. They beat the TP52 by just one point to win the CSA Racing division. A delighted Jackson commenting on his win said: “It all came down to whoever won today, won overall, so we are delighted, particularly as we had a terrible start. We were late, and at the wrong end of the line, then had a poor beat. Luckily for us the wind died at the mark and then came in from the east just as we hoisted our kite.
“Then on the south coast we gained a lot by taking the shifts inshore, and that was probably the biggest turning point in the race for us.”
Going into today’s final race David Spieler and team on Leonora (Beneteau Oceanis 473) had the CSA Cruising class win sewn up but they were keen to repeat their winning performance once again and enjoy the long south coast race. Although there were only three in the class, the racing has been intense every day with Mike Krimholtz and team on Dragon Magic (Dufour), and Ian Hickling on Ten Seven (Catalina) each challenging for second place. Dragon Magic finished second again to secure second overall.
With just a few points between the six boats going into the final race, competition in the Non-CSA class was destined to be close today. Richard Inniss and team on Other Business (Beneteau Idylle 51) and Bruce Robinson’s Mandy (Hunter 30) were each on 14pts, while Jonathan and Tara Gittens on Shangri’La (Morgan 41) were lying third with 15pts. Like all classes, they suffered in the light airs at the start but Inniss and his team on Other Business read the fluky winds well and took another race win, which was enough to win the class overall. Mandy was second, and second overall.
The jubilant winner of the multihull/mixed dinghy/windsurfer fleet today was Andy Budgen on his foiling International Moth – Nano Project. Budgen who hadn’t managed to finish a race until today, reveled in the light airs and within minutes of the start was halfway up the beat. Needless to say, he maintained control/speed and managed to beat Bryn Palmer on the RC30 – Silver Bullet.
The overall winner of the fleet however, was the consistent Danny Paraviccino and his three-man team on Buccaroo (Stiletto) who scored a first and two thirds. Charles Hunte, the lone windsurfer, retired today, but did enough to secure second overall in the series. Paraviccino commenting on his win, said: “It is fantastic to have won particularly as we spent about half an hour in a hole not going anywhere at one stage, then another half an hour at a standstill just before the finish so to finish third today day was great.”
After three days of challenging racing and lay day tomorrow, crews are making the most of the local hospitality tonight at both Barbados Cruising Club and Barbados Yacht Club. Lay day activities tomorrow include a Mount Gay Rum distillery tour at Brandons in the morning, and a specially laid on regatta exhibition polo match and party at Holders Polo Field, St James in the afternoon.
– Regatta Media