A highly competitive Regatta with a variety of party nights bought together sailors, visitors and residents of Jolly Harbour for an unparalleled weekend. Entries came from eighteen mixed class boats. The Olympic designed courses had been fine-tuned for more challenging racing, starting outside Five Islands Bay.
Image copyright Henry Trembecki
This year the spirited weather conditions bought an additional edge to the racing. The skippers and crew
needed all their skills and wits about them from start to finish. The events commenced Friday afternoon with
a fun race around existing marks to get a feel for the conditions. That evening the Yacht Club provided
delicious canapés to keep the hungry crews replete after the skippers briefing. Drinks were available at
Happy Hour prices all night and bonhomie was a plenty. A DJ was on hand for those late night revelers.
Saturday racing started early with most boats testing the waters by 9.00am, ready for a 10.00am start. Over
130 sailors took part in the exhilarating and grueling weather conditions and 30 knot wind gusts. Boats were
competing in three classes: racing, cruiser/racer and cruiser.
Racing class: El Ocaso, Liquid, Spirit, Island Girl, Regardless, Juakall;
Cruiser/Racer: Caribbean Alliance Blue Peter, Blue Fin, Huey Two, Belle du Large III, Ocean Harmony, Minerva; Cruiser Class: Imagine of Falmouth, Yess, LJ Winward, Seal, Full Monty, PIMS.
Image copyright Henry Trembecki
Day one consisted of four races around a course of three pillar marks, run from the Committee Boat and either Windward/Leeward or Triangle courses set. The wind picked up as the day advanced which had it effects on the sailing as there were only 6 boats of the 18 that were able to finish in the last race of the day. Sunday morning saw the Race Officer make a sensible decision to cancel the second day’s racing due to gusts exceeding 35 knots and waves of nearly a meter inshore giving those that finished all races in the first day the competitive advantage.
The Racing Class was very competitive with El Ocaso and Liquid, both J122’s, staying very close. El Ocaso, who is under new ownership, managed to have a slight advantage in the first two races with Liquid winning the third race. The final race of the day would be the deciding race. All boats started off well in final race of the day but only El Ocaso managed to finish the race giving them the first place win with Liquid in second. Spirit, a Cork 1720 and the only all kids team from the Antigua National Sailing Academy, came in third in the class and will be remembered for doing the broach of the weekend. Caribbean Alliance Blue Peter, a J30 being very comfortable in its home racing ground, came in first in the Cruiser/Racer Class winning 3 out of the 4 races. Blue Fin came in second despite not finishing the last race due to an injury onboard. Huey Two, finishing all four races, ended with the same amount of points as Blue Fin but still came in third with Blue Fin winning the tiebreak with most amounts of 1st and 2nd places won. Clear winner in the Cruiser Class was Seal, coming in first in 3 of the 4 races. Full Monty came in second and Imagine of Falmouth scored third place.
Entertainment Saturday night made the people in the Jolly Harbour square hop as “The Rift”, a cool local band, performed. Sunday evening crew and spectators grooved to the sultry Cuban Group “The Tobacco Band” at the Westpoint Bar. Despite the weather cancelling the last day of racing, the atmosphere and revelry following the Prize Giving was second to none. His Excellency, Governor General Sir Rodney Williams KGN, GCMG, presented the prizes and in his speech he praised the organizers, sponsors and the participants for entering the challenging regatta, sailing being a key part of Antigua’s tourist industry.
In image: Sir Rodney Williams, KGN, GCMG presents First Prize to Caribbean Alliance Blue Peter, Cruiser/Racer Class
Save the date for 2019 as the Valentine’s Regatta will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday 08, 09 and 10 February 2019.