There are celebrations in abundance from Gros Islet to Vieux Fort among the sailing fraternity.
That’s because the United Insurance Match-Racing Cup sailed out of Barbados for the land of the Pitons after team JCB of St. Lucia grabbed the highly coveted Cup yesterday with an outstanding win over defending champions Hawkeye in the finals of the J24 match-racing event in Carlisle Bay.
The St. Lucians, skippered by veteran Michael Green, emerged as the early challengers for the title on Day 1, winning six of seven preliminary races on Saturday, and continued their impressive run on Sunday.
Team JCB defeated Esperanza, skippered by Ian Mayers, in their semi-final while HawkEye, skippered by Robert Povey, defeated rival Impulse in the other semi-final.
“It was a good weekend for us. The competition was great and we were lucky with the weather,” said Green, who now lives in St. Lucia but previously represented Barbados in sailing at the Seoul Olympics.
Eight crews contested the United Insurance Match-Racing Cup which is organised by the J24 Club of Barbados and sailed on the Americas Cup format.
A major ocean-racing event for local and regional sailors, which sees J24 yachts going head-to-headwhile seeking to avoid penalties, the United Cup witnessed highly competitive racing on the first day where the judges were called on to decide the fourth semi-finalist. While Povey and Neil Burke led their crews to commanding performances, each winning five of seven races, ISIS, the 2010 champions skippered by Nicholas Lashley; Esperanza, skippered by Ian Mayers and Team Powerboat, a Trinidadian team skippered by Don Stollmeyer, were all locked on three points after the elimination races.
Following discussions and reviews, Esperanza advanced to the semi-finals and eventually finished fourth. They were defeated by Impulse in the sail-off for third place.
The United Match-Racing Cup was contested in challenging conditions, brought about by choppy seas and steady south-east winds of between 12 and 15 knots, and after two days ISIS was fifth overall; FadeAway (6th); Team Powerboat of Trinidad (7th) and Misfits, eighth.
After their great rivalry on the high seas in Barbados, action will switch to St. Lucia on the first weekend in December where Barbadian sailors will seek revenge against the St. Lucians in a new regatta called the Mango Bowl.
Five Barbadian boats are expected to take part in the December 1 and 2 event, a fleet-racing contest, which is attracting several other yachts from around the region. (BB)
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