One of the main sporting events to celebrate Barbados’ 50th anniversary of Independence next year is already taking shape with the preparations for the 80th anniversary of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series which sails from January 16 to 24.
The 33m Brigantine –– Tres Hombres –– and her team of loyal supporters to the event are the first to moor up in the Shallow Draft. However, so far the biggest head-turner is the MOD70 trimaran –– MS Barbados (Concise 10). Ned Collier Wakefield and team arrived last week from Grenada, having just completed the RORC Transatlantic Race. The multihull is now moored in the Careenage and is proving to be a huge attraction.
The event was re-launch two years ago with a new race format and more record-breaking opportunities were introduced. This Caribbean season’s opening regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay, is starting to attract quality international entries to add to its already competitive local fleet.
To support growing interest in the event and to accommodate visitors, a new 34-berth marina, with immigration clearance facilities, has just been completed in the Shallow Draft.
Other exciting entries lined up to take part in the 2016 event include fellow RORC Transatlantic Race competitors MOD70, Phaedo3 and Ms Barbados Concise 8 (Class 40), plus a host of other top class racing machines including Maximizer (Farr 72), Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), and Good Job Guy (Wally 60).
Clint Brooks and team on the TP52 Conviction representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) have also signed up and are looking to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record they established at the 2015 regatta.
While the out-and-out racing machines and local one-designs including the healthy fleet of J/24s, cruisers, and charter yachts, are expected to make up the bulk of the fleet for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, there’ll be a fine sprinkling of classics including Matt Barker’s pretty Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter.
The charter option for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series is a popular choice for last minute sun-seekers. So far there are 14 charter company options available including OnDeck, Stormforce Coaching, Performance Yacht Charter, Regatta Charters Pro, Sailing Adventure, Team Miramar Sailing, Rumline Sailing St Lucia plus a host of individual charter yachts spaces on offer. There is a huge choice of yachts to choose from including Scarlet Oyster (Oyster 48), Maximizer (Farr 72), BOSS Barbados/Conviction (TP52), Spirit of Adventure (VO60), The Blue Peter (Alfred Mylne 65) and Northern Child (Swan 51).
At the 2016 event, competitors can expect three days of coastal racing, the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race (the headline event), and the chance to contest a final 300-mile Ocean Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Challenge.
One of the biggest attractions is the opportunity for race teams to win their skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize for the fastest time if any of the 14 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race records are broken. At the 2015 event, three teams went home with a total of 78 cases of Mount Gay Rum. The outright monohull record round Barbados remains in the hands of Andy Budgen and team on the British VO70 Monster Project who set a time of 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds in 2014.