The 80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series will feature an historic moment when MOD 70 Trimaran Ms Barbados and Phaedo Three race each other for the first time in the Caribbean.
Speaking during this morning’s launch at the Barbados Beach Club, Senator and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Irene Sandiford-Garner outlined the features of the boats and what is expected over the next couple of days. Also present were Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) president, Billy Griffith, event coordinator Howard Palmer, Mount Gay branch manager Terry Vaughan and owner of team Concise Tony Lawson who partnered with BTMI to bring Ms Barbados to these shores.
This year a new winner will sail across the finish line because 2015 champions Monster Project will not return to defend their title. The others boats scheduled to compete are Superyacht Adix a three masted 65-meter racing schooner, Ocean Phoenix from Spain and that is a 24-meter racer that will be chartered by Mount Gay. Meanwhile returning overseas boats include the Blue Peter a 65ft classic yacht based in South of France, Spirit of Juno a 65ft racer out of Antigua, Island Water World Die Hard J24 from Grenada and Aaricia from Belguim.
Local talents will also look to stamp their authority at home and that includes Schooner Ruth. Among the fastest boats around the island is catamaran Silver Bullet owned by Barbados Cruising Club commodore Bryan Palmer that has a time of four hours, 24 minutes and 27 seconds. The fastest Monohull is Volvo 70 Monster Project with four hours, 42 minutes and 20 seconds.
Garner stated that 14 records currently existed and many of the boats competing would seek to break them.
Lawson who spoke on behalf of the Ms Barbados said the aim was not only to compete but also promote the island in such a way that it puts it back on the centerstage of world sailing.
“The truth is Ms Barbados is already the winner. We didn’t just come here to take part in one event, we came here to promote Barbados as the sailing destination and I think that has worked really well already. The support we have had from Virgin Atlantic,
BTMI and local people generally Mount Gay Rum of course has been fantastic and with everybody pulling together, everybody putting in a little bit that will make great strides, attract people to this island and put us back on the centre of the racing world. It is going to be a fantastic race we have two of the fastest boats in the world here. Will we win? We will be trying our hardest for the whole nation and I know the whole nation will support us,” Lawson said.
Meanwhile Palmer who worked closely with BTMI member Peter Gilkes to get the boats into Barbados said during his remarks that it was very fortuitous that 80 years ago the first run Barbados race took place between a group of people who raced their schooners around the island to decide which was the fastest and 80 years later it coincided with the 50th anniversary of Barbados’Independence.
“What better thing [sport] could we have to launch this year from a sporting aspect than a Round Barbados race to celebrate the history of this beautiful country and its 50 years of Independence.
“We have people from all over the world that are coming to join us, from all over the Caribbean and we also have our own sea boats from Barbados that are going to join us not only to set records but to celebrate the beautiful history that this race in a small way represents. It has really taken off on the international scene and it is the number one regatta not only on the calendar in the Caribbean but also on the must-do list of every sailor that comes to the Caribbean. We believe this year will be tremendous scope for the development of sports tourism in yachting, sailing and everything else that goes with that and everything that this country has a proud history that we should all celebrate,” Palmer said.
The event is scheduled for January 16 to 24. On the 17th, 18th and 19th there will be coastal racing and on January 20 there will be the Round Barbados race along with a polo regatta match on January 20 at Holders Hill around 3 p.m. There will be the Ocean Passage race to Antigua on January 24.