The 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, which incorporates three days of coastal racing and headline event – the Round Barbados Race – concluded over the weekend with a spectacular prize-giving ceremony at The Beach House, St James.
Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet to celebrate the success of not only the competitors who fought hard all week in the challenging conditions, but also the organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay – and the race committee which helped make the 80th anniversary event one to remember.
The standard of competition throughout the three-day Coastal Series, particularly in the J/24 fleet and the Multihull fleet was, once again, extremely high with results going right down to the wire. The most exciting race of the series, however, was undoubtedly The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.
This 60nm challenge, that traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow Day (January 21) to celebrate the birthday of the late Errol Walton Barrow, the island’s first Prime Minister and ‘father of independence’, attracted a strong fleet including two powerful MOD70s –MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, andPhaedo3co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson.
The racing was exciting right from the start, giving spectators, who’d turned up the join in the island’s celebrations, plenty of thrill particularly when the huge multihulls crossed the finish line at full tilt in Carlisle Bay just 12 seconds apart. Despite being seasoned speed sailors, some of those on board including Jonny Malbon, and Paul Larsen on MS Barbados Concise 10,and Brian Thompson on Phaedo3 confessed it was some of the most exciting racing they have ever experienced.
As well as MS Barbados Concise 10 who broke the Multihull record, there were four other records broken which meant that at the prize-giving, there were cases and cases of Mount Gay Rum Extra Old presented to the winning skippers. At 96.2kgs, Dave Staples – skipper of the Williams Industries Inc. team on TP52, Conviction, – collected the biggest haul (10 cases) for breaking the 60ft and Under Monohull record.
MS Barbados Concise’s Ned Collier Wakefield at 87.7Kg was close behind, in terms of cases of rum, with an impressive nine cases to share among his team.
Although the prize-giving party signalled the end of the Coastal Series and Round Barbados Race, some teams were preparing for the Antigua Ocean Race – the 265nm feeder race – that started yesterday.
Among those taking part are TeamPhaedo3. Lloyd Thornburg, co skipper, commented: “It has been a fantastic week here on Barbados and we plan to come back at some point, however, in the meantime we are making final preparations for tomorrow’s sprint to Antigua.”
John Coveney, principal race officer, commenting on the week of sailing, said: “Overall it has been a fantastic week with much better wind conditions this year. We fitted in all the Coastal Series races including 11 of the 12-scheduled races for J/24s. The good Trade Wind conditions also helped to slaughter a few of the records in the Round Barbados Race.