Despite a decline in competitors, the 2018 Barbados Old Brigand Regatta is set to sail with a total of 15 boats competing in various classes this coming weekend at Carlisle Bay.
During this morning’s press conference held at the Barbados Yacht Club, president of the Barbados Sailing Association, Gus Reader, said even though the numbers were small, they looked forward to an exciting weekend in what will most likely be challenging with gusty weather conditions.
“In Barbados, we have a problem, in that we are out the way of other islands, and modern racing boats don’t take too well to crossing the Atlantic. The older racing boats are not comfortable but they can do it [cross the Atlantic Ocean], so we struggle to attract some of the high-powered racing boats that race in some of the other regattas.
“And basically in Barbados, yacht racing has declined in recent years. We don’t have the racing class we once had,” Reader said.
There are three respective categories and in the J24 Class that falls under the national championship, has the largest field of participants with eight boats registered. Last year’s winner BungaBunga captain by veteran Barbadian sailor Charlie Gloumeau will be the boat to beat.
Also seeking to anchor their way to victory in that J24 showdown are College Fund$ commanded by Jason Tindale, Impulse under the guidance of Neil Burke, Undercover youth team coached by Kwame Hinds and captained by 16-year-old Delyth Morris. Die Hard out of Grenada, is the lone overseas boat also set to compete.
Only four boats are in the Non-Caribbean Sailing Association [CSA] Class and they are Mandy led by Bruce Robinson and his crew. Sail La Vie steered by the experience Bill Tempro and his team will seek to feed off their impressive win at the Bequia Easter Regatta held last month. Also vying for top honours are Tropic Bird captained by Mark Hiorns and John Still on the boat Perseverance.
After a one-year break, the CSA Class returned with three boats scheduled to take the blue waters. Experienced Barbadian sailor Ralph Johnson will be on Rapajam, Peter Lewis will direct Whistler and Clint Brooks will be on top of Conviction.
Organizers said the sargassum seaweed could cause problems for the sailors depending on how much of it is in the sea over the weekend.
However this year’s course will start and finish at Carlisle Bay but the boats will travel along the South Coast, which has been affected in recent times by the sewage situation, and make the way to St Lawrence.
Commodore of the Barbados Yacht Club Jeffery Evelyn also spoke about not having enough competitors. But he added they were looking forward to a successful event having done the regatta for more than 20 years.
“Competitors are not coming to us as we would like, we try to promote that every year but we are still holding on to the numbers we have. So we are looking forward to the local turnout…We are just very happy to provide the start mode and those things, all the marks, we have been doing it for years, so we are very familiar with where to put the marks. We look forward to a very successful event over the weekend and we don’t expect any difficulties,” Evelyn said.
Meanwhile, principal race officer Peter Burke said in recent times more emphasis had been placed on making the sport more spectator-friendly and that’s the route Barbados will go as well.
The prize-giving ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 20th at the Barbados Yacht Club.