Bridgetown, Barbados (16 January, 2014): With nearly 50 boats entered for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, 100s of sailors are tonight enjoying the fine Barbadian hospitality on the eve of the first race, which takes place tomorrow.
With 10 boats signed up already, the J/24 fleet is one of the biggest fleets at the regatta and undoubtedly one of the most competitive with local talent including current national champions – Hawkeye (Robert Povey and team), keen to notch up another impressive victory.
At the skippers’ briefing held earlier this evening the race team including Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee), Pat Bailey (Chief Judge), and John Coveney (Principal Race Officer) said they were impressed by the quality of entry and are looking forward to hosting a competitive, yet fun week. Coveney commented: “The Caribbean is known for its constant east-north-east, which is a dream for sailors and race officers alike. Here in the Barbados, the wind blows fairly consistently at 20kts, which is perfect, so we are all looking forward to a good opening day on the water. We can only hope the wind stays constant for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race next Tuesday [21 January].”
Organised by the Barbados Cruising Club in association with the Barbados Tourism Authority and Mount Gay, the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series encompasses the already established Mount Gay Round Barbados Race plus a new series of coastal races, and a final 300-mile sprint to Antigua – to link up with the Superyacht Challenge – starting on 25 January.
Peter Gilkes – Consultant to the Barbados Tourism Authority for Yachting Development – also present at the briefing, welcomed visitors to the island and promised a prosperous future to the regatta. “We have worked hard to produce an event that we are proud of. The aim of this year’s event is to use it as a platform on which to base future events. We have a long-term commitment in making sure this is a key event on the Caribbean racing circuit and hope everyone has fun, competitive week.”
The first race for J/24s starts at 1000 tomorrow while the rest of the fleets commence at 1110. After a day of intense coastal racing, competitors will have earned their place at the Mount Gay Rum Red Cap party at Barbados Yacht Club tomorrow evening.
The first recorded race round Barbados was in 1936 when five trading schooners (Sea Fox, Mona Marie, Marion B Wolfe, Lucille Smith and Rhode Island) took up the challenge. Sea Fox (Captain Lou Kennedy) was the overall winner with a time of 10 hours 20 minutes.
The original race was based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner. In an era where prices for cargo arriving ahead of rival ships commanded a massive premium, this was a lucrative race for captains.
The consolation prize of a barrel of Mount Gay Rum for the slowest yacht was discontinued several years later following the discovery that some competitors purposely stalled and remained out at sea for days to ensure they won the prize.
In 2012 The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race expanded to incorporate the Two Restaurants Race, which meant racing took place over two days. The idea proved such a success, it was decided to expand the event further in 2014, in line with most other Caribbean regattas, and run a series of coastal, round-the-buoy races including the Two Restaurants Race, and The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on 21 January. The 300-mile Ocean Race from Barbados to Antigua starts on 24 January. Further event information
Race details including entry forms and schedule of events available on the race website: http://mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com/
Event contact: [email protected]