With just a few days to the start of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January 2016), the festival island spirit is in full flow.
Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay, this year’s anniversary event (which also marks 50 years of independence for Barbados), promises to be the best yet with plenty of top class racing, record-breaking opportunities, and a Mount Gay-themed social scene to beat all others.
For the last couple of weeks, competitors from all around the world have been arriving in Bridgetown and making their way to the traditional Barbados Cruising Club beachside location at the south of the island in Carlisle Bay to prepare for the opening race of the three-day Coastal Series that starts at 1000 on Sunday, 17 January.
The generally fresh, warm Trade Winds, which tend to remain fairly consistent throughout the day provides exciting racing while back on shore as the sun sets, competitors and guests make the most of the legendary opening night Mount Gay Red Cap beach party.
After three days of intensely fun coastal racing in the hot Caribbean sunshine and crystal blue waters, and associated partying, competitors have the chance to recover. Most, however, find the lay day activities, which include a tour of the Mount Gay Rum distilleries at Brandons, and a relaxing afternoon soaking up the colonial hospitality at Holders Polo Field during a special Regatta Polo Exhibition Match, too hard to resist.
The headline event, the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race, traditionally takes place on 21 January. This 60 nautical-mile blast around the beautiful island of Barbados is one of the biggest attractions for most out-and-out race teams because as well as the potential for crews to claim bragging rights, there’s the chance 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.
With some super-serious speed junkies lining up including Ned Collier Wakefield and team on MS Barbados (Concise 10) MOD70 trimaran who are going for the outright record, and Clint Brooks and team on the TP52 Conviction representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) who are looking to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record they established last year, there’ll be no shortage of excitement.
The MOD70, Phaedo3, Ms Barbados Concise 8 (Class 40), Maximizer (Farr 72), and Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), are among some of the others looking to post record speeds.
For those looking to beat the winter blues, there is still time to sign up for a last minute place on a charter yacht. Click here for full list/details of charter options available.
Matt Barker’s Alfred Mylne 65 – The Blue Peter – that recently arrived in Barbados from New England, via Antigua, may not be the fastest boat on the course but is probably one of the prettiest charter options still available. This classic beauty is real treat to sail and her owner, the skipper, says the charter guests always have fun and occasionally win a race or two.
Commenting on what makes this Caribbean season opening regatta so special, Barker said: “The organisers have got the balance right. It is informal yet offers competitive racing, and Barbados is just an amazing Island to race around.
“Because of this and the great organisation, the fleet seems to get bigger and better every year.
Add to this the wonderful beaches, restaurants and bars and it is the perfect start to any sailor’s winter season.”
Coverage of the regatta, reports, interviews, photographs, and results will be available on the event website: http://mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com as soon as possible after each day of racing.