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31 January 2005, 10:14 am
Day One - A Record 34 Races for 8 Classes
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Grenada Sailing Festival
Grenada

Racing in the Grenada Sailing Festival warmed up on Saturday with the yachting classes each sailing three races and the heritage boats (workboats) sailing a record five races each. Winds were light but reasonably steady for the day, with 6 - 8 knots out of the north in the early morning building to 10- 12 from the east and then dropping again to 6 - 8 for the late afternoon.
Friday night's heritage skippers' meeting was a lighthearted affair with old friends gathering to battle it out once again for fame, glory and the $1000 cash prize. The commissioner of police teased the crowd promising a bank holiday if everyone behaved and his team from Guave placed well. In contrast, the skippers' meeting for the yacht race was relatively somber. James BENOIT, chief measurer for GSF, led the group in a moment of silence to remember a long time attendee, Trinidadian racer Dougie MEYERS. His boat Legacy had been a regular at GSF since the event's inception and he was remembered as "a great encourager for those who wanted to sail". Jim ROBINSON, the event chair announced that prizes this year would not include the expensive trophies given in the past; instead, locally made "small gifts" would be given and the money that was not spent would be given to various island charity, which met with overwhelming approval from the crowd.

Although the skippers' meeting for the heritage boats may have been a lighthearted affair, the racing from the beach Saturday was anything but light hearted. The committee was able to run 25 races on Saturday, five races for each of the five classes. This was a record for the event. Another record for 2005 was the number of boats sailing. With late registrations, the ranks swelled from 24 to 32 with one boat registering from Mayreau in the Grenadines. Alison KERNS, event organizer, described the day as one in which there were, "Amazing conflicts and fantastic reconciliations." She reported that although there were a number of "impromptu beach irruptions", matters were settled "out of court" and that sportsmanship prevailed.

Naming boats is almost always a very personal decision for owners; this year several of the boats entered in the GSF heritage regatta reflect the trauma that the islanders endured in September with Hurricane Ivan. Old favorites such as Classic, Black Magic and Talaban are back but Canoe entry with the name of Ivan Roof Off brought smiles to many in the crowd and Sloop B entry, Count Your Blessings, had special meaning to most.

Saturday's three yacht races comprise the Mount Gay Series with the first race of the day taking the yachts on a course from the southeast side of Grenada around the most southern tip to the southwest. The renamed Crash Test Dummies, Enzyme, sailed the course flawlessly easily taking first place in the Racing class andJomani, an S&S Gemini, sailed away with top honors in the Cruising class.

The second race was a windward leeward course sailed in front of Grand Anse beach giving racers from both classes a chance to watch the others. Enzyme proved once again that you can teach an old boat new tricks winning with a corrected time almost two minutes ahead of Disco Inferno. This time around Rasmus, the Swan 43, took the top spot in Cruising and, once again, Inspiration, the Horizon Yacht Charters entry sailed by Will GROENEVELD won his class.

The final course led the yachts back from Grand Anse beach to True Blue Bay. Racing was once again dominated by Enzyme, taking its third win for the day. Jomani moved from second back to first in cruising and Inspiration once again bested Longhorn in the Charter fleet.

The Mount Gay series winners and current leaders for the overall honours are Enzyme in the racing class, Jomani with 4 points in the Cruising class with second place and Inspiration leading the Charter class. For complete results click on the link below.
Linda Phillips/caribbeanracing.com (As Amended by ISAF), Image © Linda Phillips/caribbeanracing.com
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