It was another picture perfect day for the competitors in the Grenada Sailing Festival, sunny skies, 8 - 10 knots of breeze and lots of sailing. Once again, records were set, as the committees sent the yachting and heritage boat competitors off on a total of 38 races.
Thousands of spectators on Grand Anse beach were able to witness seven races completed for five classes. Those races included championships for the junior and senior divisions and the Island Waterworld Skipper of the Year award. With the communities of Sauteurs, Gouyave,Woburn, Petite Martinique and Carriacou represented, sailors raced against others in each community's one design class (Sloop A, Sloop B, Gouyae Canoe, Woburn and Sportboats) to determine which teams would move into the finals. All races begin with a lemans start with runners taking off from the beach and jumping into the boats being held in the surf by other crew members. Once all are on board, the boats sail an upwind leg, reach, parallel the beach sailing downwind, go back out- up wind and then finish the course downwind. Once at the beach, a crew member must hurry to the scoring tent, as the teams will not be officially scored as finished until the runner downs a rum and coke.
It was quite an honour for me to be invited to sail with one of the teams from Woburn in their wooden "Woburn" named Try Me
. Rigged with a bamboo mast, boom and sprit, the sails are dark blue Dacron, the main having no downhaul. Before the race began, I helped the crewmembers duck tape the rudder together as it has a rotten strip down the center and would not have lasted the race without reinforcement. As we held the boat into the wind and in the surf waiting for the runners to be started, we had to carefully watch our own boom and those of neighbors on either side lest we get whacked or poked. Holding the boat in the surf before and after the race was by far the most dangerous part of the whole adventure.
We had a late start from the beach as there were problems lining the rudder up with the pintals but once off, we gave it our best. The skipper took total control of the boat and management of the four crew members; a mainsheet trimmer, a jib trimmer and two bailers. (Yes, I was one of the bailers.) Although our finish was about as spectacular as our start, the ride was smooth as the crew all worked hard to manage the boat around the course. Although I was asked if I would like to be the runner that signaled the finish by downing the rum and coke, I had to turn down that offer knowing that if I started drinking that early in the day, I would never get this article written.
Sailing in the GFS16's, the tightly controlled one design class with boats that are not sailed all year with the exception of the three GSF championship races, Gouyave won the Junior event, Sauteurs the senior division and the overall Island Waterworld Skipper of the Year award and the $1000 cash prize was awarded to the crew of One Love
Although the yachts only sailed one race today, there was plenty of excitement. Rumors spread this morning that the crew of Enzyme
successfully tagged teamed the crew of Whistler
. Reportedly, Enzyme's
crew took a turn each buying Whistler's
crew drinks. While the Enzyme
crew only had one drink apiece, the Whistler
crew had many more. No ones knows exactly how many were consumed but a number of crewmembers were found asleep this morning on their host's lawn.
Racing today in the Grenada Yacht Club Festival Series resulted in a number of protests. In one, Longhorn
was accused of not giving room at a mark and thus causing a collision between Enzyme
and Disco Inferno
. The jury saw it differently and both Enzyme
were disqualified. This moved Whistler
into first place for the race, With Alacrity
finishing in second place and Rumor
In the cruising class, Rasmus
was first, Jomani
second and Antares
finished in third place. Although Inspiration
has the faster corrected time, there is a protest pending and at this writing results are unknown.