Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Few Weeks In Carriacou: Part 2 The Regatta

The island of Carriacou is the only Carribean Island to host a sailboat regatta during hurricane season. Seems a bit risky but hurricanes rarely arrive in this southern island and if they do head this way it is typically a bit later in the season. Just the same, the big yachts have left the area leaving paradise a little less crowded for the rest of us.

The Carriacou Regatta consists of races for yachties like us and races for local boaters like these guys. Carriacou Island is known for its boat building and it is evident in these beautifully crafted vessels.

Hillsbourough (downtown Carriacou) comes alive during regatta. It is easy to find a nice place to hangout and watch the races. We arrive with friends John and Nancy from S/V Silver Seas.

Lunch anyone?

Should your boat need a bit of a tune up before the problem

The riggers are available to solve any problem

The local boats get ready to start the race. Unlike yacht racing, these boats leave from the beach. Ready, set.....


Some bigger boats start in the bay.

Yacht race starts are sheer chaos. The seasoned racer relishes this battle for good postion on the start line. Sails up, we get ready to move into the start sequence.

As we jockey around for position we check out our competition. The catamaran in this picture is a lightweight local boat named Ned Kelly. We keep an eye on her.
Next we spot a Lagoon 47, Koolau. They have a crew of 11 onboard. Too bad this race is a "two man" race. They are disqualified later.

The only other boat in our class is this brand new Dean Catamaran called Merlin. It is a pretty boat but is it fast??
It is busy at the start, boats everywhere trying to get into postion for the best start.

We nail the start. Merlin is right next to us.

Behind us we see the other two catamarans. So far so good....

In front of us is the rest of the fleet. They started ahead of us but we are quickly gaining on them.

Around the first mark, Sisters Rock, we see Ned Kelly gaining on us. Merlin is falling back and Koolau is moving up.

We keep a sharp lookout to see what the local boat, Ned Kelly, will do. Will she tack closer to shore? Local knowledge of currents and wind conditions could work in her favor.

Soon it is us and Ned Kelly. She is staying close behind us and seems to be gaining on us.

We are on the home stretch.

The wind is behind us, time to hoist the Gennaker. We cross the finish line first with Ned Kelly 3 minutes behind us. The other two catamarans finish 40 + minutes behind us.

There are lots of activities in the evenings between races. We go out to dinner with friends (l to r) Wendy, Jim, Pat and Geoff.

Too sore and tired the next day to race we muster enough energy by 3pm to attend an afternoon auction fundraiser. The Carriacou Childrens Educational Fund was created 9 years ago. Since that time they have raised over 37,000.00 US dollars for the children of Carriacou.

There is lots of good boating stuff to buy.


The last race of the regatta we invite Geoff and Pat from S/V Beach House to join us. This particular race is open to more than two people and we are happy to have extra hands on deck.

We begin the starting sequence and keep an eye on the competition. Ned Kelly is not racing today but we know Koolau is going to be a strong competitor.

Steve manuvers us right up to the starting line with 8 seconds to go. Luffing the sails he keeps us from crossing early and he squeezes out Koolau. They fail to make the start and by the time they come around they have lost more than 3 minutes. Sweet! Yes, we are competitive.

We are moving nicely and next to a beautiful racing boat named Spirited Lady. She is owned and sailed by a woman, Susie, from the UK.

We win our race, 20 minutes ahead of the second place boat Koolau. The crew is smiling. It was a fun regatta.

It is time to head to Grenada. See you there.

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line