Hurricane wipes out field in Bequia
April 21, 2006
Hurricane wipes out field in Bequia

The tiny Grenadine island of Bequia was host to a record-breaking 40 competing yachts and 34 local double-ender boats over the Easter weekend for the Bequia Sailing Club’s 25th Anniversary Easter Regatta. This is an increase on the total of 70 boats last year, even though traditionally, a late April Easter means a lower turnout.

The yachts came from Trinidad, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Martinique, Barbados, St. Vincent, US Virgin Islands, Canada, England, Norway and the USA, to compete, often accompanied by followers and supporters from around the region, which greatly added to the number of yachts crowding Admiralty Bay.{{more}}

On the local boat side, joining the fleet of 22 Bequia boats were 12 from the Grenadine islands – six boats from Canouan, a record five boats from Carriacou, and one boat from Mayreau. Despite unseasonably light airs, both the local boats and the yachts rose to the challenge and produced a final day of closely fought racing on Easter Monday. In the local boat division, Hurricane from Carriacou skippered by Benson Patrice was overall winner in the 28ft Class, and to delight of her many followers, Iron Duke, the newly rebuilt 130-year-old whale boat ably skippered by Junior Hazell took first overall in her Class 6. Also in this class, and racing for the first time was the whaleboat Rescue skippered by Orson Ollivierre,

After lack of wind forced the abandonment of one of the yacht races on Saturday when none of the yachts in that class had finished before the 4 o’clock time limit, the final day of racing on Monday left the field wide open. In the end, the results were incredibly close with no less than four ties in the overall standings. The winning boats in the four classes came from Grenada, Antigua, Trinidad and St. Lucia. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by three boats – Jos and Beowolf in Cruising Class I, both owned by local businessman Kelly Glass, and Bequian Nicky Hazell’s Nicola which who took 6th overall in Cruising Class II.

The newly formed J24 class was hailed as a huge success by the competitors as they raced a six-race series over shorter courses than the rest of the fleet. The eight regional boats competing in this class represented the largest gathering of J24s in the southern Caribbean for many years and this represents a triumph for the Bequia Sailing Club Yacht Race Committee.

Minister of Tourism, Sport and Youth Glen Beache addressed the Grand Regatta Prize Giving at the Plantation House Hotel on Monday 17th and congratulated the Bequia Sailing Club on their record of success, acknowledged the Regatta’s contribution to Yacht Tourism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and assured the organizers of the continued support of the Ministry of Tourism.

There is no doubt that Bequia’s Easter Regatta has become the most popular regatta in the southern Caribbean, and indeed the second largest after Tobago Sail Week – the massive turnout of boats alone is proof of this. Amongst the yacht participants, there was high praise for the event and its organization, and promises from everyone to return next year.

The success of the Regatta is due not only to the hard work of members of the Bequia Sailing Club, but also to the generosity of its sponsors and donors, in particular St. Vincent Brewery (Heineken), Bottlers Ltd. (Mount Gay Rum and Pepsi), the Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Digicel, Mountain Top Spring Water, TradeWinds Cruise Club and the Frangipani Hotel.