Bequia Easter Regatta, April 2 to 6
March 24, 2015
Bequia Easter Regatta, April 2 to 6

The all-volunteer Bequia Sailing Club will this year be celebrating 34 unbroken years of dedicated direction of the legendary Bequia Easter Regatta. In that time, the Club has seen the regatta evolve from a small, local sailing get-together for both yachts and local double-enders, into one of the biggest {{more}}sporting and tourism events in the country.

Success breeds success, and with the vital support of its sponsors and donors, the regatta has continued to grow. Regatta 2013 saw the Sailing Club achieve a record-breaking entry of 54 yachts and 29 local double-enders, affirming Bequia’s status as the largest yacht regatta in the southern Caribbean. Furthermore, Bequia’s four-day Easter Regatta is renowned the world over for its unique blend of thrilling local boat racing, challenging and superbly run yacht racing and the warm, small-island hospitality that is Bequia’s trademark.

Hairoun Beer, celebrating its own milestone of “30 Years of Legendary Vincy Brewing!” at the St Vincent Brewery in 2015, once again leads the Bequia regatta sponsors’ roll call at Platinum level, with their consecutive days of Hairoun Challenges for the local double-enders on Easter Saturday and Sunday, and the Lay Day Sunday Single-Handed Around Bequia yacht race.

As an official “Red Cap” Regatta, Bequia also continues to enjoy outstanding support from Mount Gay Rum at Gold level, with the “Rum that Invented Rum” sponsoring Good Friday’s full day of yacht races, and the final day of double-ender races on Easter Monday. Mount Gay Rum is joined at Gold level by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, which, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, has given its emphatic endorsement to the event for 2015 with a 150 per cent increase in contribution and wide-ranging additional support.

Silver sponsor United Insurance will be lending its name this year to both the J24 and the Surprise Class 3-Race Challenges on Easter Saturday, following the decision to have the Surprise Class compete alongside the J24 Class in Bequia in the specially-designed series of six races over the Easter weekend. New for 2015, also at Silver level, is locally-based Sandrock Bequia, whose early and generous donation was a vital boost for the Bequia Sailing Club.

The Bequia Sailing Club is delighted to welcome LIME St Vincent on board this year at Bronze sponsorship level, joining loyal regatta sponsors Mountain Top Water and Action Bequia. The Bequia Beach Hotel, Frangipani Hotel and De Reef are once again offering invaluable support in the form of accommodation, facilities and logistics, and trophies are being donated by Caribbean Woods, WAG Service Station and Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Special mention should also be made of the generous contribution made by Wallace & Co, Bequia and CK Greaves and Edwin D Layne Ltd in St Vincent.

The regatta’s eagerly anticipated local double-ender races draw ever greater crowds of followers each year. The design of the traditional Bequia double-ender is based on the 26-foot New England whaleboats that regularly visited the Grenadine waters during the first half of the 19th century. Today’s double-ender boats are now built almost exclusively to race, but within the fleet there is one notable exception. The fully restored and rebuilt 140-year old Iron Duke – cornerstone of “Old Bill” Wallace’s legendary Bequia whaling fleet in the late 19th century – continues to proudly compete in the regatta to this day with young sailors from the Bequia Traditional Sailing Academy forming the crew.

On the yacht side, the Bequia Easter Regatta’s CSA-accredited series of races continue to draw sailors from near and far to take part in the four days of competition. Yachts are divided into Racing Class, two Cruising Classes, and two One-Design Classes. The biggest draw in recent years has been Bequia’s J/24 One-Design Class whose six-race series in Bequia also decides the annual J24 Southern Caribbean Championship.

Regatta Lay Day Sunday is when most yachtsmen take the chance to relax and enjoy the start Sunday’s local boat races and the ever popular Sandcastle Competition, sponsored this year by LIME, or just to chill out with the landlubbers on one of Bequia’s many beautiful beaches. A fearless few, however, choose to compete in Easter Sunday’s Hairoun “Round the Island” single-handed Yacht Race – the ultimate seamanship challenge for the solo sailor and his yacht.

Easter Regatta in Bequia marks a major peak in the tourism season, as the island prepares to welcome hundreds more visitors from near and far. Regatta fever is already in the air and soon just about everyone will be infected with the excitement of being in Bequia to celebrate tradition and excellence in sailing on the island’s biggest weekend of the year.