Strong winds and high seas dissuaded all but three of the cruising fleet from setting out around the island for the traditional Easter Good Friday race.
Rob Hutchison’s Shanti was the first to set off in the pursuit race, with Bruce Johnson’s Blue Runner and Fu Liem’s Java Knight close behind.
All boats were heavily reefed as they made their way along the north coast and were often lost from view in the big swells.
Blue Runner and Java Knight overtook Shanti off East End and then battled all the way to the line with Java winning by a corrected margin of slightly more than eight minutes.
Their sailing time of just under six hours included a 10 minute penalty for using their engine through the main channel, a necessary safety precaution in the strong swells given their deep draft.
David Carmichael, skipper of Java Knight, said: “It was disappointing that only three boats made it out but the conditions were harsh and off shore racing is always going to pose possible risk for boats not equipped for extreme conditions.
“Credit must go to those who came out and especially to the race committee who went out and endured a rough time starting the race.”
Grand Cayman Beach Suites hosted the post-race barbecue and a chance for all to treat their wounds with plenty of rum!
Bill Powers, general manager of the Beach Suites and crew aboard Shanti, welcomed the sailors. “We are happy to be the new home for the long cruiser races,” he said.
“It is a great spectacle to see the big boats on Seven Mile and we are glad that Beach Suites offers a safe anchorage and a nice relaxed venue for after the races.”
Rick Caley, manager of the sailing club who organise the race and also crew on Shanti, was also enthusiastic for the future of the race.
“Although many of the cruiser fleet chose discretion over valour, it is rare to have such rough conditions all the way round,” Caley said.
“Next year is the 50th annual Easter regatta and we intend to make it a big event so mark Good Friday 2014 in your calendars now.”
For more information on cruiser racing contact [email protected]