Local competitive sailing has been around for decades and next year is shaping up to be an epic spectacle.
The Cayman Islands Sailing Club recently staged its annual Easter Regatta Round the Island Race. With the club celebrating 50 years in 2015, club manager Rick Caley says there will be added flair to events like the Easter regatta.
“It’s always great to see a big fleet for the major race in the sailing calendar and although some boats lost the wind late in the day and had to retire, the taking part in a long distance race always brings a sense of achievement,” Caley said.
“Next year is the 50th anniversary of the club and so we hope that the Easter regatta will be even larger. Many thanks to all those who support us including the race committee, who get up so early on the first day of the holiday to go out and set boats on their way and our sponsors, Harbour House Marina.”
The 2014 regatta attracted the largest fleet in recent years with the combined Cruiser and J22 fleet heading out from North Sound, traveling east to East End and then along the south coast to Sunset House with racers going from Sunset House back to North Sound via North West Point.
The pursuit portion of the race saw boats start at different times according to their handicaps. Essentially, the slower boats set off to stay ahead of the chasing faster boats. Roger Nelson’s brand new trimaran, a Dragonfly 28, was the fastest rated boat and started last but charged through the fleet over the 41 nautical mile-course to take first place with a time of seven hours and 45 minutes. Bruce Johnson’s “Blue Runner” was second and Donald McLean’s “Radium” took third place.
The J22 fleet saw Mike Farrington’s “Just Leaving” take first place after a grueling nine-hour race, just eight minutes ahead of Eduardo Bernal’s “Calima.” Mark Macfee was third in “Moon struck” ended up overall winners among the cruiser fleet on handicap.
For sailor Rob Hutchison, the cruiser action was riveting. “It was such an experience to be sailing with so many other boats around you,” Hutchison said. “Round the Island is a long race and sometimes you can feel pretty isolated but this year the light winds and large fleet meant that you felt like you were sailing in company.”
Race sponsors, Harbour House Marina donated prizes and trophies for the winners. Special trophies were also awarded to the top cruiser and top J22 in memory of Mark Clarke. The trophies were designed by Eduardo Bernal and donated by Peter Cunningham. Prize giving took place at Sunset House.
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