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Bequia and the Magnificent Seven

The 24th annual Bequia Easter Regatta was a well-attended affair with 38 boats taking part in the Racing, J24 and Cruising classes of the four-day event. Four J24s and three cruisers made up St Lucia’s magnificent seven who rescued three firsts, two fourths, fifths and a sixth—Grayling even got to the bottom of how to fix a broken boom vang and still finish first!

Grayling, Loose Cannon, Attitude and Jabal made up the J24 contingent.

Mandarin, Doubloon of Marigot and Hot Chocolate did the same for the

Cruising Class—which was split into two divisions—it’s all to do with size you know?

St Lucia Yacht Club (SLYC) commodore and J24 Grayling skipper Mike Green, described the conditions as ‘testing,’ the atmosphere as ‘friendly’ prizes as ‘fantastic’ and Jeremy as ‘heavy.’And he should know. Team Green—that’s Jerard Bergasse, Chris Pilgrim, Jeremy (Vang) and, the man himself, made it three out of three in the J24 class finishing a long way in front of the competition.

It was ‘testing’ conditions that persuaded Grayling’s boom vang and deck to part company a minute before the start of the inaugural event.

“We thought of pulling out but crew member Jeremy came up with the answer, in fact he was the answer!” said Mike.

Jeremy really did get behind the boat, perched on the end of the boom, he kept the sale full and competition confused.

“The competition thought we’d re-invented sailing,” laughed Mike.

The event began on Good Friday with a Friendship Race, Saturday was Around the Island, Sunday a lay day and finals on Monday.

The lay day was a family affair with dinghy and fishing boat racing—a fantastic sight by all accounts. The 12-28ft workboats whose crews, when they’re not keeping the boat into the wind balanced on poles, bail for all they’re worth with a tried and tested bucket!

Comments regarding Friday’s conditions vary from being windy enough to blow your eyebrows off to one observer saying he’d witnessed a chicken lay the same egg three times.

Masts broke, rudders snapped and spinnakers shredded in the 30knot breeze as crews pushed gear and craft to the limit.

When sails were furled and the points counted it was, not surprisingly, Grayling ahead of the rest in the J24 class.Loose Canon, skippered by

Frank Heaps, couldn’t find the form that brought him success in the recent Regatta and finished fourth, Attitude placed fifth, Jabal (the old Ladera boat) broke her rudder and finished sixth of the eight boats who took part.

Doubloon of Marigot finished fourth in the Cruising Class (Div I) with Mandarin and Hot Chocolate in a respective fifth and sixth.

To the victor go the spoils, in this case it’s a Hand-held GPS/radio, carved Bequia fishing boat and a brass ship’s clock cluttering the skipper’s desk—Mike’s description of the prizes being ‘fantastic’ is an accurate one.

The eyes of the Caribbean’s J24’s yachtsmen will be firmly fixed on catching Grayling, either at the Christmas Sailing Festival or before. Her three from three winning ways could spark of some practical sailing solutions to reel in Grayling—and counteract a little envy. I suppose you could say the competition’s going Green with it!

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