Oyster Regatta - Grenada 2011
The island of Grenada offers some of the most idyllic cruising grounds anywhere in the world. Wonderful hidden coves and beaches with sand like fine sugar typify Grenada. Known as The Spice Island, the mountainous interior is festooned with spice plantations with the sweet scent of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla carried on the breeze.
30 examples of the impressive Oyster range have come to Grenada, to enjoy sailing in these outstanding waters and attend wonderful parties, hosted at some of Grenada's best waterside establishments, which provide breathtaking views of the island and the sparkling Caribbean Sea beyond.
Oyster Regatta Grenada - Lewmar Race Day
12 April 2011
Grenada's lush, green paradise relies on rain and on the morning of Lewmar Race Day, the Oyster Fleet certainly got that. But despite the torrential downpour, the mood in Port Louis was up beat and all of the fleet left the dock, to perform a parade of sail, before heading out to the race area.
As if by magic, shortly after the start an easterly wind blew away the rain clouds. Providing dry, if somewhat tricky conditions. During the course of the day, there were numerous wind shifts and predicting these changes was the secret to success. A light airs start was followed by a building breeze, which piped up to fifteen knots by the end of the race.
Starts are always important but especially in fickle breeze and the Polish Oyster 46, SunsuSea, judged the line to perfection, to get away well. Owned by Mariusz and Paulina Kierebinscy, SunsuSea came to the Caribbean in the 2009 ARC.
"We have been really delighted with the boat." Smiled Mariusz. "My family love to sail, especially in the Caribbean. This is our second Oyster Regatta and although we have little experience with racing, it is a great way to learn how to improve our sailing technique."
Besides Mariusz and Paulina, SunsuSea is crewed by their family and friends. Daughter Claudia and son Martin are fast learners in the cockpit. Whilst friends, Artur and Margaret trim the mainsail, helped by their daughter Adriana, who is just 11 years of age.
"We really like Grenada." Continued Mariusz. 'It is such a friendly place and safe for our children. After the regatta, we will be cruising through The Genadines to St. Lucia, our last adventure before the boat returns across the Atlantic."
In Class One, Lush, with F1, racing analyst, Eddie Jordan on board, sailed a smart race to win, but the powerful Oyster 655, owned by Eddie Jordan's family trust, was pushed all the way by Chris Shea's Oyster 72, Magrathea, who sailed a near perfect beat by using the lifting breeze, along Grande Anse Beach. Jonathon and Jane Mould's Oyster 72, Koluka claimed a well-deserved third in class.
Alan Brook, taking part in his first Oyster regatta as a competitor with his wife Sue in their Oyster 56, Sulana, won the first race in Class Two, the meticulously prepared yacht was extremely well positioned on the racecourse to win by a fair margin. Scott Bickford's American Oyster 53, Contingency was second and Ian Galbraith and crew, racing his Oyster 53, Jigsaw, kept their concentration to take third.
After the fleet had returned to the safe confines of Port Louis Marina, a cocktail party, hosted by the Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada, was full of talk about the day's events.
Later that evening, the Oyster family was treated to a lavish party at the exclusive LaLuna Estate. Tucked away south of the capital, LaLuna is the hidden gem of Morne Rouge Bay, which offers one of the finest beaches on the island, just minutes from St George's. The estate is often frequented by stars of the stage and film and provided a truly magical occasion for the second Oyster party of the regatta.
The ultra-chic secluded venue has a rustic charm extenuated by the use of traditional Caribbean materials to provide a design-fusion, which is unmistakably Asian in appearance. The wooden beachfront courtyard blends cane, cotton, and thatch and inviting day beds are scattered throughout the resort with sublime views of the perfect beach.
The Oyster family enjoyed a mouth watering four-course dinner with fine wine in a wonderful atmosphere. Afterwards, a company of dancers electrified the atmosphere and very soon the party was a very lively affair. It may have been a day of mixed fortunes on the water but the Oyster crew-conga, snaking through the LaLuna's courtyard, was testament to a very successful first day's racing at the Oyster Regatta in Grenada.
Oyster Regatta Grenada - Pelagos Race Day
13 April 2011
The 19-mile coastal race to Le Phare Bleu was full of excitement for the Oyster Fleet. GWM Racing set an adrenalin packed course, fueled by strong winds, funneling around the awe-inspiring southern coastline of Grenada. The Oyster fleet was fully tuned up in a fresh easterly breeze, which showcased the grace, power and above all safety of these majestic yachts. Despite the feisty conditions, all of the competing yachts arrived in picturesque Calivigny Bay, with no more damage than a few sails in need of minor repairs.
Ole and Lotte Vagner's Oyster 62, Golden Gate had a great day on the water, executing some excellent mark roundings, including a text book gybe-set at the penultimate mark, to steal an advantage on their competitors. Golden Gate finished the day in fine style.
"Although we are Danish, we decided to call our yacht Golden Gate, as we saw it as a gateway to adventure and it certainly has been." Explained Lotte Vagner. "This is our fifth Oyster Regatta, we have enjoyed Oyster Regattas in the Mediterranean and Caribbean and it is so nice to meet up with our many friends in the Oyster family. After the regatta we will be cruising with Golden Gate to Newport Rhode Island and among other locations, we plan to visit Cuba and Miami."
Part of the reason for going to Cuba and Miami is because Ole is a keen musician and his A-Band will be performing during the tour. By all accounts Ole is an accomplished base guitarist.
"Grenada is one of my favourite places in the Caribbean. The people here are so friendly and they have not been too influenced by tourism. We are really enjoying this regatta and much of that enjoyment is due to our excellent crew, Chris the skipper and his wife Gunille are such an important part of that. Often the hard work that skipper and crew put in goes unnoticed, without them we would never be able to enjoy sailing Golden Gate, as much as we do."
During the race, Golden Gate had a close call with the Oyster 56, Asante. Although there was no infringement, Ole felt that perhaps they had come close to breaking the Spirit of Oyster sailing and as soon as Golden Gate was dockside, he offered his apologies to Andrew Walters, the owner of Asante, offering him a bottle of champagne. It was duly accepted with a smile and a gracious remark from Andrew. "The situation actually stopped us from our plan of going inshore, which would have been the wrong move, so Golden Gate actually did us a favour, it was a lovely gesture by Ole, in true Corinthian spirit."
After racing the fleet made it's way into the delightful little marina of Le Phare Bleu, where a cocktail party was held on board the lightship Västra Banken, originally built in Sweden in 1900. The Oyster fleet was treated to a rather unusual musical performance, as a steel band played on board a tugboat, which sailed around the bay. It was an intoxicating atmosphere, as the sun dipped down on a perfect day and 180 Oyster guests settled in for dinner at Le Phare Bleu restaurant. A sumptuous buffet of local fayre was very well received before The Doc Adams Blues Band performed live to rapturous applause. Playing a string of all time favourites, it wasn't long before the dance floor was throbbing to the music. With a break from racing the following day, the Oyster family partied well into the night.
Oyster Regatta Grenada - Lay Day
14 April 2011
After two fantastic days of racing, the Oyster fleet remained at Le Phare Bleu Marina for a well-earned rest, however many of the Oyster family took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful island of Grenada.
Excursions were organised by Oyster Marine, with over 35 people taking the opportunity to spend the day touring the island's historic sites and rain forest with a lunch stop at the Belmont Estate, famous for it's cocoa bean production. Several crews spent the day exploring the underwater world. Sea temperatures are usually in excess of 26ºC with excellent visibility. Nurse sharks, hawksbill turtles and stingrays are a common sight and dive sites vary from reef walls and coral gardens to wreck dives, often just a short journey away from shore.
Grenada is famous for its Workboats, over 80 of these colourful craft race every February at the Grenada Sailing Festival. For Lay Day, the Oyster crews were given the rare opportunity of sailing with the local Woburn based skippers of these clinker built wooden dinghies. There was some light-hearted bragging between the local skippers, and spectators were treated to some exciting racing in Calavigny Bay.
Meanwhile ashore, there was a cook off, which involved a competition between Grenadians for the best tasting "Oil-Down". The national dish of Grenada, which is a stew of a variety of ingredients. Recipes differ from pork off cuts with coconut milk, bananas, saffron and breadfruit to a salt fish offering with okra and saffron. Oyster owners and guests judged the competition, before rounding off the day with a cocktail party, at which the "Oil Down" and Workboat prizes were presented.
Champagne Sailing for Oyster Fleet
15 April 2011
Clear blue skies and an easterly breeze of fifteen knots provided champagne sailing conditions for the Oyster Fleet for the third day of racing at the Oyster Regatta in Grenada. The Race Officers opted for a 20-mile course starting with windward leeward followed by a tactical beat along the southern side of the island. The wind abated during the course of the race but the forecast light airs never really materialized.
Ray and Birgitte Charmak's Oyster 53, Out of India had a great start, judging the line well and setting off at pace.
"I was determined to get a good start today." Explained Ray. "We have been shy of the line on the last two occasions and as one of the smallest boats in the fleet, we always have most of the fleet in front of us. Before we decided to set off on our adventures with Out of India, Birgitte and I had hardly done any sailing at all, we really jumped in at the deep-end. Now we have sailed the yacht across the Atlantic and completed thousands of miles together, it has been a wonderful experience. After considering several options, we decided to go for an Oyster, for blue water cruising, it was a very good choice. We prefer a smaller yacht because it allows us to get away from it all and sail the boat by ourselves. But Out of India is not set up for racing, our main aim at Oyster Regattas is to have fun and we are certainly doing that in Grenada."
"When we heard that Oyster were organising the regatta in Grenada, we were delighted." Commented Birgitte. "It is a wonderful island with really fascinating and breath taking scenery. It is somewhere that we have enjoyed coming to before and to have all of our friends from the other Oysters here makes it even more special."
Dolphin Race Day provided the fleet with a tricky passage race back to Port Louis. Special attention had to be paid to negotiating the Porpoise Rocks on the southwest tip of Grenada.
In Class Two, Alan and Sue Brook's, Oyster 56 Sulana was once again victorious, with John McTigue's Oyster 56, Blue Dreams second and Harvey and Sue Death's Oyster 56, Sarabi third.
With just one race scheduled tomorrow, Sulana is the clear leader in Class Two having scored a perfect three bullets. However, as no race can be discarded, they can still be overtaken. Scott Bickford's Oyster 56, Contingency has scored two podium finishes but could not keep up the performance and scored a 6th in the penultimate race. However Contigency still lie second in class. Ian Galbraith's Oyster 53, Jigsaw remains in third place overall, even though they accepted a penalty in the Dolphin Sails Race, for touching the finish mark. In a great act of sportsmanship, they alerted their error to the race committee.
In Class One Jonathan and Jane Mould's sporty Oyster 72, Koluka
took line honours and won on handicap by a significant margin from Chris and Susan Shea's Oyster 72, Magrathea
. Eddie Jordan racing Oyster 655, Lush
Class One looks likely to be decided between two yachts. The Dolphin Sails Race was Koluka's second win of the regatta. However, Koluka is just 1.5 points ahead of Magrathea. The final race will settle the outcome. Eddie Jordan on board Lush lies third overall.
The evening festivities took place at The Aquarium restaurant and beach bar. A stunning location for the Oyster family to enjoy the cool sea breeze and twilight views of Grenada's picture-perfect historical centre St. Georges. Set amidst tropical gardens with Koi carp ponds and a waterfall, Oyster owners and their guests enjoyed a barbeque of local fayre and a night under the stars at a fabulous location.
Oyster Regatta Grenada – Pantaenius Race Day
16 April 2011
Photos: Ingrid Abery, Louay Habib
The happy smiling faces dockside at Port Louis were testament to a truly memorable Oyster Regatta on the magical island of Grenada. However there was an element of tension in the air, as Pantaenius Race Day was the last race to be sailed and a dramatic conclusion was to follow. The race area south west of Grenada was sublime, sunshine and crystal clear water with a warm breeze, which developed during the day, to a steady 12 knots.
Jonathan and Jane Mould's Oyster 72, Koluka continued their domination of Class One with their fourth victory, a clean sweep. An impressive performance but the couple did not come to Grenada just to compete, Jonathan and Jane were accompanied by their extended family, both daughters, husbands and grandchildren. "To be honest with you, the racing has been the most relaxing part. With three grandchildren all two or younger, it is a busy time ashore. My wife Jane has done most of the baby-sitting while I have gone sailing. It has been a lovely experience, it is always nice to do well but to be in such a wonderful place with my family that is something to savour for years to come."
Chris and Susan Shea's Oyster 72, Magarathea was a gallant second, who scored consistently through the regatta. Eddie Jordan on board Oyster 655, Lush finished the regatta in style with their best result of the week, a close second to the overall winners Koluka.
Alan and Sue Brook's Oyster 56, Sulana were clear leaders this morning but a dramatic event on the racecourse nearly cost them victory. A coming together with John McTigue's Blue Dreams meant a 20 percent penalty, resulting a 10th place for Sulana for the final race. However, their string of wins prior to the last race meant that Sulana held on to the top spot to win Class Two.
Alan Brook commented: "We have been in Grenada for six weeks now and I can safely say it is an excellent place for many reasons and a very fitting venue for Oyster yachts and their owners, I have an excellent crew on Sulana who all worked well together to contribute to our success but I think that we can all leave Grenada as winners, it has been an excellent event."
Second in Class Two was Scott Bickford's American Oyster 53, Contingency. David Fass' Oyster 56, A Sulana was third by just a single point. Meaning that Ian Galbraith's Scottish Oyster 53, Jigsaw and Stephen and Aileen Hyde's Irish Oyster 56, A Lady, just missed out on a podium finish.
Stephen and Aileen Hyde left Crosshaven, in Southern Ireland in the summer of 2009 and haven't been back since. After cruising their Oyster 56 down to Las Palmas, they crossed the Atlantic and continued west with the World ARC fleet. Stephen has written fascinating account of their 30,000-mile circumnavigation, which is being published in Oyster News.
'Without doubt, the most amazing place we have visited was the San Blas Islands." Commented Stephen. "The archipelago is composed of approximately 200 islands off the coast of Panama. Beautiful beaches free from crocodiles and mosquitoes and brilliant diving in the reefs, crystal clear waters with an amazing variety of wildlife, even black tipped Reef Sharks, which would often swim with us. When I suggested to my wife that we should sail around the world, she said absolutely nothing – No comment. However with just a few days to go until the start, she told me she was coming and was going to sail every mile. It has been a fantastic adventure."
On the final night of the Oyster Regatta Grenada, the prize giving party was held at Port Louis Marina. The new facility has been a splendid setting for the Oyster fleet and a fitting venue for the closing ceremony and party. Over 230 guests attended the evening with Grenadian Minister of Tourism, Hon. Peter David, as Guest of Honour. "Sailing is very important to Grenada, it is deeply rooted in our culture and I speak for the Prime Minister and all Grenadians, that we were delighted to welcome all of the Oyster yachts to our island and hope that you all return soon." Commented Peter David
After the prize giving, a gourmet four-course meal was served, it was a very happy occasion with crews toasting each other and recalling memorable moments during a fantastic week. A brilliant firework display over the marina capped off a truly wonderful regatta. The Oyster Regatta in Grenada had been a roaring success. Probably one of the main reasons for that is the warmth and friendship of the people of Grenada, something that the Oyster family appreciates a great deal.
A photo gallery of the Regatta is available to view in the events section of the website.
Results: Class 1
Results: Class 2
Article by Louay Habib