Polished Performance

08 April 2013

Hosted by Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina on the magical island of Grenada, the Oyster fleet has come together for the annual Caribbean Oyster Regatta. Today, the Oyster fleet is registering for the regatta and crews are meticulously preparing their boats for the Concours d’Elegance. Racing in the glittering waters of Grenada will start tomorrow with a passage race to Le Phare Bleu.

Spectacular social events are a key feature of every Oyster Regatta and tonight The Beach Cabana, Mount Cinnamon will be a fitting venue for a welcome cocktail party and barbeque supper. With spectacular uninterrupted views over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and two miles of white sands on Grand Anse Beach, The Beach Cabana is one of the most beautiful settings in Grenada, providing a perfect island-getaway.

Opening Night at Mount Cinnamon

09 April 2013

The opening night of the Oyster Regatta Grenada was a spectacular occasion. Oyster owners and their guests enjoyed a traditional Grenadian welcome at Mount Cinnamon’s Beach Cabana on Grand Anse Beach. After an electrifying performance by the Tivoli Drummers, Oyster CEO David Tydeman introduced the guests of honour for the opening night. Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Nickolas Steele and Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture The Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel. Minister Nickolas Steele, an avid sailor was delighted to accept an invitation to race with the Oyster fleet during the Regatta.

The Oyster family enjoyed a sumptuous barbeque supper of traditional Grenadian dishes accompanied by one of the islands finest soul singers, Jenny Jeremiah. The first race will start today with a passage race to Le Phare Bleu.

Close Racing in Paradise

10 April 2013

Racing at the Oyster Regatta Grenada got off to a fantastic start with an adrenalin pumping passage race to Le Phare Bleu on the rocky south coast of Grenada, sponsored by Dolphin Sails.

Oyster CEO and Race Officer, David Tydeman set a 20-mile course. 20 knots of warm trade winds, gusting close to 25 knots in bullets of pressure, set pulses racing for the downwind start before the Oyster fleet turned upwind to race around to the south of the island. There were close encounters throughout the Oyster fleet and a fabulous day’s racing was complete, as the wind abated to 12 knots for the last downwind leg to Le Phare Bleu creating a nail biting finish.

In Class 1, Michael Hahn’s American Oyster 655, Matawai was the victor, but only just. After over two and a half hours racing, Matawai took the win on corrected time by only 3 seconds from Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean. Roberto Bisiani’s, Italian Oyster 72 Bill and Me was third.

Michael Hahn and his crew were elated when they heard about the win. “This is the first race I have won at an Oyster Regatta.” Cheered Michael. “We have come very close many times, so to win by such a small margin is a pleasure. The crew work today was the big reason for our success, everybody concentrated and kept to the plan, what a great way to start the regatta.”

Oyster 82, Mathilda Sound was sailed by Hilton and Louise Nathanson, the couple have never raced before and for their debut, Hilton and Louise were joined by their two sons, Oliver and Tate and accompanied by Oyster's Klaas Meertens and his son, Damian. Hilton steered all day but gave the honour of crossing the finish line to Damian Meertens. Oliver Hilton caddied on the mainsheet, whilst Tate was in charge of furling the headsails. With three crew aged 12 or under, Mathilda Sound was a youthful affair but all three youngsters concentrated dutifully on their tasks.

“That was a totally different experience to cruising but we all absolutely loved it.” Smiled Hilton. “You learn so much pushing the boat and it was great to see all the family getting involved. We didn’t have the best start but had a great battle with Bill and Me in the early part of the race and managed to get past and hold them off past Point Salines that was so exciting; we were touching 12 knots of boat speed with Bill and Me just behind us for over half an hour but eventually they played the conditions better than us to get back in front. I have to say Louise and I have really caught the racing bug but we know how we can improve next time.”

In Class Two, the British Oyster 56, Sarabi expertly sailed by Harvey & Sue Death won today’s race but it was far from an easy, Chris Glossop’s British Oyster 575, Dreamer of Hamble was less than a minute behind in second and British Oyster 575, Sophistikate sailed by Richard & Angela Parkinson was third.

Jon Sturmer from Dolphin Sails was racing aboard Sophistikate for today’s race. Jon has been sailing for 30 years, racing dinghies and regularly competes in local and international regattas on a variety of boats.

“That was very exciting. Sophistikate is very well sailed and Richard on the helm was asking all the right questions about how to improve their performance. The battle with Dreamer of Hamble was great, we managed to keep ahead of them for the early part of the race but the pressure was on throughout and Dreamer of Hamble managed the last mark rounding just a bit better than us to sneak through. I have to say that racing at Oyster Regattas really improves the standard of the owners’ sailing and for me it is a practical insight into how our products are working and its invaluable to sail with customers and talk to them about solutions and ideas.”

After racing, Oyster owners and their guests enjoyed a night moored at Le Phare Bleu. One of Grenada’s finest beachfront resorts, Le Phare Bleu is tucked away in Petit Calivigny Bay, on the fissured south coast of Grenada. The friendly, family run establishment has lovely touches such as, a floating pontoon hammock and one of it’s main attraction is an old Swedish lighthouse vessel, the Västra Banken. Courtesy of island Water World, the Oyster family enjoyed cocktails on board accompanied by a floating steel band, which really got the party started before a fine buffet at Le Phare Bleu’s airy al fresco restaurant. After dinner, the Oyster entourage pulled back the tables to enjoy dancing into the night with music by local soft rock and reggae band, D Unit.

Racing continues today, Wednesday 10th April with a passage race sponsored by Pelagos Yachts, to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, where exciting downwind conditions are anticipated with an evening of cocktails and fine dining to follow, at the award-winning La Luna Resort.

Sparkling under Spinnakers

11 April 2013

Racing at the Oyster Regatta Grenada continued with glorious conditions for the predominantly downwind passage race to Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina s ponsored by Pelagos Yachts.

A reciprocal course to yesterday’s high-octane opener was blessed with fabulous sailing conditions, clear blue skies and 15 to 20 knots of southeasterly breeze provided a sublime reach back to Grenada’s capital, St Georges. The Oyster fleet was a magnificent sight, gliding elegantly downwind with colourful spinnakers reflected in the crystal blue Caribbean water.

“This is just fantastic!” Beamed, Irishman Séamus O'Donnell, skipper on board Oyster 66, Elvis Magic. “There is nothing like being afloat in the Caribbean in an Oyster. The conditions are just magnificent and the boat is so comfortable. I have owned a few boats and none of them have been anywhere as well built and solid as an Oyster. We stay on the boat whenever we sail her and there is not a squeak below deck and personally I love the hardwood finish; you can keep your plastic interiors. The one thing I did miss whilst cruising was fresh bread until we installed our bread maker and now we have lovely fresh bread everyday. Elvis Magic will be available for charter in the BVI but we have plans to go cruising up in Newport, New York and possibly Maine in the near future.”

In today’s race, Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean romped home winning by over 14 minutes in Class 1. The magnificent yacht did have a secret weapon; 10 year old, Sasha Tydeman who is quite a whiz at maths and the crew roundly applauded her for her excellent time keeping, which led to their great start. Roberto Bisiani, Italian Oyster 72, Bill and Me sailed well to take second with American Oyster 82, Rivendell, taking third by a whisker, just seven seconds behind after time correction.

In Class Two, Chris Glossop’s, British Oyster 575, Dreamer of Hamble dominated the class winning by over 14 minutes on corrected time. In second place Harvey & Sue Death’s Oyster 56, Sarabi added a second place to their points tally and Paul Bateman‘s British Oyster 56, Stardust of Burnham was third.

Race sponsor, Pelagos Yachts are represented by Declan O’Sullivan who is sailing with Ray & Birgitte Charmak’s Oyster 53, Out of India for the regatta. “I am delighted to be here” said Declan. “And not just from a business point of view, Oyster Regattas are great fun and the people are special, real characters and entertaining to be with. I have sailed with Ray & Brigitte before and it is just fantastic to see them again and enjoy sailing in one of the world’s finest locations.”

After racing, Oyster owners and their guests enjoyed a night at La Luna Resort. Tucked away near Morne Rouge Bay, the award-winning designer resort has been the secret hideaway of the rich and famous.

Voted by The Sunday Times as one of the best hotels in the world, La Luna is the benchmark for luxury in Grenada. Oyster owners and their guests enjoyed a fabulous cocktail party and supper with an Italian flavour, echoing the owners’ Calabrian roots.

With a lay day scheduled for Thursday, 11th April, the party went on long into the night, no doubt many of the Oyster family will be enjoying refreshing Virgin Coladas today, on one of Grenada’s many fine pink sandy beaches. Racing will continue on Friday, 12th April, starting and finishing at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina.

Thrills and Spills

13 April 2013

After a lay day relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Grenada, the Oyster fleet returned to racing action with a tight and tactical triangular course just outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. The proximity of the western coastline of Grenada provided a shifty, gusting racetrack and there was drama right from the start with thrills and spills throughout the day.

In Class One, Michael Hahn's American Oyster 655, Matawai was over eager and under race rules had to roll up their sails and watch the fleet get away. However, Matawai made a fantastic recovery to be the second boat to reach the top mark. Even after being put about by Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean, Matawai had a great first beat but shortly after the windward mark, the Oyster 82, Rivendell, skippered by Benjamin Jackson, was the first to risk a spinnaker on a tight angle and the ploy paid off as Rivendell became the leading boat on the water, closely followed by Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean, Matawai and Bill Dockser's Oyster 82, Ravenous II. Starry Night showed great boat speed to take the lead and extend on the fleet and Rivendell stayed clear of trouble to remain second on the water. Meanwhile, Matawai and Ravenous II had an epic duel. The battle royal in Class One was too close to call, even after time correction Starry Night and Matawai could not be separated and both yachts were awarded first place, with one scoring race left tomorrow, the class title is going to the wire with both yachts on equal points. Rivendell took third place in the race and are now challenging Roberto Bisiani's Italian Oyster 72, Bill and Me for third overall.

In Class Two, Chris Glossop's Oyster 575, Dreamer of Hamble was the last yacht to cross the start line today but took line honours and their second win of the regatta. The team on Dreamer of Hamble are all members or supporters of Ballyholme YC in Northern Ireland. "Not the best start!" Laughed Chris Glossop "But the team sailed well, and we have done many miles together over the years, which makes a big difference. We have enjoyed a great battle with Sarabi and loved having dinner with them the other evening but we hope to cap off a great regatta in style tomorrow."

Dreamer of Hamble have opened up a slender lead at the top of Class Two, after Harvey & Sue Death's Oyster 56, Sarabi slipped to third today. Richard & Angela Parkinson's Oyster 575, Sophistikate came second after a dramatic recovery. Sophistikate managed to get tangled up in a fishing net shortly after the start but quick action by Roger Cerrato from regatta sponsor Lewmar, limited the time lost and Sophistikate are now third in class with one scoring race to go, equal on points with Paul Bateman's Oyster 56, Stardust of Burnham.

"It was just one of those things." Said Roger Cerrato after racing. "I managed to hang off the back of Sophistikate and cut us free, I am here to give support to Lewmar customers at the regatta but it is really beneficial to go out sailing with our valued clients and help them in any way I can. Even if it means getting a bit wet in the process, it is still fantastic to get out on the water!"

The penultimate venue for the Oyster family's social programme was the unique tropical Aquarium Restaurant on Magazine Beach. The impressive waterside eatery is famous for seafood and local fish dishes melded from Grenadian and European recipes. The Oyster fleet enjoyed superb appetisers followed by a seafood barbeque and a freshly sliced carvery, all served by friendly staff in a delightful atmosphere. The Aquarium is considered as one of Grenada's favourite restaurants and the al fresco beachfront location with striking sculptures was a magical location.

Two races are scheduled for the last day of racing with one scoring race and a non-scoring pursuit race planned. Class One hangs in the balance with a straight shoot-out between Matawai and Starry Night of the Caribbean with a winner-takes-all final race. In Class Two, Dreamer of Hamble is in pole position. However, if Sarabi can win the last scoring race of the Oyster Regatta Grenada, the team from the UK will take the class title.

Firework Finale

14 April 2013

The last day of racing at the Oyster Regatta Grenada, sponsored by Raymarine was once again blessed with lively trade wind conditions. 20 knots of breeze, gusting at times to 25 knots, provided lively conditions for the magnificent Oyster fleet. A 12-mile course with an offshore mark set to the west meant a downwind start followed by a tight fetch to Glovers Island and a reaching finish towards Grand Anse Beach.

Class Two was away first and a very competitive start had Sue and Harvey Death’s British Oyster 56, Sarabi hitting the line with pace alongside Richard & Angela Parkinson’s Oyster 575, Sophistikate but Oyster 53, Star of India sailed by Ray & Birgitte Charmak judged the line to perfection to cross first. Class leader, British Oyster 575, Dreamer of Hamble, skippered by Chris Glossop also got away well and the favoured pin end and stayed out of bad air to take up the lead. Beautifully sailed, Dreamer of Hamble opened up a lead that was never really compromised. Taking line honours and the win for the third occasion, the Dreamer of Hamble crew raised their hands crossing the line to celebrate victory in the race and Class Two overall. Sophistikate held out to claim second in the race by just 12 seconds from Sarabi. However Sarabi finished in the top three every race and was second overall withSophistikate placed third for the regatta.

Harvey & Sue Death and daughter Alice come from Cambridge in the UK and although Harvey loves motor racing, he has virtually never yacht raced before. “We didn’t commission Sarabi to race, next week Sue’s family are arriving and we will be cruising around Grenada and the Grenadines but I am competitive and I have really enjoyed the regatta, especially as the strong winds have definitely taught us a few things about how to manage the boat. All credit to Chris (Glossop), Dreamer of Hamble who has been so fast and a lot of that is down to the racing experience of his team.”

“We have had a smashing time in Grenada, it is my favourite Caribbean island.” Smiled Sue Death. “No racing next week though! It is time to chill out, relax and enjoy ourselves; swimming off the back of the boat in the beautiful locations we plan to visit, and firing up the barbecue and enjoying a sundowner in the cockpit.”

An identical course was set for the last scoring race of the regatta, which proved to be the most competitive in the four race series. The Oyster 82, Rivendell, skippered by Benjamin Jackson sailed a superb race to take the gun with Oyster 82, Starry Night of the Caribbean crossing in second place less than a minute later. Bill Dockser’s American Oyster 82, Ravenous II was third over the line. However, after time correction, Starry Night of the Caribbean was awarded the win and effectively the class title.

‘It has been very competitive and we have thoroughly enjoyed the regatta.” Smiled Starry Night of the Caribbean skipper, Roger Whyld. “It is not that often that we can mix it up with three other Oyster 82’s and I am sure if Pandemonium was not participating in the Oyster World Rally, she would have been here too. Hopefully we can have another great turn out soon as it has been so much fun to sail with the Starry Night of the Caribbean crew and all on board have had a great regatta.”

An exhibition Pursuit Race was held after the last scoring race of the regatta with each yacht given their own start based on their performance during the regatta. Joe & Cathy Leitch racing Oyster 575, On Liberty held their nerve to win the Pursuit Race by a comfortable margin. John McTigue’s Oyster 56, Blue Dreams was second and Roberto Bisiani’s Italian Oyster 72, Bill & Me was placed third.

After racing, Oyster Regatta sponsor Pantaenius represented by John McCurdy awarded the best starters of the day a celebratory bottle of champagne. John has done so every day at the Oyster Regatta. “Starts are incredibly important but also tinged with risk and it has been delightful to see that although this has been an incredibly competitive regatta, the competitors have acted in a safe and courteous way throughout. The Oyster Yachts are racing but the ethos of the regatta is that safety should always come first and rightly so.”

The aptly named Victory Bar and Restaurant at the Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina was the venue for the final party for the Oyster family. Delicious canapés and cocktails by the pool with fire dancers lighting up the ensemble opened the evening followed by the final prize giving ceremony. Guest of honour was Senator Brenda Hood who was joined by Nikoyan Roberts from the Grenada Board of Tourism.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here and I would like to thank everyone for participating in the Oyster Regatta,” Commented Senator Hood. “The regatta brings a lot of revenue to Grenada and the people really appreciate that you have chosen our beautiful marina as your venue. I hope you have all enjoyed your second visit to Grenada and that you will come back again, we understand the importance of yachting to Grenada and we understand the trickle down effect that your regatta will do to promote sailing here. What you see here is what you get and for those of you who believe in the Almighty God, we say that when God wants a vacation, he comes to Grenada!”

David Tydeman opened the proceedings and was assisted by Oyster Shareholder, Klaas Meertens. “A warm thank you to Grenada for giving Oyster such fantastic support and friendship in organising and hosting the regatta but the biggest thank you of all must go to the Oyster owners. Without them we couldn't have a regatta at all and we know that the Oyster regatta programme is incredibly popular.

The awards ceremony was followed by a plate served sumptuous taster menu accompanied by fine wine and was well received by the Oyster family. After dinner, a terrific firework display lit up the marina and for those who had enough energy, live music and dancing, concluded a week-long regatta with terrific sailing and social parties.

Written by: Louay Habib
Photos: Mike Jones

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