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#1 Jul 04, 2017 11:59 am

New Historian

Carriacou Regatta

The great thing about the Carriacou Regatta is that it is first and foremost a local affair. You don't find the glamour yachts like at Antigua Race Week and St Maarten, but you still find enough boats to make it interesting. The air is relaxed, to say the least, and such rules that do exist are simple and loosely enforced, as befits the general nature of the island. The visiting boats are generally a laid-back bunch who get on easily with the locals. It is a great place to simply hang out: no stress, no fuss, no problem.

Carriacou is a popular stopping-off point for long-term cruisers, and Tyrell Bay is always littered with boats of all description. There are always a few hard-chine steel yachts, mostly French flag, weighed down with tons of cruising gear. Many of the long-stayers put down roots in the local community, sprouting brown-skinned babies and French restaurants all over Tyrell Bay.

The highlight of the Regatta is the workboat races, which are keenly contested by sailors from Carriacou, Petit Martinique and Bequia. Don't imagine for one second that these are quaint but crude little fishing boats which can't compare with the modern stuff.  Wrong. These gaff-rigged wooden boats are 'reaching machines', carrying an enormous boom, huge mainsail and all sorts of inventive little add-on sails to squeeze the last ounce of speed out of the wind. Their only drawback is that because they have to be drawn up on the beach they do not have a keel, and hence are not so fast upwind. But off the wind, you can't touch them.

The fishermen of the Grenadines are some of the finest sailors in the world, and all are mad keen racers. They race all the time. First out to the fishing grounds, first to market, first everywhere. My boat just has to be faster than yours. Many of the smaller boats are purpose-built for racing and are surprisingly well fitted out with high-tech stuff like Kevlar sails, full-batten mains and aluminum masts.  No fish ever sullies their decks.


#2 Jul 05, 2017 8:40 am


Re: Carriacou Regatta

It is either you ah Kiak, or one day you are going to represent that island in Government.  An experience I must do the next time ah in Greens.


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