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Racing action at the Oyster Regatta Grenada

Events

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.

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.

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 with Sophistikate 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.

Oyster Yachts
+44 (0)1473 695 005
[email protected]
www.oysteryachts.com

Photos by Oyster Yachts/Mike Jones

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