Ms. Barbados, Queen of the Sea Sailing Around Barbados.
When you hear the word “sailboat” what comes to mind? A bunch of swanky people sipping martinis along the smooth coastal waters? Maybe a gang of pirates with patch covered eyes and worn out parrots for pets. Anyone out there gets the visual of Bill Murray in “What about Bob?”. Just checking.
Let me share with you the image that I will forever hold in regards to this exciting sport while sailing around Barbados.
Barbados is home to a sailing race dating back to the 19th century, a competition that started in 1936 challenging a captain & crew sailing around Barbados. There are several classes ranging from the size of the craft to the number of team members aboard. Imagine if a bird flew in a full circle around the island, the race would be about 60 miles, but due to the wind and rough waters, the machines end up doing over 70 miles.
Starting on the southwest coast at Carlisle Bay, they gathered for an even line up before kicking into gear. We were lucky enough to be in the water for the starting line.
In electric blue is Ms.Barbados Team Concise, led by Captain Ned Wakefield, a young British man with driven energy and smiling eyes. Alongside, a group of hand selected team members including my dear local friend Robert Povey, a lion with a heart of gold. The fierce competitor Phaedo3 (in the bright green) is carried by an American captain Lloyd Thornburg.
There was no question of when these power-houses turned up the knots and began the chase up the 20 mile stretch in the “calmest” waters of the race.
The photos hardly express the power behind these massive machines. We were almost full throttle (holding on tight!) pushing over 35 mph, and they were leaving us in the midst of their ocean spray.
I wanted to try and show the speed of these sexy trimarans, so I took a video from our boat. Forgive the quality, but I left it raw to demonstrate the intensity from a distance. You’ll get the idea by viewing this video on YouTube.
We weren’t the only ones out there to get up close and personal. Here’s a view if you took your eyes of the main attraction.
As the group reached the top of the island (refer to the Barbados maps), you’ll realize that when they’re fighting the massive Atlantic waves, there’s nothing between them and Africa!
This would be the last time we’d see them before they would complete the entire circle. As I watched the sails shrink into specks, I was able to tune into my heart rate and breathing, which at that moment felt as if I was the one racing!
Considering the previous record was over 4 hours long, we knew we had some time to kill. Once they left our sight, we turned around to head back south towards the finish line and to snag a quick bite.
What…What’s this?! They’re already done! Destroying the record time, these MOD70’s completed the journey sailing around Barbados in only 2 hours and 37 minutes! I’m proud to say that Ms.Barbados powered through the finish 12 seconds faster and we were lucky enough to catch them celebrating on the water!
I’ll admit I was pleased when speaking with a member from Phaedo3 after the race. He expressed in a genuine tone that although they came here to win, the race and its results were that of two exceptional teams and a lot of hard work. Couldn’t have been any closer.
Let me just confirm for you that not only are these athletes hard working and extremely focused on their passion; they also hold true to the definition of gentlemen. Yes, they can drink rum like water and probably curse a few gentle words on the water, but when ladies are present, these fine men present themselves in an honorable fashion. What a pleasure to not only have seen them race first hand but to personally know the workforce behind it all.
Watch the video here (courtesy Caribbean News Media) to see the stretch across the beautiful Caribbean water finish line.
No victory (or any celebration for that matter) in Barbados would end here. The after party was simply the beginning of an evening of great people on a natural high still thriving off the adrenaline supplied from the day.
It seems impossible to ignore the sunsets of Barbados as they caress the calm Caribbean waters. On this evening it almost looked like the waters smiled back in the contentment of the day’s event sailing around Barbados.
Many thanks to Stewart, Alex, Jason, Stacey and Carina for making the day what it was!
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.