Professional and Competitive Sailing in Barbados
Sailing is just another example of how the earliest settlers have had a profound and lasting effect on our culture. From the Arawaks and Caribs who got here by boat, canoes and makeshift sail boats, to the English who glided up to our coast on great monstrous looking sailing vessels, sailing has stuck and rightly so as Barbados has near perfect conditions for the sport.
Clear beautiful sea, constant breezes courtesy of the south-easterly trade winds and perpetual sunshine, not to mention all the bays that run around the island hosting calm waters for easy sailing.
The racing season of the Barbados sailing Association starts early, in January, with the first big race being the annual Round the Island race, which is long and gruelling. The season runs straight through until late July.
Throughout this period there are many regattas sponsored by local companies and every other weekend there is a race in Carlisle Bay that accumulates towards the Round the Buoys series, to be tallied at the end of the season.
Apart from local regattas, a fair amount of the boats in the local fleet also take part in regattas in other islands like St. Martin, Carriacou, Grenada and Bequia, but the most popular foreign regatta for locals to attend is definitely the annual Angostura Tobago Race Week, held in Tobago, in May every year. Theres a bit of rivalry that exists between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, nobody seems to know how it originated but it is evident in sailing.
Many Bajan boats go to Tobago and likewise many Trini (from Trinidad and Tobago) boats come to Barbados for our biggest regatta, Mount Gay Boatyard Regatta held in Barbados in June of every year. Two Bajan boats claimed victory after four days of racing in Tobago this year. In racing class Blazin beat out all the competition and likewise in cruising class, Rapajam was the leading boat. Heady with a feeling of deep accomplishment the boats and crews returned to Barbados to prepare for the Mount Gay Boatyard Regatta three weeks later. Once again the two boats reigned supreme and thus, 2005 will go down as the first year in remembered history that a Bajan boat won both the Tobago regatta and the Barbados regatta.
As the 2005 sailing season ends, the boats and crews have another six months to prepare for follow up victories in 2006.