The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race Series 2016 – Another Reason to Visit The Paradise Island!
February 8, 2016
Barbados… If you’ve never been to this stunning independent island in the East of the Caribbean, then we can confirm everything you’ve read about it is completely true. 3000 hours of sunshine a year, crystal clear waters, lush tropical greenery and that wonderful relaxed Bajan vibe. It’s truly is a paradise on earth.
As if that’s not enough to convince you, or you’re looking for excuses to return (we know we are), then January is most definitely the time to go, when you can enjoy the fantastic buzz on the island, courtesy of a certain competition – The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race Series 2016.
Luxuria Lifestyle UK were lucky enough to be part of the pre-race build up, in a prime spot to watch the boats tear around the northern tip of the island on race day and of course, we delighted in the after-party celebrations. It was Ms. Barbados with UK Team Concise who took home the prestigious trophy completing the 65 mile round-trip in a record-breaking time of two hours, 37 minutes and 38 seconds. An exciting, exhilarating race right to the end, Ms. Barbados were neck and neck to the finish with only 12 seconds separating them from second place Team Phaedo.
Now a huge event which attracts top speed sailors from around the globe, the Race Series is organised by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, the Barbados Cruising Club and of course, Mount Gay Rum! Its humble beginnings date back to the 19th Century when schooners competed for ‘bragging rights’ and a small prize. Back then, the slowest boat would win a barrel of Mount Gay Rum prompting two boats to stay at sea for days! Fast forward to the 21st Century and record-breakers of the race win the skipper’s weight in rum instead – every reason to fatten up the crew before the games begin!
With monohulls, multihulls and classics taking part in the competition, the race takes place on Errol Barrow Day – January 21st each year. Errol Walton Barrow who was a keen sailor, became Prime Minister in 1950, so a public holiday to celebrate this means everyone on the island can really get involved and believe us when we say, no-one holds back!
The race begins at the Barbados Cruising Club (Barrow was also one of their founding members). Participants make their way from Bridgetown, past the historic Carlisle Bay, Sandy Lane Bay and up to the northern tip where the conditions are at their most ferocious – here, competitors can really feel full force of the Atlantic. Battling waves and wind shifts, the journey continues down the eastern side from deep waters into shallow waters and back to the club. Sounds easy yes?!
Not exactly.. A tonne of hard work and a super dedicated crew are the secrets to success, according to CEO of Team Concise, Tony Lawson. As a boy, Tony sailed to Barbados in a 1910 ‘Baltic Trader’ and the island soon became home. Flying the Bajan flag was something Tony felt he owed to the island for making him feel so welcome – so this was an extra heartfelt win. Even better that they would take home the trophy in the year Barbados celebrates 50 years of Independence.
Keen to learn more about the experience, Luxuria Lifestyle UK were also honoured to spend a morning aboard Ms. Barbados. At 21.2 metres long and with maximum speeds of up to 40 knots, the Concise 10 MOD 70 really is a force to be reckoned with – it was most definitely a thrilling ride, but as we thrashed against the waves of the Caribbean Sea, we felt quite safe in the knowledge that this experienced crew had sailed to victory just the day before! We felt even more privileged later, upon learning that at a recent charity auction, a day’s sailing on Ms. Barbados was bought for $40,000!
Congratulations were in order at the Regatta Dinner at The Beach House when Ms. Barbados celebrated their win, but they also received skipper Ned Wakefield’s weight in rum – that’s 9 cases of Mount Gay XO! And what better way to celebrate than with a drink that has been made on the island since 1703?!
Next year’s race dates have already been announced, so make sure you’re booked for Barbados between the 16th-23rd January 2017. Although if you can’t wait that long, get in on the excitement at the Round Antigua Race – you’ll only have to wait until April 23rd!