Rum country

A report and photographs from a blissful Angostura Tobago Sailweek

Tuesday May 29th 2007, Author: Event press/dailysail, Location: United Kingdom
Another gleaming day in Tobago dawned with the fleet anxious to head out to the start line for the final days racing at Angostura Tobago Sailweek culminating on Friday 19th May. With many places on the podium still hanging in the balance, and a lot of races to get through, no one could rest on their laurels. It was crucial for everyone to do their best in every race order to secure a winning position.

This splendid little regatta that rounds up the Caribbean Sailing Season boasts a feisty fleet of racing boats including a group of Beneteau First 10m, Melges 32’, Henderson 36’, all flaunting their sophisticated carbon accessories and 3DL sails. In the more sedate Cruiser Racing and Cruising class there are elegant designs like Sparkman & Stephens 34’, Santa Cruz 70’ and Oyster 66’. There is something for everyone in Tobago and all competitors are reigned in under the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) rating system. Yacht like Crash Test Dummies, Bruggadung, and Storm are well campaigned throughout the region and bring a standard of excellence to the racing in Tobago. Racing class go through four starts and finishes a day – the Lay Day offers some time for R&R out on the cool, blue, Bon Accord Lagoon.

Racing Classes

Even though Bruggadung II was in pole position on the score board, they had to fight hard to keep their lead bringing in a third, fourth and finally first positions in the three races. Once again they have conquered the racing fleet in Tobago with a total of 20 points followed by Storm with 46 points, and High Tension B Mobile with 54.

A surprising flurry came from outsider, Whistler, who pulled a rabbit out of the hat on the last day to cadge first and second place in the first two races. Apparently the boys had run out of Bajan rum and finally switched to Angostura Black which made all the difference!

Cruiser Racer class was won by Mr. President himself (TTSA’s very own Jerome McQuilkin) aboard Wayward. He was anything thing but wayward this week, buckling down first place in sixth out of eight races to secure 11 points overall. The Bajans are never far behind the Trinis, and Rapajam came in a decent second with 17 points keeping Huey Too at a comfortable distance with 28 points. Huey Too is celebrating 40 years on the sea which merited a special prize.

Cruising Classes

This fleet was in extremely close competition with Business Machine and Nirvana tied in second position at the end of racing yesterday. Both Lloyd De Roche and Marsha Farfan were determined to win and go home with the prize. The decision was made right from the beginning when Business Machine suffered from a bad start and only managed to get Nirvana in their wake on the last two legs. Although Business Machine got line honours, Nirvana won on corrected time and Merlin came in with a very decent third place. The scores were seven, nine and ten respectively.

Even in Charter Class the favorites had to fight to keep up their reputation, with David Downie on Saga Boy coming in first with six points followed swiftly by Annie T with nine points. Alimata 3 came in third with 12 points just one point ahead of Ambrosia. A very close run thing indeed!

The Scottish Contigent

“Ach! Life’s a Beach” exclaimed the crew from Annie T, a group of lads who hail from the Shetland Islands in the outer Hebrides who come every year to the Angostura Tobago Sail Week in Tobago.

This crazy tribe of Scotsmen migrate ritually from Shetland (one of the most northerly islands in the British Isles) to Tobago (one of the most southerly islands in the Caribbean) to take part in this special little regatta sponsored by Angostura Rum. Why? Well, perhaps the free flowing rum lures them down south, but it’s also got to have something do with the excellent sailing conditions, the dynamic racing, the après sail beach parties and a crowd who now know them all by name.

Skipper Robert Thompson (light blue shirt abov) charters Annie T his Jenneau 51 from Moorings in Canuan and combines one week racing in Tobago with one week cruising in the Grenadines before returning to colder climes.

Scott, one of his burly Viking at the Prize Giving party said “Its been fantastic fun. Greet sailing. We jest luv it here. I’ve gone from blue to pink in just 5 days” referring to his tan.

Thanks to the Vikings, Annie T took home a very decent 2nd place in the charter fleet and will be sharpening their pickaxes for next year when they are determined to win the summit of the podium in Tobago.

The final wrap

The committee were accompanied by Chief Judge Geoffrey Pidduck, Chris Martin his second in command, and Race Officer, James Benoit. The observer for protest was Dave Irwin from Ambition Sailing. All gentlemen are Gentlemen in every sense of the word, and it is no wonder that after the last race on the last day, the committee catamaran took off with all colours flying to the Bon Accord blue lagoon for a dip to relax. At dusk they returned to the bay to do the traditional lap of honour through the moorings as crews cheered and blew horns to congratulate them on a job well done. (Starting and finishing 27 races with impeccable timing is no mean feat!)

Having scrubbed up, primped and preened everyone came out to enjoy a final night of fun at the prize giving dinner, seated under the flamboyant trees, overlooking Store Bay. A more delightful ambiance would be hard to find – but we have found it here in Tobago.

The tranquility of a delicious, grilled mahi mahi dinner prepared by the Chart House chefs at Crown Point Hotel, was followed by a special live performance by Denise Plummer who geared the crowd up for a night of partying under the stars which lasted well into the wee hours.

Angostura Sailing Week will start on 11th May next year – book in for more sweet, sweet T&T.

More pictures on the following pages...

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