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TOBAGO - sailing

Date May 27, 2005 Compliments of the Nation News

LOCAL SAILORS will be seeking to build on their successes at the recent Tobago Sail Week when the 20th annual Mount Gay/Boatyard Regatta sails off today.

However, as usual they will have strong competition from regional boats, particularly entrants from Trinidad.

Officials from Mount Gay, the Boatyard, the Barbados Yacht Club and the Barbados Sailing Association Inc disclosed these and other details of the event at a recent press conference.

Around 30 boats, including five or so from Trinidad and Tobago, will compete in the event, which consists of a series of five races, sailed over three days.

Bajans dominated the racing in Tobago, with Peter Burke's Blazin' and Ralph Johnson's Rapajam winning the Racing and Cruiser-Racer classes respectively. Both boats are expected to be contenders again this weekend, and the crew of Blazin' has, since returning to Barbados, been working feverishly to ensure that the boat is in top condition.

Blazin', a Bennetau 10-Metre, will be competing in the Racing Class, which attracts the most modern and competitive boats, fully outfitted for racing with few creature comforts. This class will attract the bulk of the Trini boats, including High Tension which placed third in Tobago, Baccanal Woman and Wajang both sister boats to Blazin and the Henderson 30 Paulie Wants a Cracker.

Also sailing in this class will be local boats Bruggadung II and Ninja, bringing the total number of 10-metres to five. Bruggdung II will be skippered by Andrew Burke, who has won this event more times than any other skipper.

Rounding off the Bajan contingent will Peter Douglas' ultra-modern Melges 24 Fast and Furious, competing in their first major event, and the equally modern J105 Whistler, owned by Peter Lewis.

Whistler placed second in Grenada Sailing Festival earlier this year, but they will nevertheless be glad that Grenada is further away from Barbados than it is from Tobago. However, one boat that will not be present is Dougie Myers' Legacy.

Myers, who won last year's event, passed away a few weeks later.

Rapajam will be racing in the Cruising A Class, designed for those boats that are more comfortable, but still want to fly a spinnaker. They will face keen competition from No Compromise and captain Bill Tempro, a former GP14 world champion. Ron Hunte's Jaystar will also be a keen contender, as will C-Mos from Trinidad.

The Cruising B class is designed for those cruising boats that do not want to fly a spinnaker and will include past winner Jump Up sailed by Jerome Reid, as well as Alan Taylor and Tony Hoad's Su and Sea Wyf from Trinidad.

The event will also feature a multihull class and the favourite here is Robert Povey's Silver Bullet, which won the round-the-island race in January this year. Povey will have keen competition from the two firebirds Phoenix and Firefly, as well as Andy Tempro's Cat-O-Nine and Ronnie Williams' Tyco.

Also competing in this year's event will a group of Australians who have started a charity called "Sailstrong", the marine version of Lance Armstrong's "Livestrong" campaign, raising fund for cancer by selling shirts and hats.


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