Sailing season starts with J24 National Championships

J24 National Championships promises to be a small but fiercely competitive regatta.

J24 National Championships promises to be a small but fiercely competitive regatta.

This weekend the Saint Lucia National J24 Championships will take place in Rodney Bay, with a half dozen local J24 crews competing in advance of the Mango Bowl Regatta which is slated for November 29 to December 1.

Organised by the Saint Lucia Yacht Club, the fleet may be small, but the competition will be fierce as SaInt Lucia’s keelboat sailors vie for the trophy in a total of eight races over Saturday and Sunday.  The J24 is a twenty-four foot racing yacht, crewed by an average of 5 sailors, and this weekend’s fleet will include some of the island’s top racers, both youth and adult.

Fresh from an impressive performance in the Women’s Laser Radial World Championships in China, Stephanie Devaux-Lovell and Beth Lygoe will take the tiller on separate boats, pitting sailor against coach in friendly rivalry; Steph will skipper a youth crew aboard SLYC’s ‘Grayling’, while Beth joins the team of ‘Buffalo Soldier’. SLYC Sailing Captain Fredric Sweeney will skipper the trophy-winning ‘Sugar Beach Attitude’ crew, ages 14 to 26, who are the United Insurance J24 Southern Caribbean Champions following their success at the Bequia Regatta at Easter.

Seasoned racers are also expected to participate, with former Olympian Mike Green leading the crew of ‘JCB’, who won the United Insurance J24 Match-racing Cup in Barbados last year, and Nic Forsberg will skipper the ‘Jabal’ crew. It is also hoped that the island’s first ever J24, Loose Cannon, will be available to participate in the event.

Registration will be from 5.30pm to 6:30pm on Friday 1st November at St Lucia Yacht Club with the Skippers Briefing at 6.30pm. Racing is scheduled to start at 9am on Saturday and Sunday, with the Prize-giving Ceremony at the Yacht Club on Sunday at 4pm.

In other sailing news, plans for the second Mango Bowl Regatta are in full gear, with new Silver Sponsors United Insurance having confirmed their participation only last week. Entries have already been received from Martinique, Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad, and the organising committee is looking forward to an increase in the number of competing boats due to the success of the inaugural event.

The Mango Bowl Regatta is governed by ISAF regulations and open to the following classes of yacht:

• Racing: (spinnaker) – Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) Certificate

• Cruising I: (non-spinnaker) Simplified CSA Rating Rule – (Intended for live-aboards and “fun” competitors without a CSA measurement certificate; includes Catamarans)

• J-24: (One Design Class, spinnaker)

• Surprise: (One Design Class, spinnaker)

The free Mango Bowl Spectator Boat will be up close to the action for all racing sessions, with refreshments on sale and a party atmosphere – a great opportunity to experience the sport of sailing in St Lucia.  On Saturday, November 30th, the Mango Bowl Marina Lime at the Boardwalk Bar will introduce a new social event to the regatta schedule, with Day 1 results at 7.30pm and live music from 8.00pm.

The Mango Bowl organizers would like to thank the growing number of event sponsors, including IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Blue Waters, Saint Lucia Tourist Board, United Insurance, Mount Gay Rum, Heineken, Island Waterworld, Johnson’s Hardware, Regis Electronics, Rodney Bay Sails, Boardwalk Bar and Café Ole. Look out for more information in the coming weeks on www.stluciayachtclub.com.

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