The young crew of ‘Attitude’ had high hopes in mind as they set sail for Bequia in the middle of the night on March 27, but even they could not have foreseen the success they achieved in one of the Caribbean’s most popular regattas over the Easter weekend. The Heineken sponsored event saw more than 50 boats taking part in five classes over three days of sailing, with fierce competition from Barbados, Martinique and other OECS islands.
‘Attitude’ competed in the J24 Class, taking two out of three races on Friday and Saturday to win the United Insurance Cup, then came joint second on Monday in
an almost dead heat with merely half a second separating the first four boats. Their overall performance won them the Southern Caribbean J24 Champions Cup and overall Bequia Regatta Winners, not bad at all considering this was the crew’s first competition on newly nicknamed ‘Bad Attitude’. Sailing fans may remember that ‘Blonde Attitude’ took the J24 honours at St Lucia’s inaugural Mango Bowl Regatta last December – same boat, different (all female) crew, but with the same winning formula of a strong skipper, well-trained, capable sailors and a killer instinct on the course.
Twenty-four-year-old skipper Fredric Sweeney is not new to Bequia, having won the J24 Class in 2007 when he was just 17. Freddy is the St Lucia Yacht Club Sailing Captain, and it was his vision to take another young crew to the fixture to gain racing experience ahead of the 2013 Mango Bowl to be held from Nov 29 – Dec 1 in Rodney Bay. The ‘Bad Attitude’ team consisted of Dylan Charles (16), Konstantin Tonkopi (13), Ryan Alexander (24) and Cameron Bevan, whose racing yacht ‘X-Factor’ has seen a lot of success this year but did not compete at Bequia. There were plenty seasoned sailors in the regatta, and racing was aggressive in windy conditions, but as the young St Lucian team racked up win after win, they received plenty of support from the crowd, including invitations to compete in Barbados and Antigua in upcoming events.
After celebrating their win, it was time to head back to St Lucia in 30 knot winds and eight foot seas – the J24 is a small keelboat so it was a gruelling journey, and after 15 hours at sea, the crew pulled into Marigot Bay and overnighted before returning triumphant to Rodney Bay Marina where they were met by a small group of happy supporters and showed off all their trophies. Exhausted, grubby and hungry they may have been, but not one young sailor would have changed the trip for anything, and it’s obvious from the glint in their eyes that they have their sights set on the J24 Caribbean Championships slated for Barbados in June.
Results: J24 Class: Bad Attitude (St Lucia); first, Saltfish; second, Fadeaway; third. Sixth place went to St Lucia’s ‘Jabal.’
Results: Surprise Class, GFA Caraibes; first, Digilife; second, Clippers Ship; third. Racing Class: Lost Horizon; first, Eliot; second and Caraibe Marine; third.