The Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta: great racing, big bands and plenty of fun

With fun dinghy racing for all the family, three days of competitive round the cans keel boat racing plus a new offshore race featuring one of the world's fastest multihulls, the Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta in Antigua was the place to be. 

Budget Marine once again sponsored this fun regatta that continues to gain momentum as an event where fairly ordinary boats can have a fun week end on flat water and plenty of convenience, driven by an enthusiastic amateur club.

Team Budget Marine / Micron 99 also participated in the Pocket Class sailing the event on a Jeanneau 20 and winning the class with 8 bullets. The crew, consisting of Robbie Ferron, Guy Chester of Australia and Shakeil Norris of Budget Marine Antigua, was also awarded the best start of the regatta for a port tack flyer on the last day.

The other classes saw some close competition. In CSA ONE Performance Yacht Charter's First 40, Southern Child, skippered by Lucy Jones won the first race of the day, putting pressure on Pamala Baldwin's J/122, Liquid. However Liquid held there nerve to win the remaining two races, despite fierce competition on the water from Christian Reynold's Grand Soleil 43, Performance Yacht Racing – Quokka. Jonty & Vicky Layfield's J11S, Sleeper was third.

“A fabulous regatta.” commented Liquid's owner Pamala Baldwin. “The team had to sail really well to beat the competition, the sailing conditions were divine and we had a lot of fun, this regatta has it all and to win our class just puts the icing on the cake.”

In CSA TWO Tanner & Shari Jones' J/30, Caribbean Alliance Insurance had a titanic battle with Hans Lammers' Luders Yawl, Frolic. Sandy Mair's First 35, Cricket also got in the mix but the match racing between the leading pair was to decide the class winner. Although Caribbean Alliance Insurance won all three of races on the last day, Frolic was less than a minute behind in every encounter and the last race was only won by 8 seconds.

“That was tough.” commented Tanner Jones. “The crew had to really dig deep to hold off Frolic. She is a fast and well sailed boat and had the advantage on us upwind but we were able to make up our time downwind. I lost count of the number of times the lead changed hands in the races.  Although the wind speed has been right up there for the last two days, we have had our two children out sailing with us, they are only 5 and 6 and this is the perfect regatta to get youngsters out sailing.”

In CSA THREE, Tony Sayer's First 42, Augustine continued there impressive form with three straight wins on the final day to win the class. Terry Alan's Grand Soleil 343, Volare finished the regatta tied on points with John Wills Sweden 42, Ocean Harmony, but Volare was awarded second after countback.

“The team has sailed a lot and we have never won this one before, so that is a great feeling.” commented Tony Sayer. “A big thank you to the organisers who have put on a fantastic regatta".

The fun continued ashore for everybody, with top live acts and a vibrant party scene. Saturday night's live performance drew a crowd of hundreds to The Square at Jolly Harbour Marina, with Asha Otto & Itchy Feet reeling off a string of rock numbers and their own compositions. The Sound Citizens was the closing act for the 2016 Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta.

Commodore of the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club, Grahame Williams, welcomed Sir Rodney Williams, Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, as guest of honour at the Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta Prize Giving. Sir Rodney Williams awarded the prizes assisted by Regatta Director, Gordon Cossar.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here for the second year running.” commented Sir Rodney Williams. “Jolly Harbour is a yachting destination and when visitors come to Antigua, they come to the heart of yachting in the Caribbean. Congratulations to the organising committee of the Valentine's Regatta for the event and to all of the competitors who have taken part and I urge you to bring your friends next year, so that it will be bigger and better. After all it is the Valentine's Regatta, so bring your loved ones!”

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