Barbados thrills blog: A week racing in paradise

Racing In Paradise

Mar 28, 2019

By Doug Heldman

Earlier this winter it became all too apparent that I needed to get away. As a twice a week around the cans racer at ABYC in Toronto I am not part of the big league racing scene, but as it turns out it wasn’t that hard to access.

Spirit of Juno
The Spirit of Juno. photo: Peter Marshall

My sailing friend and industry pro, Colin Andrews explained Ondeck Sailing, an Antigua-based charter and individual charter provider who can hook you up for training, offshore sailing or as a pay a-as-you-play crew in any of the many Caribbean winter regattas.

I’d been to Barbados before (as a tourist) so picked Barbados Race Week as my destination and signed on The Spirit of Juno is a Farr 65, a high-performance race yacht it was designed by Farr to be a de-tuned version of the world-famous Whitbread 60. Farr’s goal was to produce a high-performance racing yacht in which amateurs could safely sail around the world. With the performance of a Grand Prix yacht, it is extremely user friendly for even the most beginner of crews. Good decision!

Spirit of Juno
Peter Marshall

The boat has LOA 65ft and 10 ft. draft. She sleeps 12 in spartan berths with a lee cloth. The coffee grinder winches that operate jib and spinnaker sheets dominate open cockpit with ample space for crew. Twin wheel helm, hydraulic backstay and vang reside in the stern area. They had brand new Laminate Racing Sails and a Code 0 that had never been hoisted.

Bermuda Winners 2018
Bermuda Winners 2018

We had some equipment failure during our practice day and then again, the first race day due to the enormity of the sails. One shackle disintegrated then a ripped sail, the outhaul snapped and the inner core separated from the outer braided core of a halyard. When you buy new sails, buy new line.

Our division consisted of a Swan 80, a First 40, a Volvo 60, a class 40 and our Farr 65 and was handicapped under The Caribbean Sailing Association Rule.

The race attracted a good mix of local and international competitors from the Ukraine, UK, Canada, the West Indies and the USA. Needless to say, there was a bonanza of international partiers ashore. One particular shore activity we got to with the help of Alison from Nemesis Yacht Racing, an all purpose help at events like this, we caught Friday night at Oistins Fish Fry Village where thousands of locals and racers get together for a party to remember.

On Deck Sailing











As a getaway and an opportunity to meet a large number of new and experienced sailors, it worked out extremely well

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