As the organisers prepare for an exciting week of competition when the 2023 Barbados Sailing Week commences on Friday, January 13th, Commodore, Peter Griffith of the Barbados Cruising Club (BCC) has said that it will be enjoyable for all.
Speaking during the Barbados Sailing Week launch this morning at the BCC, Griffith said he thinks that Barbados will see a better year after the setback from COVID-19 and trusts that this momentum will take the country forward in 2023 and beyond, with the support of title sponsors Mount Gay and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI).
The highly anticipated sailing week begins on Saturday, January 14th and concludes on Sunday, January 22nd. The main highlight for that week is the round the island race which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 21st, known as Errol Barrow Day, founding member of the Barbados Cruising Club.
“Our plan is now a five year plan and we will work to promote sailing week across the world. We have plans of elevating this event, and of all the water activities that we are now into and with the help of the various associations, we can put quite a bit together to promote this in Barbados,” Griffith said.
“This year we have seen a return to some normalcy after the long period of isolation and disruption to trade, private life and to sports. In 2022 an effort was made to gather some momentum to bring sailing week into the forefront of the Caribbean calendar of racing.
“We incorporated at that time (COVID-19), remote control boat racing, wind boarding and kite surfing along with the usual class of sailing. This will prove to be a success in 2022 and 2023 is seeing a stronger effort to promote this event beyond the standards that we have been used to,” he added.
The reigning champion of the Mount Gay Round Barbados is none other than Mod 70 (boat) called Miss Barbados which currently has the record of two hours and 37 minutes set in 2019. A total of 35 boats, 70 surfers and 400 to 500 skippers and crew led by head judge Steven Kern are expected to participate. There will be many vantage points around the island such as Animal Flower Cave, the Crane, Tiki Bar, Tapas or the BCC – to name a few – for spectators to watch the races.
Griffith also spoke highly of the primary sponsors Mount Gay and BTMI saying, “The participation of our sponsors, BTMI and Mount Gay is much stronger this year and it is our hope that we can forge a stronger partnership with these sponsors. Going forward over the next five years, we are fully aware of the benefit such a partnership can bring to the sport and to the island.
“Properly marketed, the island can develop another area of tourism that can increase the numbers coming to our shores. Mention must be made of our other partners, the Yacht Club and the Barbados Sailing Association who assisted the Barbados Cruising Club with the coordination and the implementation of this event.”
During his remarks, the Director of Caribbean and Latin America, Barbados Tourism, Corey Garrett said he hopes to see a deeper partnership formed between BTMI, the Barbados Cruising Club and the Barbados Sailing Week.
“The Cruising Club is at the heart of sailing here in Barbados and we do recognise that, and we are excited once again to partner with yourselves and of course Mount Gay on this very prestigious event. The week would bring together over 200 sailors from across the globe and from a tourism standpoint of course we are very ecstatic about that.
“I know Peter is talking about his five year plan and what we really want is that in 2024 and beyond we are going to work even deeper with the entire committee here at the Barbados Cruising Club to really bring to life, a signature event as I would call it, to really implant into the tourism or the overall calendar of events of Barbados,” Garrett explained.
Meanwhile, the Global Brand Director of Mount Gay Distilleries, Laurent Cosson said that sailing has always been part of the company and they both share similar values.
“What I particularly enjoy and we particularly enjoy at Mount Gay is welcoming people from all over the world, tourists as well as Barbadians, kite surfers as well as sailors, people from the Barbados Yacht Club and the other associations. Everybody who actually enjoys the sea and loves boats, kites and more than anything sharing a good time,” Cosson stated.