The edge of undiluted rum

The edge of undiluted rum

Full report from Caribbean Sailing Week


To be honest, I don't like business regattas. It always seemed to me that there was enough business, of course, but about the competitive spirit... Anyway, not a business regatta, but a "business minus regatta". However, there was a group of people who set out to change this opinion.

As a result, in mid-March I was on a plane flying to the island of Antigua, the venue of another RBC Caribbean Sailing Week - the Land Rover Cup. However, the sailing Wednesday began even earlier - in Aeroexpress I found myself side by side with the head coach of the Russian Olympic team Sergey Dzhienbaev. An avalanche of development began, because with many people on their way to the airport, I was already familiar by correspondence on Facebook.

The State of Antigua and Barbuda itself made a difficult impression. I have already written some of my impressions in the note «Island of Careless Cafers», here I will try to sum up my impressions somehow.

Antigua proved to be a typical Caribbean «island of contrasts»:

Here, the wretched huts, most of all resembling proportionally enlarged dog booths, peacefully neighbor the expensive cars and salons selling them, and chic villas on the closed beaches - with completely pristine scenery. The population traditionally smokes grass all day long, tingles the wallets of frightened foreigners and from time to time lazily carries baskets of dirty laundry from hotel floors to laundries.

There is nothing for the white person to do here - except for yachting - in general, there is nothing to do: closed safe bays with marinas, villas with their own berths (very convenient!), constant and smooth wind (not for nothing the islands are called Flying - it always blows on them from one side) - all this makes it possible to conduct the yachting season here almost all year round. And the yachtsmen here are a sacred cow, bringing the local economy more than 60% of GDP.

Officially the regatta started, as funny as it sounds to the ear of a yachtsman, with a conference.

I'm not going to judge the size of businesses run by its participants, but the composition of speakers was still different from the meetings of Elena Stanislavovna in Pereleshinsky Lane. Only for some reason these very serious people most often mentioned the possibility of war with Iran as a matter of fact completely solved and should take place not later than the first half of this summer. Here, by the way, at the same time there will be an opportunity to assess our business analysts and the level of their «firm insides».

We were distracted, though. After the conference, the opening ceremony of the regatta began. The importance of this event was emphasized by two facts: the presence of the Minister of Tourism of Antigua and Barbuda and the Russian Consul, who, I note, stayed with us almost the entire regatta. At the opening ceremony a drawing of lots of yachts was held, where the participants will speak, as well as the presentation of their captains. The audience gathered a variety of people - but the organizers felt the spirit of strengthening the sports component of the regatta. Anyway, such «racing» names as Andrey Arbuzov and Evgeny Nikiforov say a lot to any person, even if he is somehow familiar with domestic sails. All the crews were divided into three divisions, named after the islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda: the first division (Antigua) was made up of a dozen Sunsail 44i yachts (the same as the first division (Antigua). Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44i), the second (Barbuda) included 11 Harmony yachts of different lengths (due to the different fleet was introduced handicap), the third (Redonda) included Dufour 425.

After the official part of the jacket and shirt gave way to shorts and hawaiians, and local actors began to amuse themselves.

Further on, this prinicip - to mix entertainment and the race itself - predetermined the course of the event.

And, I must say, the sailing part was not complicated - most of it was short hinge races. The smooth wind did not interfere with the judges (the main one is Veniamin Gusev) to set it carefully, making the work easier. The first day (three races were held), however, was overshadowed by a serious incident - on the counterhalves, one of the yachts hit the other on the starboard side without giving way to her. The crew wrote it off on the broken rudder, but both boats were seriously damaged. It should be said that the crew of the national team's head coach Sergey Dzhienbaev showed real nobility in this situation by giving up his yacht to one of the damaged teams.

Already on the first day of the regatta the clear leader in the Redonda division was determined - as expected, it was the crew of Andrey Arbuzov. In other divisions there was no such clarity after the first three races.
Two long races were planned for the second and third day: to Barbuda Island and back. There the yachts were anchored near the beach of Princess Diana - a completely wild and virgin place. A couple of miles of pure white sand to the left and as much to the right. No electricity, no Internet, not even shoe cleaners, as one of the heroes of Sergei Dovlatov noticed. However, the shoes were not needed here.

On this absolutely wild beach, the yachtsmen were introduced to one of the local chiefs who performed a traditional island number - a passage under a low burning pole that ended in a fire swallow. The mediocrity of the performance was compensated by the frenzied excitement among the women's part of the meeting, which enthusiastically welcomed the hypertrophied ego of the actor.

After returning from Barbuda, the yachts moved to the Falmouth Marina, which hit everyone with its boats. For example, right in front of our yacht was the famous Monegasque Tuiga, built by William Fife back in 1909. Not every yachtsman is able to see this rarity alive! Even many other megas have died on this background (however, we have already written about them).

There was a traditional tropical party «All in White», where participants had the opportunity to play a game of «What? Where? When?». It was brilliantly held by one of the masters of the club of connoisseurs Ilya Novikov (by the way, the owner of the Big Crystal Owl). The questions, it should be said, were not childish at all and turned out to be composed with some podkovyryky that gave the participants the opportunity to both strain their brains and have fun at the same time. The struggle for victory in the game was very gambling - perhaps, no less gambling than the races themselves.

The race to the marina, once an outpost of British influence in this region and now a park reserve, Nelson's Dockyard, was the final. This was where the final ceremony, the prize giving ceremony and the final party took place.

To underline the importance of the regatta, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda arrived at its solemn closing.

This is not surprising: against the background of the sleepy serenity reigning on the islands, the participants of the RBC «regatta were lighting» up quite brightly, and there was quite a lot of money for charter companies, hotels and just local bartenders. So both sides were satisfied.

Well, the winners were:
  • The crew of the boat Balaou (skipper Yevgeny Nikiforov) in Antigua Division;
  • The crew of the boat Belle ile (skipper Alexei Ganzhenko) in the division of Barbuda;
  • In the Redonda division, the crew of Andrey Arbuzov won cleanly.

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