Mike Kopman reports from the first day of the Caribbean's friendliest regatta.

The Caribbean’s friendliest regatta looks set to get off to a perfect start today in blazing sunshine, 30 degree temperatures and a brisk 20 knots offshore breeze. It may have been the friendliest fleet liming at the Angostura Caribbean Club Rum bar last night at the official opening but it will be a case of watching your back on the racecourse today.

Despite a slightly smaller fleet than last year (partly attributed to the Moorings charter base moving from nearby Grenada to Canouan) the fleet lying peacefully at the idyllic anchorage off the Crown Point Beach Hotel still has a real international flavour. The fleet of 41 includes entries from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the US, England and Switzerland. There are five classes: racing, cruiser/racer, cruiser, charter and comfort cruiser, with boats ranging from Stephen Scmidt’s Santa Cruz 70 Hotel California from the USVI’s to Jerome Reid’s little Van de Stadt 24 Jump Up from nearby Barbados.

Only the Racing class uses spinnakers but this doesn’t prevent the rest of the fleet from enjoying plenty of action. The site of a fully powered up modified Beneteau (probably an ex charter boat) creaming downwind under a huge carbon main (yes, carbon!), carbon number one, and a second loose luffed headsail poled out to weather in 25 knots is something you won’t quickly forget.

With the breeze filling in already it looks like the starting gun will go as scheduled at 10h00. Keep checking this website for daily updates.