Cool Breezes Bless Annual Sailing Festival

Posted on: Sunday, February 1st, 2009
Posted in: Travelog, 4th Stop: Grenada, Latest Trip | 3 comments

What a glorious Sunday!  Days like this—exactly like this—float like fantasies in the mind when one is plotting a BreakAway.  So when they finally happen, the pleasure feels both familiar and profound.


Grenada’s sailing festival is a big event, running over several days, with yachties from all over the world filling the harbors, hotels, and bars. That’s fun.  And in our resort, it was easy to make new friends.  Heck, a team from the Shetland Isles of Scotland invited me to join their team for two races.  Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out. Dang!

The Finish Line

But the real action—at least for the locals—is the “work boat” races on Grand Anse beach.  These are traditional, home-made boats, with plywood for the body, bamboo for the mast, and sponsor-donated sailcloth for the one mainsail.

The towns and outer islands (Petit Martinique and Carriacou) race each other, and yes, there is rivalry!  The race begins on shore with a LeMans-style start, heads out to sea for three turns around buoys, and then returns to shore again.  When the boat hits sand, and a sailor scrambles out and crosses the finish line–and runs to the stand for a shot of rum–we have a winner.

Run for the Rum!

The festival features all the sights, sounds, and smells that make events like these so sweet…

  • An MC sets the stage and keeps things moving and dancing; his subwoofer is the size of an SUV and keeps all three miles of the beach bobbing in riddim.
  • There are junior races (sorry, no rum for you), so the families can get giddy and noisy.

Future Sailor

  • There are rivalries, sure, but also times when a whole team goes missing and the race gets delayed.

Strategy Session

  • The occasional “man overboard” makes for lots of excitement, as the waterlogged sailor swims as quickly as he can to catch up with his craft.
  • Kids play in the sand and swim right around the start and finish lines and couldn’t care less about no races.

Time for a Swim

  • Vendors line the beach selling bbq, oildown (the national dish), souvenirs, hand-made crafts, cold bevies, and lots and lots of beer.
  • Young men gather in groups under seagrape trees to catch a buzz and be cool.

Run from the Big Boys

  • Pale tourists chase around with bazooka-sized cameras choking their necks.

Grande Anse Beach Scene

When it’s time for this fam to sail away, this guy doesn’t want to.  But our bags are again packed, and it’s time to move to our next home in Gouyave, a little fishing village half-way up the island.

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3 Responses to “Cool Breezes Bless Annual Sailing Festival”

  1. scott Says:

    good to hear your back to the IJ. somtings are jus impotant ja kno

  2. kkd Says:

    I’m home now and sure wish I were there with you all. I can almost taste, see and sense the frolic, food and fun.!!!

  3. BreakAway » Blog Archive » Faith, Give Thanks, Destiny Says:

    […]   (Perfect.)   On this dazzling day on Grenada’s longest and most illustrious beach, the annual sailing festival of “workboats” (homemade, from plywood, bamboo, and sailcloth) had been racing for […]

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