SIMPSON BAY--Frits Bus’s Island Water World team on the Melges 24 showed their prowess by holding off Ian Hope-Ross’s Melges 32 Kick em Jenny to emerge winner of the 3rd Grant Thornton Keelboat Race organized by Sint Maarten Yacht Club on Sunday. The Kick em Jenny team had some good moments, but Fritz Bus’s team was more consistent
In strong gusty wind conditions, Island Water World (Frits, Bernard, Olivier, Benoit, and Catherine) won all three races due to great crew work and tactics. They clocked an amazing 19.7 knots top speed in the gusts riding downwind on the waves.
Second place went to Ian Hope-Ross’s Kick them Jenny also clocking some sensational speeds, while Garth Steyn’s J-70, sponsored by IGY Marinas came in third, managing in the second race to beat the Melges 32 with seven seconds on corrected time.
The purpose of this edition was also to welcome and include the visiting ex-Whitbread yacht Maiden, which is cruising the world, crewed and skippered by an all-female crew whose aim is to raise awareness of women’s education. The crew had been visiting schools and showed the movie on "Maiden" in the cinema.
The race was sailed in perfect conditions and gave three boats excellent training conditions, while Maiden took out young Sint Maarten sailors on the course for a unique experience.
Maiden was rigged in a training mode for the first races and was relatively slow, but in the last longer race to Great Bay she showed more speed with a bigger sail. She was effectively sailed by the young sailors, assisted and supervised by Maiden’s all-women crew.
The youth sailors were very excited afterwards: “Maiden is an inspiring and beautiful boat. She is so smooth through the water and an absolute honour to sail on,” remarked Grace Cheasley, one of Sint Maarten Yacht Club’s sailing students. “Racing on Sunday was an opportunity of a lifetime.
“When I was sailing on her I felt so free and alive, feeling the spray on my face and bounce on the waves. I learned so much and I’m thankful to the crew for giving me the opportunity to helm, grind and more on such a historic boat. I wish them luck in their journey to support girls’ education.”
The next Grant Thornton Keelboat series will be held on Sunday, January 12, 2020.