Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race/Transatlantic Classique: Barbados Independence Day at UK’s House of Lords

A ray of Barbados sunshine pierced the UK November gloom when Lord Dholakia hosted an event promoting links between the two countries and launching the ‘2012 76th Anniversary Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race’ and the ‘1st Classic Transatlantic Race to Barbados.’

The event was held on 30th November, Barbados Independence Day. Guests included His Excellency Hugh Arthur the High Commissioner of Barbados, Jean-Jacques Ollu, President of The Atlantic Yacht Club, Jose Sotto Mayor Matoso, President of the Clube Naval de Cascais, Senator Peter Gilkes of the Barbados Government and representatives from other Caribbean and Commonwealth countries and Sailing Clubs from around the world. The evening was arranged by the Barbados Cruising Club and Lord Dholakia thanked the sponsors Mount Gay Rum, The Barbados Tourism Authority, Miele, Camper Nicholson Marinas, The Loomba Foundation, The Beach House and Indigo Island.

Baroness Harris of Richmond, His Excellency Hugh Arthur, Barbados High Commissioner to the UK, and Lord Dholakia with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s Carnival Girls. {COURTESY - BTA}

Lord Dholakia, likening Barbados to the Garden of Eden, invited Dr. Mike Krimholtz, Commodore of the Barbados Cruising Club to talk about the ’Round Barbados’ race. Dr Krimholtz explained the significance of the race that officially began in 1936, and is held annually by The Barbados Cruising Club. He explained the purpose of the race is to break the record for the fastest time sailing around the island of Barbados, a distance of approximately 60 miles. The current absolute records stand at 5 hours 20 minutes 30 seconds (mono-hull) and 4 hours 40 minutes 33 seconds (multi-hull).

The Race will start and finish off the Barbados Cruising Club on January 21st 2012, a national holiday to mark the birthday of The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, a founder member of the Club and Barbados’ first Prime Minister. Competing boats will be allowed to moor within the inner basin of the Careenage in the historic centre of Bridgetown.

The race is not for the faint-hearted offering some challenging sailing off the East Coast of Barbados. It is followed by an after race party that promises to restore and rejuvenate in equal measures; even if these happen to be measures of Mount Gay Rum. This will be especially true of the crew of the boat that breaks an existing record time whose prize will be the weight of their skipper in Mount Gay Rum.

The famous Classic Transatlantic race, will set sail from Cascais, Portugal on 2nd December 2012, bound for Barbados. These magnificent traditional sailing vessels will arrive in Barbados in time to compete in the 2013 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race. Jean-Jacques Ollu, President of The Atlantic Yacht Club spoke about the race to the guests, saying that competitors were really excited to be bringing the race to Barbados for the first time.

These two events make Barbados a ‘must go’ destination for those who love sailing whether taking part in the races or watching from the safety of the shore. The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race can be viewed from a number of beaches around the island and tracked online.

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