Guernsey Press

‘Guernsey has beautiful cruising and racing grounds’

THIS week’s Spirit Regatta has been heralded as a major success by those who sailed over for the competition.

The Dido boat crew was one of several to take part in the Spirit Regatta. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33350093)

The week-long regatta, which has seen nine Spirit yachts and dozens of crew members in the island, mostly from the south of England, comes to a close today after a number of races and social events.

Spirit managing director Karen Underwood, who was visiting the island for the second time with Spirit after a first regatta two years ago, said that getting the boats to Guernsey last week had been challenging due to windy weather, but that since arriving they had enjoyed some ‘amazing’ conditions out on the water.

‘It’s been super busy, with beautiful wind, and we’ve even had some dolphins with us. What more could you ask for?

‘Guernsey has beautiful cruising and racing grounds and that’s why we are here. Your island offers all of that to us. It’s the whole package,’ she said.

Mrs Underwood thanked local sponsor Locate Guernsey for helping to organise the week, and hoped to be back in the future.

‘Everybody has been so kind in looking after us all. We have felt really welcome.'

Among the yacht owners in the Spirit fleet was Daniel Anthony, who had sailed his Spirit 46 over from Hamble, near Southampton, with seven crew.

He said that, while his boat had felt more like a submarine coming across to Guernsey due to wet weather, he considered the sailing conditions that had followed to be better than those in the Caribbean.

‘The sun has shone, the wind has been perfect, we have enjoyed some fabulous racing and the boats are so closely matched that we have been coming back with only seconds between us,’ he said.

He had particularly enjoyed a race around Sark on Tuesday, and was looking forward to doing the same around Guernsey before the end of the regatta.

‘What is striking is how friendly it’s all been.

‘The whole organisation has been excellent and the race courses have been fantastic.

‘Overall, Guernsey has been a great place to sail.’

Regatta race officer Peter Saxton, who has spent the week working with the Guernsey Yacht Club helping to choose courses and provide weather updates, said navigators had been required to keep a close eye on the tides and the many rocks dotted around the Little Russel.

‘To be honest, the weather has co-operated every day.

‘The windy day which might have been too much for racing was our planned lay day anyway,’ he said.

From the New Forest, Mr Saxton was in Guernsey last year to help with the Island Games, and he was delighted to have been invited back again.

‘Being halfway between England and France is not a bad place to be. It’s only a day’s sail away and it’s just different when you get here,’ he said.

‘It feels like you’re on holiday and there’s nothing wrong with that.’