Baron Bliss Regatta 2014, “United” takes First
Belize City harbour was again the venue for the 86th Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta. The event is sponsored annually by the Baron Bliss Trust and the Office of the Governor General.
“The first Baron Bliss Regatta occurred in 1927, and there was one year after a devastating hurricane, either 1932 or 1962, when none was held,” said Chairman of the Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta Committee, Captain Nicolas Sanchez.
The many spectators in the newly renovated BTL Park, Newtown Barracks enjoyed races by 44 sailboats of the Optimist Class. The Optimist Class is raced equally by boys and girls up to age 15. The youngest competing were Malik Jones of Caye Caulker Sailing Club and Christian “CJ” Ferrel, Jr. of Placencia Sailing Club, both 8 years old.
The first of five Optimist races was abandoned, as the Northern Drowned Caye flag had come off the marker and could not be seen from the first marker, a nautical mile away. As the wind dropped nearer mid-morning, the second race on the traditional course took little over an hour, so the course was shortened for an additional 3 races (with one discard). The final Optimist race was drastically shortened to make up time.
Kevin Velasquez SPJSC (San Pedro Junior Sailing Club) took the Gold; Antonio Ricardez, Jr. BCSC (Belize City Sailing Club), the Silver; and Blanca Velasquez SPJSC, Bronze. In 4th place was National Optimist Champion Trent Hardwick, and 5th place Faith Noel SPJSC. Prizes were issued by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, KCMG in the presence of the Mayor Darrell Bradley of Belize City.
The Single Hand category was dominated by the Laser Class from Placencia Sailing Club, with Isaac Ritchie first and Carlo Villatoro second.
Near midday, with popcorn clouds over head and wind steady at 8 knots, mostly southeast by east, the racing dories went around the course. Dean Lindo’s Sandra, captained by Glen Mayers, won the first prize; Goldfinch, captained by Robert Chavez, second; and Martin, third place.
Then sandlighter Radio rounded the Fort Point majestically to await the challenger. Just off dry dock, with freshly painted hull glistening, United arrived from the west. United took an early lead right after the start. Twice around the course, including the loop, they went; and the lead steadily increased, ending Radio’s long grip on the prize.
Seagull “Heather,” captained by Ken Mayers, won in this category, and later also won the “All Comers.”
Sea Scouts’ Bosun, Gannet, skippered by Joshua McKenzie, won first; and “Seal,” skippered by Joshua Pott, took second.
In the Grand Fleet category, Lighter, United; Seagull, Heather; and Dory, Sandra were added to the “ED Flowers Perpetual Trophy.”
Other sponsors are: Belize Natural Energy, BTALCO, Caye Caulker Water Taxis, Contemporary Electronics, Ernesto Perrera, Marine & Services Ltd, Oscar Ramos, P. Noreen Fairweather, Seaboard Marine, and Valdez Global Ltd. Special thanks to Sandy Dewar, Princess Hotel and Casino, Martha Williams, the parents and guardians of the Optimist sailors and all those who contributed in every way.
The Harbour Regatta Committee will reconvene on Wednesday, March 19, at the Bliss Institute at 5:30 p.m. Sailing enthusiasts are invited to attend and be a part of the planning for the 87th Regatta.