Expect fun and rum at the 46th Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament hosted out of the Grenada Yacht Club in St. George’s. Fifty or more boats carrying over 200 anglers from throughout the Caribbean, U.S. mainland and Europe will vie for trophy billfish January 20-24. Last year, 77 blue marlin and sailfish were caught and released. “Teams are drawn to Grenada by the camaraderie and the party atmosphere at the marina and the well-organized event, but mostly they come for the great fishing our island has to offer,” says former organizer and longtime participant, Captain Gary Clifford, who owns and operates True Blue Sportfishing charters. Prizes and trophies are awarded to the anglers and boats with the most points, scored by their number of billfish releases.
For supportive family and friends, there are a couple of great spectator opportunities. Watch the boats on parade at 6:45AM January 21st from the Carenage, then head up to Fort George for the best view of the 7:30AM start when the cannon fires signaling the start of the competition. The second best spectating is watching the fleet come back to the marina at the end of a successful fishing day. Nightly parties, as well as the lay day festivities on January 23rd, feature plenty of Grenadian rum from its Clarke’s Court, Westerhall Estate and River Antoine distilleries. All three of these rum-producing plants offer guided tours with liberal samples—a must-do when the fishing is done. sibtgrenada.com
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series
The rum theme continues in Barbados for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series. The headline event in this January 14-24 series hosted out of the Barbados Cruising Club in Carlisle Bay is the 60-mile circumnavigation of Barbados on January 21st. Teams from throughout the world will seek to set or break one of the 14 currently established records in a variety of classes in order to win their skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Extra Old Rum. “All yachts entered in the Round Barbados Race will be fitted with trackers so you can watch their progress from any computer or handheld device,” says organizer, Alene Krimholtz. “If you’re on-island, good spots for viewing include the Barbados Cruising Club for all starts and finishes, the Beach House Restaurant in St. James for west coast progress, the North Point of Barbados as the fleet comes together, the Crane Hotel Barbados for east coast progress, and Tapas Restaurant on the South Coast as the boats draw near the finish.” Daily events and after-race parties are open to all, and the Mount Gay Rum will certainly be flowing. mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com
By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating January 2015