If the crow flew in a circle the race is about 60 miles but as the participants are not racing on crows the yachts end up doing around 70 plus miles.
Starting at the Barbados Cruising Club, the yachts will sail through the historic Carlisle Bay, pass the deep water harbour to starboard and then begin a 20 mile tight reach in calm water up the platinum coast of Barbados passing the homes and haunts of the very rich and very famous.
After rounding the top of the island they will encounter the full force of the Atlantic with nothing between them and Africa. Then they will then face a good 7 mile plus beat in tricky currents, windshifts and big waves. It is followed by a 20 mile fetch, with participants riding those same waves beam on, trying to maximize speed without losing height enough to clear East Point. Ther is only big breaking Atlantic rollers for the teams to naviagte as they sail 18 miles downwind along the south coast. Most will drop their kites and skate round the South West corner of the island to the finish!
The race around Barbados dates back to the 19th century and is based upon bragging rights for the fastest “Trading Schooner”. This was a prize worth its weight in gold to captains in an era where prices for cargo arriving ahead of rival ships commanded a massive premium.
Whilst most boats sailed for the honor of the fastest time, the consolation prize of a barrel of Mount Gay Rum for the slowest certainly spurred on some captains, and had to be discontinued after two boats remained out at sea for days stalling to take the prize.
The first organised race around Barbados was held on January 1st 1936 when 5 trading schooners competed for 'bragging rights' and a small prize. The winner was Lou Kennedy's Sea Fox in a time of 10 hours and 20 minutes.
On breaking any of the existing Round Barbados records the record breaking yacht will be awarded Mount Gay Rum Extra Old equivalent to the weight of the registered skipper as recorded at the official skippers weighing. So many encourage their skippers to fatten up before the race!
For all those left on shore there is away to be part of the action. You can follow a specific yacht or the whole fleet via our race player. Each yacht will have one of our trackers installed before the race, which will transmit several items of data such as GPS, direction and speed throughout the entire race. The data is sent through the Iridium satellite network to YB HQ where it is visualised onto our race tracker for friends, family and arm chair admirals to view with a few clicks of a mouse.
For more information on this first class race please visit the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race website.