Billed as Barbados’ Ultimate Sailing Challenge, the new format Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series was deemed a huge success; it incorporated a series of coastal races as well as the iconic Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, and a final 300-mile sprint to Antigua to tie-up with the Superyacht Cup. Organized by the Barbados Cruising Club in association with the Barbados Tourism Authority and Mount Gay, this annual event (January 15-24), played its part in kick-starting the Caribbean racing season. With nearly 50 boats from all around the world (Great Britain, USA, Canada and New Zealand plus a strong Caribbean contingent from BVI, St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados) close competition prevailed throughout the week. One of the strongest classes was the J/24 with 10 boats racing neck and neck throughout the series. Big winds and big seas really put crews through their paces but the impressive standard of sailing, made it extremely spectator-friendly. In the final race of the series, on a marathon of a leg along the south coast, it was leaders Ian Mayers and team on Banks Esperanza who pulled ahead and led the fleet across the line at the finish, which was enough to secure an overall series win with 13 points. In second place overall was Neil Burke on Impulse, while Team Hawkeye placed third. Mayers commented on his overall, “We had a worrying long last run in the final race because of our broken boom. It failed just before the windward mark and it was a marathon of a run. However, we did it and held our position to the finish. The racing throughout the series was great and extremely competitive so we hope to encourage more J/24s from other islands next year. If we could have a charter fleet for the best sailors from American and Europe to use in the future, too, that would be amazing!” For complete regatta information, visit http://www.mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com/.