Major sailing events coming
Barbados is on stream to host two major world champions, namely the GP 14 Class World Championship in 2016 and the International Finn Class Masters World Champion in 2017.
Former president of the Barbados Sailing Association, Peter Burke, told Barbados TODAY they were looking forward to hosting both events which would be historic for Barbados.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting the GP 14 Class, which is very interesting from a Barbadian perspective because in the first year of Barbados being an independent nation, Barbados had the honour of winning the GP 14 World Championship through Jackie Hoad and Bill Tempro. I don’t think Barbados has won any world championship since being an independent nation,” he said.
According to Burke, Barbados has hosted two major world championships which include the Fireball World Championship in 2010 and the 505 World Championship in 2012 and out of those two events word had spread internationally about the favourable sailing conditions in the island.
“Most of the sailors who attended those events were absolutely bowled over by the superb tropical weather conditions and the facilities both at the Yacht Club and the Barbados Cruising Club. Through that, word has spread and now we have two more world championships,” Burke said.
From a sports tourism point of view, Burke a former commodore of the Barbados Yacht Club added: “It is very good for Barbados because, for example, when you look at the 505 World Championships which has a crew of two, we had seventy-five boats here for that championship and that is one hundred and fifty sailors and then they had all of the officials who came in to oversee the event and all of the families came in to see the event. So I would guess about close to five hundred visitors were on the island just for that event. The GP 14 Class World Championship in 2016 and the Finn Class Masters World Champion in 2017 could possibly bring in the same numbers.”
In addition, he said that as a member of the Barbados Sailing Association, a lot of effort had been put into getting more Barbadians involved in sailing and one of the primary focuses is to get more schools involved in sailing.
“The same way kids will go off and play football or cricket at the end of the school day or during school time they can come to a ‘learn to sail’ course and then progress to the more competitive aspect of sailing. The international people who came here to compete described it as champagne sailing because it is so ideal because of the ideal conditions we have here locally and there is no reason why Barbados should not be at the top of the ladder in sailing,” Burke said.