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.
One noted record holder was the Schooner Sea Fox; length between perpendiculars 115’, beam 23’ 11”, draft 12’, at 100 tons. Captained by Lou Kennedy from Stamford Connecticut, a well known ‘brigand’ and rum smuggler. His love for Barbados was cemented when he married the daughter of a local doctor, but his dedication to his schooner was demonstrated when he took her around the Caribbean on their honeymoon for a cargo of salt. Although Captain Lou had his own private label rum ‘Skunk Squirt’ he was still fond of a tipple of Barbados’ Mount Gay Rum. On one occasion, when catching lobsters off the Maine coast, he ordered his crew to put a bottle of Mount Gay Rum in each lobster pot they hauled that contained lobsters. Which they did. Next morning they woke to find themselves “surrounded by Lobster Buoys as far as the eye see” as a rumour had spread through the town that some pots were catching bottles of rum so all were out laying pots.
Errol Walton Barrow
The Barbados Cruising Club was founded in 1957, with the aim of making sailing available to all in Barbados. A founder member of the club was The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, known to many as "The Dipper". Although he never owned his own boat, Errol Barrow’s love for sailing was well known. However it was not Errol Barrow’s enthusiasm for sailing that recorded his name in history. After serving in the Royal Air Force and studying law in the UK, he returned to Barbados in 1950 and became first Prime Minister of Barbados after leading the country to independence from Britain in 1966. Barbados celebrates Errol Barrow Day on January 21st each year with a public holiday. The Barbados Cruising Club can think of no better way to remember one of the founders of our club and the "Father of our Nation" than to hold the annual Round Barbados Race on this date.
Mount Gay Rum
Mount Gay Rum, the finest, oldest brand of rum in existence has been produced on Barbados with passion and an unparallelled excellence since 1703.
Since it's origin Mount Gay Rum has been intimately linked to the sailing world. Mount Gay Rum is the brand of rum for all who love the sea. As evidence of its profound and privileged relationship with the sea, sailors and ships, every year Mount Gay Rum proudly sponsors over 120 regattas around the globe.
Earn your "red cap" and wear it with pride as you join us for an exceptional day of racing around the Barbados, the home of Mount Gay Rum, on January 21st each year.
The First Race
Rewind back to 1956 and the first Round Barbados Race right here.