(eTN) – The official opening of the Tourism Board-sponsored “Seychelles Regatta” saw also the other sponsors, including and importantly Air Seychelles, being recognized before the skippers and their crews were introduced to the sizeable number of invited guests and international journalists.
Held at Eden House on Eden Island with the participating yachts moored for all to see along the main jetty, this third edition of the 7-race regatta went underway on Monday morning proper. At 9:00 am sharp, the yachts cast off from the jetty and so did the race committee, accompanying boats and myself and other invited guests on the Le Kir Royal to have a leisurely cruise to the starting line a few miles offshore.
The race went underway in windy conditions and all but one of the catamarans did cross the starting line swiftly but one, which was caught out and kept trailing for the entire day.
The swell also made some of the invited guests a little uncomfortable, but not this correspondent, whose “sea legs” are kept trained on Lake Victoria as and when possible.
The course took the participants along the entire stretch of the coast from Victoria, with fine views, before eventually sailing into calmer conditions on the leeward side of Mahe. The resorts of Banyan Tree and Four Seasons were passed before eventually reaching the bay off the Maia Luxury Resort where we anchored to have some overdue lunch on board while awaiting the catamarans to catch up with us.
Cheers went up from the spectators when the first two in close contest became visible in the distance followed by the others trailing considerably.
The Maia Luxury Resort hosted the opening evening for the crews and invited guests with a splendid “champagne only” cocktail function and a mouthwatering dinner, but mindful of 6 more racing days ahead of them, the crews soon called it a night under the star-lit sky above. As mentioned previously, some of Europe’s, if not the world’s, top sailors are participating in the Seychelles Regatta, which – sponsored by the Seychelles Tourist Board and Air Seychelles among others – promises to become another fixed point in the annual calendar of events for the archipelago, which has successfully re-invented itself over the past two years as one of the world’s most recognized island destinations offering visitors almost on a monthly basis now a key event to watch or even participate in.