Grenada Sailing Festival 2016

This year was the 23rd consecutive year of the Grenada Sailing Festival, an incredibly lively competition amongst Grenada’s sailing communities.

grenada sailing festival

Starting one of the heats.

The Grenada Sailing Festival started as a friendly rivalry between communities using the same boats they’d use for fishing.  Over the years it has evolved into an organized festival using boats specifically made for racing in the event, though they have roughly kept the same designs.  The boats are all hand-made from local hardwoods.  The masts and spars are made from bamboo sourced from the highlands, and the rigging is made up of whatever materials the teams can get their hands on.

grenada workboat

One of the workboats at the Grenada Sailing Festival.

grenada workboat

One of the traditional workboats at the Grenada Sailing Festival.

The Grenada Sailing Festival is also really a great way to keep the sailing tradition alive in this part of the world.  Grenada and the Grenadines have a very strong boat-building heritage.  These beautiful sloops have been used for everything from fishing to rum smuggling.  It’s a vanishing tradition, featured in the recent documentary “Vanishing Sail”.  It’s wonderful to see so many young people enthusiastic about racing these small boats.

grenada sailing festival

Bringing one of the boats over to the start line.

grenada sailing festival

Crew of Mr. X waiting for the final.

Sailing communities all have their own teams, and these teams form their own classes.  The classes are the Gouyave Sloop, Gouyave Canoe, Woburn, Sauteurs, Petit Martinique, and Carriacou.  There are also junior and senior heats.

The Grenada Sailing Festival takes place over two days.  Races are held within each class during the first day and morning of the second day.  The winners of each class will go on to race different boats made specifically for the final match – these are the same small boats used in national sailing matches.  The community that wins this match will get bragging rights until the next regatta!

grenada sailing festival

Catching a nap between heats at the Grenada Sailing Festival.

grenada sailing festival

Adjusting the rigging on one of the workboats before the final match.

There’s more than sailing here.  The event is held on the long, beautiful stretch of Grand Anse Beach.  Live music, craft vendor booths, and food tents are spread out along the race venue.  The event is capped off with the trophy presentation and fireworks presentation, followed by partying well into the night.

As far as things to do in Grenada, this is one of those “must-do’s” if you’re here during the Grenada Sailing Festival.  These regattas are usually held in conjunction with other major events and national holidays.  You can get an event calendar and more information at

grenada sailing festival

Throwing a lobster on the grill.

grenada sailing festival

Teams shouting from the beach as the boats approach the finish

Grenada Sailing Festival 2016 Photo Gallery (opens in new window):

grenada sailing festival finish

Bringing the boats back up on the beach after the final match.


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