Jimmy Cornell’s Cornell Sailing have launched a rally event to Barbados that includes stops in west Africa.
The rally will start in London in late July 2016 and call at various ports in Spain and Portugal on its way south to the Canary Islands. It will finish in Barbados in time to join the celebrations marking 50 years since Barbados gained independence.
In recognition of the historic significance of this commemorative event, the rally will visit Senegal and the Gambia, two African nations which played an important role in the settling of the Caribbean Islands.
West Africa is rarely visited by cruising sailors and the stops in Senegal and Gambia will give participants in Barbados 50 a unique opportunity to enjoy the extensive water birds sanctuary in the Saloum River delta. The main attraction in neighbouring Gambia is to cruise the Gambia River, which is navigable for a long distance inland.
After calling at the Cape Verde Islands, the rally will cross the Atlantic to Barbados, where the arrival of the Barbados 50 fleet is timed to coincide with the celebrations that will start on 30 November 2016, the 50th anniversary of Barbados Independence.
Sailors who are interested in joining this event have the choice of signing up for the entire route, or only its transatlantic section.
Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and first appears on a Spanish map from 1511. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625; its men took possession of the island in the name of King James I. Barbados quickly grew to become the third major English settlement in the Americas due to its favourable eastern location, which continues to be its prime attraction among sailors completing a transatlantic voyage. In 1966 Barbados became an independent state and member of the Commonwealth, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. It has a population of 278,000 people, mostly of African descent.