The Great Yacht Race is a novel by Jamaican author Anthony Winkler, published in 1992.The setting is 1955, in Montego Bay, St. James. A member of the local Blue Blood community has been murdered, throwing the city in an uproar. His murderer, Elijah Lewis, is quickly caught, but tension hangs in the air as the townspeople wonder aloud how soon he'll be executed. This happens around the same time when the annual yacht race is scheduled to take place, and a number of the participants are already gearing themselves up for the event.The story focuses on five characters in particular: Edward "Fritzie" Fitzpatrick, a barrister, the reigning champion of the regatta and the local Jerk Ass; William Anwgin, the magistrate; Alexander Biddle, the court reporter; Tyrone O'Hara, a hotelier; and Father Christopher Huck, who provides counsel to his parishioners while trying to cope with his crusade to save Lewis from the gallows and control his own secret sexual fantasies.SPOILERS ABOUND.
Amoral Attorney: Fritzie, once more. He once managed to convince a client, who was clearly guilty of murder, to wring some sympathy out of the jury by faking tears using an onion, thus reducing his potential sentence.
Babies Ever After: Alexander Biddle and Winnie Leewong have one. So do Iris, the Angwins’ children, and the O'Haras.
Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The information given to the reader about Elijah Lewis's back-story makes it seem so. For one thing, he was cruelly treated while he was in prison, prior to his going mad.
Beware the Nice Ones: After campaigning to get Elijah Lewis's death penalty revoked, and failing in the process, Father Huck breaks down crying in Missus Grandison's arms...then the next Sunday he lets loose with a SAVAGEFire and Brimstone Hell sermon that convinces hardened sinners in the congregation to change their ways, and for the rest of the novel he drops several not-so-subtle hints in his sermons that Magistrate Angwin knows are meant for him (because Angwin was the one who pronounced the death penalty in the first place).
Big Eater: Father Huck, an American, has an intense craving for Jamaican food, as noted by Fritzie. His housekeeper, Missus Grandison, facilitates this, and at one point she convinces him to eat a whole chicken simply because she believes a man must be well-fed.
Butt Monkey: Two examples in O'Hara and Magistrate Angwin.
O'Hara's wife Roxanne, who's physically bigger than he is, frequently beats him up; he's manipulated by his maid Iris, with whom he's having an affair; and the stress of keeping said affair from his wife makes him a nervous wreck.
Magistrate Angwin is this every year during the yacht race, always having to forfeit due to some mishap with his boat.
The Casanova: Fritzie, once more. Or at least, he'd like to think so.
Chekhov's Gun: Early in the novel, Fritzie has a quickie (literally so) with the O'Haras' maid Iris, establishing him as a Casanova Wannabe. Much later, after Iris gets pregnant and has had her baby, Roxanne O'Hara takes one look at the child and realizes that the baby is Fritzie's, motivating her husband Tyrone to challenge Fritzie in the regatta—especially because he'd thought all along that the baby was his and had sought Fritzie's help to get Iris out of his life, for a fee.
Covert Pervert: Both Father Huck and his maid Missus Grandison, though neither is aware of the other’s thoughts until the end of the story. Fritzie suspects his secretary, Lilly Perkins, of being this, what with her antics with him during their trysts together.
Dirty Old Priest: Father Huck considers himself one, due to his persistent sexual fantasies.
Disproportionate Retribution: Charlene Angwin tells one of the Laidlaw brothers that he has African ancestry, due to his brown skin. When Mother Laidlaw learns of this, in revenge she spreads a malicious rumor that Charlene is having an affair with Tyrone O'Hara, a rumor that nearly destroys the Angwins' marriage. After she confesses this to Father Huck, he has to break his vow of confidentiality in order to save the Angwins from divorcing.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Iris sexually assaults O’Hara at one point, but the trope is subverted in that it's not treated as an okay thing. Played straight with Missus Grandison pulling it on Father Huck.
Even Evil Has Standards: Fritzie is randomly selected to be Elijah Lewis’s defense attorney at his trial. Fritzie, who honestly believes Lewis deserves the gallows, sees it as a hypocrisy for him to represent the murderer.
Immodest Orgasm: Lilly Perkins, Fritzie’s secretary, has these constantly when they’re together, much to his chagrin.
Innocently Insensitive: During a social get-together, Charlene insists that most of the dark-skinned persons present have some traces of African ancestry, only stopping when Magistrate Angwin glares at her (and even then, she's still confused at the negative reactions). Being a Scottish foreigner by birth and upbringing, she doesn't realize that this is a very touchy issue for Jamaicans (as it was during the 1950s); indeed, it causes a great deal of rage in Roxanne, who's Trinidadian by birth, and it triggers Mother Laidlaw's Berserk Button when she finds out her sons were looped into that description as well.
It's Personal: O'Hara's participation in the regatta becomes this when he realizes that his maid's newborn child is actually Fritzie's.
Jerk Ass: Primarily Fritzie, but also Magistrate Angwin and Alexander Biddle.
Maligned Mixed Marriage: Charlene's mother was not supportive of her daughter marrying Magistrate Angwin, a black man and (at the time) an up-and-coming barrister. Charlene's father, on the other hand, didn't care, since his daughter was at least marrying somebody.
Manipulative Bastard: Fritzie has O'Hara pay him the standard lawyer's fee to make Iris sign an agreement that she'll leave Montego Bay and have the baby she's carrying for O'Hara. It later becomes a source of rage for O'Hara when, upon being paid a surprise visit by Iris with her newly-born child, he realizes that the baby is actually Fritzie's from an earlier fling.
Mama Bear: Mother Laidlaw is this for her sons. Simply put: do not mention any hint of their family having African ancestry even if it's true.
Men Don't Cry: In the epilogue, the minister is openly hostile toward the white expatriate for weeping publicly.note There's more to it, too—the expatriate is crying about how the social structure of Jamaica has changed in the twenty-plus years since he has been out of Jamaica, while the minister, a black man, is angry that the other man is longing for a system that essentially fostered the putting-down of the black race.
Suspiciously Specific Sermon: Following his Heroic BSOD, Father Huck starts preaching a lot of angry sermons about hellfire, with the intended moral that God is merciful to those who are merciful, getting lost in the Fire and Brimstone Hell-themed speeches—and all of it is directed right at Magistrate Angwin because of his refusal to go back on the death penalty he imposed on the mad Elijah Lewis.
Where Da White Women At?: Why Magistrate Angwin married Charlene. There's a (sort of) justification for this—his ancestors were white plantation owners, but one of his direct patriarchal ancestors had a fling with a black woman, "tarnishing" the bloodline as a result. The magistrate's relatives joke that his marrying Charlene allowed him to "put a little cream in his coffee," the deeper meaning of which is lost on her.
Your Cheating Heart: Fritzie and O'Hara cheat on their wives; the former with his secretary, the latter with his maid. Fritzie's wife returns the favor.