The crew of Class-A sloop New Courageous of Ragged Island at the start of the 2018 Family Regatta work in unison pulling the anchor, as the mastman prepares to hoist the mainsail. Bahamian racing rules call for a start from anchor, with sails down. All boats start on starboard tack, to avoid collisions.
to neighboring Cat island if he is looking for a very large, strong hardwood tree for the stem—and eyeballs the wild tamarind trees, picking the ones he wants for their shape. Like slicing bread, he cuts the ribs, each one different from the next.
been retired and replaced. National champions have also come from Nassau and the Abaco Islands. In recent years, Red Stripe, skippered by Lundy Robinson of Black Point, Exuma and Ed Sky, skippered by Lee Armbrister of Nassau, are well-positioned to win. My card-playing mother always won her bets. Hearing all this talk about family, I remembered my own card-shark Mom and our own family traditions. I considered the odds. Is the tide running out for Tida Wave? Or will she come surging back? A team of sailing cousins from Staniel Cay, versus a clan of boatbuilders from Mangrove Bush, Long Island. Which will emerge as the bookie’s favorite? Or will the winner be a longshot from one of the other islands? Where do I put my money? You can’t win if you don’t bet. The next National Family Island Regatta of the Bahamas will be sailed in George Town, Exuma, from Thursday, April 25, 2019 to Monday, April 29, 2019. Come on down and see for yourself.
Should I keep my money on Tida Wave? Tida Wave has plenty of challengers who can win, and not just from Long Island. The competition runs deep. On any given day, any boat can win because of preparation, crew, ballast, sail choice, getting off the line in time and just plain luck. What if a boat runs aground on a sandbar? What if wind gusts are so strong a boat can’t gybe the enormous mainsail, and must tack around in a circle? In sloop racing, the factors are endless. Descendants from the Family Island Regatta founding families of 1954 still compete for the islands where they were born. Sloop sailing in their genes, sailing with their own sons and grandsons, Emmett Ruperts Legend, a Long Island Sloop built by the Jan Pehrson is a sailing photojournalist Munroe and Wycliffe Albury from Knowles family takes a knockdown. Ruperts Legend who summers in San Francisco, CA and the Ragged Islands, and the is being retired and replaced by newly-built New winters in St. Pete Beach, FL. As a racReverend Philip McPhee from the Legend. Photo courtesy Art Paine ing and cruising sailor and Coast island of Andros, remain active. Guard-licensed skipper, Jan’s familiarity Bahamian racing sloops are wood, so some original family with sailing and the sailing community lends an in-depth element boats have been rebuilt, like Albury’s Good News. Others, to her prolific array of photographs and articles. Contact her at like Munroe’s Original Courageous and New Courageous, have www.janpehrson.com 36
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