The crew of Class-B sloop, Lady Nathalie, celebrates victory. Skipper Clyde Rolle is on the far right.
The Shotgun – BOOM! I finally figure out what the shotgun is for when it blasts from our boat. Lady Nathalie pulls up her anchor and raises her sails, getting a head start. Thirteen minutes later, a second BOOM!, as the five Class A sloops raise anchor and sails, and fall onto starboard tack, headed to the windward mark. Then, within seconds, CRACK! Running Tide, Southern Cross and Good News collide when Southern Cross is sandwiched between the other two. Fortunately, the wooden masts stay up and there is no injury or major damage. Armbrister and Linrose quickly grab two swimming crew thrown overboard by the force of the collision and return them to Southern Cross. After all, the Bahamian racing rules say you must finish with the same crew you started with. “Will there be a penalty?” I asked. “No,” replies Armbrister. “They were all on starboard after the start.” Of course. Those special Bahamian racing rules again. As we escort the sloops around the course, the megaphone gets a constant workout as Armbrister keeps a safety watch. “Keep off! Give him buoy room!” “Stand on!” “Don’t be luffin!” As the sloops cross the finish line to one final BOOM! from the shotgun, Lady Nathalie holds off the competition and sails to victory.
Final results: Lady Nathalie—from Acklins, skippered by Clyde Rolle Ed Sky—from Nassau, skippered by Lee Armbrister Running Tide—from Long Island, skippered by Stefan Knowles Red Stripe—from Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exuma, skippered by Lundy Robinson New Southern Cross—from Andros Island, skippered by Denrick Miller Good News—from Ragged Island, skippered by Stefano Kemp To most Bahamians, “Regatta Time” means party! Dress up, drink a Kalik beer or maybe some rum, munch on some conch, dance to Rake ‘N’ Scrape. But the final duty of a Bahamian race committee chairman at the end of a long day’s racing is to pass out prize money. Sailing in the Bahamas is done for the love of the sport and for fun. And for money. The idea of financial support is to keep sloop racing alive and well in the Bahamas and to partially compensate boat builders, owners, skippers and crew for the considerable time, money and effort involved in racing these wooden boats, which may cost their owners an initial investment of $100,000 to build them by hand, and thousands of dollars a year to maintain. A new mainsail costs maybe $7,000, and successful racing requires a large sail inventory of canvas or
Published on Apr 30, 2017
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