SKIPPER Clyde Rolle made sure that history didn’t repeat itself on Sunday as the 26th St Valentine’s Day Massacre concluded with none of the A class boats catching the B class Lady in Red, Lady Nathalie in the ‘Catch Me If You Can’ challenge race in Montagu Bay.
#The race allowed the Lady in Red a 12-minute head start on the field and unlike last year when they were caught by the Red Stripe before they reached the finish line, Rolle managed to stay in front as they coasted to victory to claim the Palm Cay Floating Trophy that was donated in honour of Sir Durward ‘Sea Wolf’ Knowles.
#“We started off with a sail a little bit bigger than we needed because I listened to the weather forecast and they said that the wind was supposed to drop, so we carried a bigger sail,” Rolle said. “On the other hand, the A class boats carried their small sail and when the wind died out, they closed the gap on me.
#“But when the wind died out, they couldn’t close it anymore because I was able to hoist our sail and they couldn’t close us anymore. As a matter of fact, if we had gone another lap, we would have opened the gap even more the way the wind was blowing.”
#Rolle attributed the efforts of his crew for the manner in which they conducted themselves as they held off the field that had the Good News, skippered by Lee Armbrister and the Southern Cross, skippered bu Josh Green, as their nearest rivals.
#While Rolle captured the challenge race, there was also an A class race that saw the Red Stripe, skippered by Lundy Robinson, prevail over the Good News, followed by the Southern Cross. Coming in fourth was the Palm Cay Princess, skippered by King Eric Gibson.
#In addition to the ‘Catch Me If You Can’ race, there was also an E class race that saw Rolle once again emerge victorious, this time on Sands Light. Lundy Robinson, sailing the Vasyl, was second and One Bahamas, skippered by Stephen Rolle, came in third.
#“That was the first time that I ever sailed those boats,” said Rolle, who picked up a pair of first and a second to defeat his brother, Lundy Robinson, who got a first and two second. “My brother is an excellent skipper, but he knows when he’s sailing against me, he has his work cut out for him. The teacher is still there.”
#The whole weekend was another success and it included the return of the sculling races (organised by the Bahamian Brewery and Sands Beer), the Optimist sailing for juniors and, for the first time, rowing. The event was organised by Eleazor ‘the Sailing Barber’ Johnson, who was beaming with excitement.
#“I’m so proud and so happy with the Nathalie to see what she did,” said Johnson, who is also the proud owner of the Lady in Red.
#“To keep her in the competition that she was in, was the difference. She was built in 1979 to beat the A class boats. So I was glad that Clyde Rolle didn’t allow any of the boats to catch her.”
#Johnson said without the support of all of the sponsors, including Bahamian Brewery and Sands Beer, BTC, Sir Durward Knowles, Bristol Cellars, Palm Cay and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, the event would not have been such a success.
#Before he starts planning for the 27th version of the regatta next year, Johnson said he’s looking at staging the Easter Fiesta in Montagu Bay over the Easter holiday weekend to provide some excitement for those persons who are not planning to travel to any of the Family Islands.
#Stafford Armbrister, who coordinated the sailing competition, said it turned out to be a very competitive regatta.
#“All of the boats showed up. We had some problems on Saturday because of the rain, but we still sailed one A class,” Armbrister said. “We didn’t have any problems. Everybody enjoyed themselves. What we didn’t sail on Saturday, we made up for today. So it was a good regatta.”