'The Sailing Barber' looks forward to great showdown in Montagu Bay

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net THE stage is set for the 25th anniversary of the 'Catch Me If You Can' St Valentine's Day Massacre. Organiser Eleazor "The Sailing Barber" Johnson said they are anticipating a great showdown in Montagu Bay when the two-day event takes place next weekend. "We are exciting some 15 C Class, we expect some 20 Optimist boats from the Nassau Yacht Club and we have about five A Class," Johnson said. "This is going to be a big one because we have a lot of activities going on in Montagu foreshore. We also have the sculling boats from Sands Beer participating, so there's going to be a lot of excitement this year." This year's regatta will be held in honour of legendary Sir Durward 'Sea Wolf' Knowles, who is currently recuperating from the flu. A new floating trophy has been commissioned by Richard Browning, chief executive officer of the Palm Cay Marina, for the event. "He has been very good to me," said Johnson of Knowles. "He has been very good to me. He has been with me for 16 years helping me out with the sponsorship, along with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Mr Everette Sands, who has been with me with the Campari Lady Nathalie." On Sunday, February 19, Johnson's B Class boat Lady Nathalie will once again be given a head start on the field of A Class boats. This year, if she isn't caught, Johnson will be awarded the floating trophy and $1,000. If caught, the incentives will go to the winner. Since staging the event, only the New Courageous and the Red Stripe have caught the Lady Nathalie more than twice. Johnson said he's eager to get back on the water because he doesn't believe that any of the boats will catch him this year. His skipper Clyde Rolle said while Johnson has a lot of things planned for the spectators on the shore, they will have a chance to view some of the best competition ever on the waters on both days. Saturday's activities will include a B Class competition while the spectators' sculling races for the new boats built by Sheldon Gibson for the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, as well as the Optimist racing for the juniors, will be staged. "These new boats built by Sheldon are something to look at," Rolle said. "I know a lot of people will be eager to get in them and scull them. But by the time they get to the Family Island Regatta in Georgetown, Exuma, we are hoping that they can also be included in the E Class competition." "We hope to have a big fleet of them because I know Sheldon also has one that he and the students from CV Bethel built and there are some other boats that are also being built right now." As for the 'Catch Me If You Can' race, Rolle said he has been successful in leading the Lady Nathalie ahead of the fleet of A Class boats for the last two years. The last time he was caught was about two years ago by the Red Stripe. Prior to that, it was the New Courageous. "We have been very successful in beating all of the other boats," Rolle said. "I don't know what will happen this year but we will have the Lady Nathalie ready for whoever shows up and tries to catch us."


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