REGATTA TIME: Kelly Kemp of H20, Rev Dr Philip McPhee, of Bowe’s Electric Thunderbird and Jed Munroe, of the Courageous, talk about the Rock Sound and Best of the Best regattas.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
TWO C Class boats will secure their berths at the third annual Rock Sound Regatta this weekend in Eleuthera for the Best of the Best Regatta in Montagu Bay in December.
Rev Dr Philip McPhee, consultant at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, confirmed the latter.
“About 30 years ago, me and the late King Eric Gibson went down to Rock Sound and we discovered that the harbour, in my opinion, might be the best for C Class sailing in the Bahamas,” McPhee said.
“It has been a hidden secret for all these many years and we went down there and we had two successful regattas. This year, we look for it being another success with 12 of the top C Class boats going down to compete.”
The boats lined up to compete this weekend are the Dream Girl, Lethal Weapon, Lady Eunice, Whiplash, Golden Girl, San Sally, Sweet Island Gal, King and Knights, the new Bowe’s Electric Thunderbird, Catch the Cat, Fugitive and Sacrifice.
At the conclusion of the regatta, held in honour once again for the Bahamian icon Gibson, McPhee said two boats would get a chance to clinch the final two spots. The boats will get a chance to compete in at least three races with the chance for a fourth one through the sponsorship of Damian Gomez, the Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera.
“Damian Gomez has certainly been a MP that has supported his constituency,” McPhee said. “Every regatta in Eleuthera, he personally gives a tremendous amount of money to ensure the success of that regatta. He makes sure and gets the support of his area and I want to say that I am proud of how he put his support behind the regattas.”
Eight of the boats have already clinched their berth in the Best of the Best Regatta in December by winning one of the regattas that has already been held during the course of the year.
“You have to win a regatta to get in. You can’t just come and get in,” McPhee said. “All of the boats that are already in have won a regatta. If they win, they are in, if they don’t win, they will be out and they will have to stay out. You can’t buy, creep or crawl in. That’s why the Best of the Best Regatta is starting to draw a lot of attention because only the best of the best boats will be competing.”
Those boats already in are Lethal Weapon, Sweet Island Gal, King and Knights, Bowe’s Electric Thunderbird, Sacrifice, Bulla Reg, Crazy Partner and Whitty K.
Kelly Kemp of H2O out of Black Point, Exuma, said they are excited about competing in the Rock Sound Regatta because they have a point to prove.
“I’m looking forward to this Best of the Best. That’s why I’m going into Rock Sound this weekend because H2O is the best C Class boat out there and we haven’t qualified yet,” Kemp said. “So I want to prove to the rest of the field that I am the best of the best and I deserve to be in that field.”
Kemp said the Best of the Best would be determined by three boat builders, including Buzzy Rolle from Exuma and Mark Knowles out of Long Island. The other boat builder is Van Ferguson from Black Point, Exuma, who built H2O, so Kemp has some added incentive to go after.
“I’m going to show them that boats built in Black Point, Exuma, are the best of the best,” Kemp said. “They are the slow boats. They can’t beat me. Bring the light or the heavy breeze. I will be number one.”
But Richard Ross, the owner of San Sally, objected to Kemp’s claim.
“San Sally is all the way from San Salvador, the beast from the east,” he said. “We’re going to Rock Sound because we have to win this regatta to get into the Best of the Best. We are going to win this one and then go to San Salvador and chill until the Best of the Best is held.”
Ross said they’re not concerned about any of their rivals because they are all “small fries.”
Samantha Campbell and Travis Bowleg are the chairperson and co-chairman of the regatta, which will be held on Friday-Sunday. There are a number of exciting events being planned on the ground during the regatta.
The boats will leave at 1 pm on Thursday for Rock Sound.
In Wednesday’s Tribune, McPhee will provide more insight on the Best of the Best Regatta.