Wells’ Ruling On Pm Thunderbird ‘Bittersweet’ In Sailing Community

The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources’ decision to allow the Aliv PM Thunderbird to sail in the second annual Best-of-the-Best Regatta has drawn more conversation, not just about the A class boat’s participation over the weekend in Montagu Bay, but in future regattas.

The Aliv PM Thunderbird is owned by Rev Dr Philip McPhee, who did some remodelling of the boat, formerly the Tanquarey, which was banned from sailing for more than 30 years because it was deemed at the time not to be a Bahamian designed boat, one of the requirements for entry into the local regattas.

Everywhere you went around the regatta site over the weekend, the biggest discussion was about Minister Renward Wells’ final ruling to allow the Aliv PM Thunderbird to sail and whether it was a good decision by the majority of the top A class boats not to compete because of the decision.

The ruling came after an appointed seven-man committee by the ministry voted unanimously that the alterations that Dr McPhee made to the Aliv PM Thunderbird were not sufficient to make the boat any different from the Tanquarey.

Wells, the minister responsible for regattas, said he made the decision to allow the boat to sail in the regatta. As the authority over the committee, Wells was able to grant Dr McPhee his wish without having to go through any long, drawn out discussion.

That decision, however, has left a ‘bittersweet’ taste in the mouths of the sailing community and it was obvious from the reaction of those who were on hand in Montagu Bay to get a first hand glimpse of one of the biggest controversies to hit the sport.

For those in a bitter state, there was a lot of concern about commissioning committees in the future when they felt that their decision didn’t matter. It was as if their work was in vain as the only consolation was that the Aliv PM Thunderbird was only granted permission to compete in the Best-of-the-Best Regatta.

However, many are also concerned with the fact that by allowing the boat to sail over the weekend, Dr McPhee has been given more ammunition to take on the committees at the various regattas in the Family Islands, who tell him next year that his boat is not eligible to compete. 

For those who insist that the Aliv PM Thunderbird won’t be allowed to sail could be facing a legal issue that could put a damper on sailing, which has already gotten Prime Minister Hubert Minnis’ approval to become the national sport of the Bahamas, replacing the sport of cricket.

In the spirit of the sport, there were those who argued that they didn’t see any reason why the Aliv PM Thunderbird should not have been allowed to compete, considering the fact that she looked just like her rivals.

The only difference was she didn’t compete like all of them and that could be because the crew was just getting accustomed to sailing the boat. There were those who just wanted to see how well the boat stacked up against the other top boats that didn’t compete. For those persons, there were no issues. They concurred with Wells’ decision. They just wanted to see a competitive regatta.

But no matter what side of the coin you were holding, the controversy had an adverse effect on the regatta and it could spill over to the other regattas next year.

It’s not fair to Dr McPhee to say that we can only grant you permission to compete in this regatta, but you will have to fend for yourself against the other committees if you want to sail in their regattas. There should be one hard fast rule for all boats to compete in the regattas whether they are the small ones or the big ones.

Hopefully, in the way forward as they look towards making sailing the national sport of the Bahamas, the ministry will bring all of the groupings under one umbrella and establish a national body or federation that will oversee all regattas and make each and every one compatible with each other. There shouldn’t be one rule for this regatta and another rule for the other regatta. Then there won’t be any discussion on whether or not this boat or that boat should be allowed to compete in the Best of the Best, which is fast becoming the regatta of all regattas with a huge cash prize.

Congratulations to

the Roadrunners

There aren’t many clubs in any sport who celebrate the way the Roadrunners do. I want to congratulate coach Dexter Bodie and his assistants, including secretary Mildred Adderley, for the 18th consecutive year that they have hosted their year-ending awards banquet to honour the outstanding athletic and academic accomplishments of their athletes. It’s just so amazing to see how well they organise their awards banquet at the Atlantis resort where the athletes get to dress up from head to toe in all their splendor to receive their accolades for the hard work that they put in on and off the track during the course of the season.

Obviously, it’s a mammoth task and that is probably why no other club in any sport does it like the Roadrunners. They are in a class all by themselves as they outshine many associations and federations, who don’t even take the time to give back to the athletes for their performances.

Not only have they set the bar, but they have taken it higher every year and not only the athletes, but the parents are just as excited about watching their children take centre stage, even if they are not the best athletes to compete, in their respective age group divisions against the other clubs.

The Roadrunners have and are continuing to do it in grand style and Bodie and Adderley and the rest of the executives and coaches must be commended for putting on a high-class reception for their athletes and their parents.

Condolences to the

Cargill Family

While he will be remembered for his contribution as a former president of the Bahamas Bowling Federation, The Tribune Sports Department wishes to extend its condolences to the family of the late Ashley Cargill.

Cargill, a politician as well, was instrumental in a family that made their presence felt in sports, especially his family members, including his sisters New Providence Women’s Basketball Association president Mynez Cargill-Sherman and Venice Cargill-Russell and cousin, Bahamas Aquatic Federation president Algernon Cargill, just a few to mention. They all made a name for themselves as members of the Big Red Machine sporting programme at St Augustine’s College.


Baha10 2 years, 9 months ago

Those Captains and Owners who abstained in protest should be commended for taking a stand for the Rule of Law and those who capitulated (only 3), together with the Minister should be admoiished as being repsentative of why the Country is in the mess we are in today where we no longer stand for anything, much less principle.


sheeprunner12 2 years, 9 months ago

Yep ...... this no decision for Cabinet Ministers to get mixed up with ...... Not good for the "national sport" ............ When will ALL of these so-called Boat Owners Associations get together and form a National Federation that can then establish a set of rules for native sloop sailing competitions?????? Then a fiberglass boat will not be allowed to compete against wooden crafts.


Baha10 2 years, 9 months ago

Everything translates down from Class A, so given that there are less that 15 Class A Boats in existence and they all currently meet traditional requirements to the satisfaction of all other Owners, let those Owners form an Association that sets the Rules and appoints a 5 Man Committee to Regulate new builds and refurbishments.


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