REGATTA TIME AGAIN: Shown (l-r) are Stepheno Kemp, Delworth Gibson, Eric Gibson, the regatta chairman, and Stafford Ambrister at a press conference to announce the 3rd annual “King” Eric Gibson Regatta.
By RENALDO DORSETT
The legacy of one of the most iconic names in Bahamian sailing continues as the regatta named in his honour continues to grow in stature each year.
The 3rd annual “King” Eric Gibson Regatta is scheduled to be hosted this weekend (January 6-8) at the Montagu foreshore, each day from 9am to 11pm.
The King Eric Regatta Committe aims to attract sloops from the A, B and C classes in an all encompassing family atmosphere on the weekend.
The committee members include Eric Gibson Jr (who serves as chairman), Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson, Delworth Gibson, Cindy Gay, Stafford Armbrister and Lorraine Hamilton.
Their aim for establishing the event was to bring awareness to the contributions “King” Eric has made to the sport.
“The King Eric Regatta Committee was formed in 2014 to pay tribute to the legacy of the late King Eric Gibson by recognising his contributions and accomplishments in the development of the sport of sloop sailing in the Bahamas and to hold an annual regatta in honour of King Eric’s legacy,” Eric Gibson Jr said. “King Eric was responsible for establishing most, if not all, of the Bahamian sailing sloop clubs in the Bahamas, as well as starting most, if not all, of the regattas on the various Family Islands. He saw the regattas as an excellent way to stimulate the economies of the Family Islands. I am not sure you would find anyone disagreeing with this sentiment. King Eric was also known as the best sailmaker for Bahamian sailing sloops in the Bahamas. He also supplied most of the Bahamian sloop owners with products to keep their boats in good repair. “King Eric was no doubt a very busy man. He always told me that it wasn’t about him, but it was about building the country. I can truly say that I now fully understand.”
The New Courageous, the Barbarian and the Crazy Partner emerged as the overall class champions in the second annual King Eric All-For-One Regatta last year as it officially kicked off the 2016 sloop sailing calendar year.
Over the three days of competition, the Courageous collected a total of 14 points to edge out the Red Stripe for the victory. The Courageous, skippered by Emmit Munroe, won the first and last races, losing the second race to the Red Stripe, who got second in the first and second races. Despite not sailing in the first race, Ed Sky came in third with a pair of third place finishes in the final two races.
The Southern Cross got three fourths for fourth place with six points and was followed by the Good News, who rounded out the fleet with four points after getting a third and fifth place in the first two races. She didn’t finish the last race.
In the B class, the Barbarian tallied 20 points to emerge as the winner. Storr’s Plumbing got second with 18, Whiplash came in third with 17 points and the Ants Nest was fourth with 16. There was a protest lodged and race coordinator Stafford Armbrister said they sorted it out before they made the official results on the breakdown of the races between the nine boats that participated.
The C class was also keenly contested with the Crazy Partner pulling off a slim 58-57 victory over the Witty K. The Crazy Partner got second in the first two races and was fourth in the third, while the Witty K came in eighth in the first race, but won the final two. Not too far behind in third place was Keep Your Eyes On Him with 54 points after getting a sixth and a pair of third places respectively.
“Last year was a smashing success. We had a record number of persons participating, a record number of boats participating, a record number in terms of prizes that was given to the boats because we made it all about the boats and the various regattas in the Family Islands,” said the committee chairman. “This year, we plan to do basically the same thing, but take it to another level.”
For those who will be onshore watching the action, Gibson said they also intend to have a taste of the islands as vendors from the various islands will be selling food from the stalls.
“This regatta will be a grand affair hosting all Class A, B and C sloops in the Bahamas wanting to participate,” he said. “There will be an array of onshore activities including entertainment by local acts including Ronnie Butler, Ira Storr and the Spank Band, Soulful Groovers Band, So Be It Band, Funky D, Geno D, Puzzle, Veronica Bishop, Ericka, Dyson, Exzec, Wendy and DJ Rev. We expect this to be a grand affair and would like to thank our early sponsors, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources with responsibilities for Regattas, Burns House and the general public.”
Over 30 boats are expected to participate and the event has the potential to have the biggest fleet in the brief history of the event.
“This committee is taking on a great task with bringing in all of the boats. We have boats confirmed from numerous islands already. We are still awaiting boats from Abaco, and we have provisions in place to bring them over,” said committe member Delworth Gibson. “We are looking forward to a good time. We have 34 boats confirmed, but we expect that number to grow exponentially.”