By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
ALTHOUGH he was denied the opportunity to compete against the rest of the A class boats, the Rev Dr Philip McPhee said his PM Thunderbird will still take to the waters in Montagu Bay on Saturday.
Dr McPhee was hoping that after remodelling the banned Tanqueray to fit the requirements to compete with the other boats, he would have been given the green light to compete in the Sir Durward Knowles 100 Regatta this weekend in Montagu Bay.
"At a meeting today, Danny Strachan said the PM Thunderbird will not be allowed to compete in the regatta because the boat was banned more than 30 years ago," McPhee said.
"He said until the Ministry of Agriculture gives him the clearance, the boat cannot sail in the regatta. For us not to put a cloud over the Sir Durward Regatta, the PM Thunderbird will sail to salute Sir Durward and then we will come back in.
"Unfortunately, many of the crew and the sailors were upset with the decision that was made by Danny Strachan and Clyde Rolle and we want to wish Sir Durward the best birthday as he celebrates the 100th year."
However, Dr McPhee said the PM Thunderbird will not return to the waters on Sunday when the final day of competition is held.
Dr McPhee also thanked all of the boat owners and sailors who lobbied in the meeting to get the PM Thunderbird to sail with them. But he said they will abide by the rules and regulations set for the regatta.
While he said the sponsors, who assisted him in getting the boat ready, are also disappointed in not getting the chance to sail, Dr McPhee said they will still go out after the fleet in the "free for all" regatta on Saturday. "We will just go out to salute Sir Durward and then come back in," he said. "There are a lot of people who want to see this boat sail. But unfortunately they will have to wait until we get the matter sorted out by the ministry."
At a recent meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr McPhee said a five-man committee was commissioned to investigate the boat to see whether or not it was seaworthy to compete in regattas sponsored by the ministry.
Three of the members - Vivian Lockhart, Mark Knowles and Tommy Thompson - viewed the boat and made the recommendation that the PM Thurderbird had met the requirements. However, missing were Sheldon Gibson and Clyde Rolle.
Dr McPhee was hoping that the ministry would have made a decision on the recommendation by the three members, but no decision was made.
As the Sir Durward Regatta is being organised by One Bahamas, the National Family Island Regatta Committee and the Bahamas Sailing Association, it was agreed that the PM Thunderbird will not be allowed to sail.
While it's a regatta where the boats are not sailing for any prize money or trophies, McPhee said he was hoping that the PM Thunderbird would be allowed to compete.
He said he will wait on the final decision by the ministry as to the next course of action he will take. But a disappointed Dr McPhee said he just wanted the chance to show the public that the PM Thunderbird is a legitimate A class boat and should be allowed to compete.