Sir Durward Knowles Back To School Youth Regatta ‘great fun’ at Montagu


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Milano Moxey and Alexander Ferguson sailing the E-Class Sloop ‘Bluebird'; Tristan Eldon, winner of the Optimist Championship Fleet; Darrell Roberts, winner of the Sunfish Class; Gabriel Newbold, winner of the Optimist Green Fleet; Overall winner Tyler McSweeney receives his trophy from sloop legend Eleazor ‘the Sailing Barber’ Johnson and Cindy Gay from the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources. Photos by Robert Dunkley

BRINGING the island’s junior summer sailing camps to a close, the Bahamas National Sailing School along with Lady Nathalie Enterprise and CV Bethel Sailing Club hosted the Sir Durward Knowles Back To School Youth Regatta earlier this month at Nassau Yacht Club and Montagu Beach.

“This is an event that was started in 2010 by Eleazor Johnson (captain and owner of Lady Nathalie), Sir Durward Knowles and Jimmie Lowe and since then has taken place every year at this time now with the support of the Regatta Desk (Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources).

“We couldn’t have asked for better sailing conditions on Montagu Bay, with winds of 10 to 12 knots out of the east,” said Robert Dunkley, director of the Bahamas National Sailing School. “This regatta was great fun for all our junior sailors from around the island and gave them the opportunity to try different boats.”

On Saturday, Optimist Dinghies (sailed by the youngest kids – eight to 12 years old), Sunfish, Lasers and Int’I 420’s raced and on Sunday the sailors were treated to racing in E-Class Sloops as well as J22’s, many for the first time in their lives.

The E-Class Sloops are small Bahamian built double-handed sailboats used by CV Bethel Sailing Club in their junior programme. The J22’s are 22 foot sailboats more for adults. “It was amazing to see how well the youngsters handled these boats,” according to a press release.

Sloop legend, the very generous Eleazor ‘the Sailing Barber’ Johnson along with Stafford Armbrister, the sloop sailor behind the development of junior sloop sailing and the CV Bethel Sailing Club, were on hand to give away “Back to School” goodie bags filled with supplies - a tradition Johnson started years ago with Sir Durward Knowles.

Also, as part of the regatta tradition, a participant’s medal was awarded to each sailor and along with it words of wisdom and encouragement from Johnson.

The overall winner of the regatta was Tyler McSweeney, who sailed his Laser ‘I Got This’ to first place in all six races in the Laser Class. Another top competitor was Tristan Eldon who won all six races in the Advanced Optimist Fleet. McSweeney broke the tie between the two by racing on Sunday in the E-Class Sloop.

Gabriel Newbold took top honours in the Optimist Green Fleet, while Darrell Roberts won the Sunfish Class. Cochise Burrows with crew Matteo Alliata won the I420Class and Marcus Parotti, who has recently moved to Nassau from Exuma, won the E-Class Sloop series.

“It is so wonderful to see the continuation of this event and the support not only from our sailing legends Eleazor Johnson and Sir Durward Knowles but also the Nassau Yacht Club and “The Regatta Desk” at Ministry Of Agriculture,” Dunkley said.

“Thank you to you all. And a big thank you to Stafford Armbrister for organising the E-Class sloops for us. We look forward to working with you in the future in further developing our junior sailing talent in the country.”


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