The Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate (A.R.S.S.) has been busy lately participating in the traditional Bahaman Sloop Sailing races in George Town, Exuma and Salt pond, Long Island.
Traditional sailing sloops are wooden sailing vessels, made in the Bahamas and sailed by Bahamians. Sails are mostly canvas, no electronics or winches are allowed, just like the old days.
Today’s race boats, although they represent the past, are fine-tuned racers and the field is very competitive. There are four classes, A (28 feet long), B (21 feet long), C (17 feet long) and E (12 feet long).
Stafford ‘Captain Plug’ Patterson of ARSS said that they have been campaigning two boats nationally for four years now, “our B Class “Lonesome Dove” and C Class “It Ain’t Right”; Although we own and maintain an A Class boat – The Abaco Rage – we no longer race her nationally due to her age.”
He said “going in to the National Family Island Regatta in George Town the last week in April (The National Championships) both our boats were defending National Champions from 2017.”
He said the weather conditions were challenging for Skipper Jeff Gale and crew during the Regatta with several light air days.
After some skillful racing and several very close, exciting finishes the “Lonesome Dove” scored three firsts and a second, including winning the Governor Generals Cup, for a first overall and a second straight National Championship.
The B Class fleet consisted of 12 boats including the “Susan Chase” (Stefan Knowles, Long Island) and “Tari Ann” (Dallas Knowles, Exuma).
In C Class “It Ain’t Right” had to battle 31 boats earning fifth overall, scoring a third in the Commodores Cup and a fourth in the Coca Cola Cup. Competition came from “Whitty K” (Stefan Knowles, Long Island) and “Crazy Partner” (Lundy Robinson, Exuma)
Captain Plug said “The 51st Long Island Regatta was held over the Labour Day weekend and with generally windy conditions, as well as the home field advantage for Stefan Knowles of Mangrove Bush, Long Island, Skippered the winning A, B and C Class boats.
Both the “Lonesome Dove” and “It Ain’t Right”, skippered by Andrew Wilhoyte, finished a respectable third overall in each class. Stafford said that “Unfortunately, due to a cracked mast, “It Ain’t Right” had to withdraw from the C Class Juniors Race, which was a major disappointment to the team.”
He said that ARSS now has their sights set on the 43rd Regatta Time In Abaco. “We will be sailing the iconic “Abaco Rage” during this four-race series from June 24th to July 3rd.”
He added that this will be “the Abaco Rage’s 16th RTIA and it is considered by the Crew as our “home” Regatta and one we look forward to with much anticipation.”