Our most recent Hope Town Sailing Club regatta was quite an exciting race. It took place just after a cold front passed and the wind and sea built throughout the day. I think that Dave and I had more fun than anyone, since we were the crew on the mark set boat. After setting the race markers, we followed the boats around the course, taking lots of excellent photos of everyone. The 22 foot Boston Whaler that we were in was borrowed from one of the boat rental businesses, as the owner was the person scheduled to the job that we did. We volunteered to replace him so that he and his crew could go out and race on Hope Town's wood Class A sloop, the Abaco Rage. The 28 foot Rage was built in 1980 here in Man-O-War Cay, and more information on the boat and Class A races can be found in an Abaco Life article by clicking here. These native Bahamian sloops are raced on a national level in three different size classes.
What an exhibition the Rage put on, especially when sailing downwind and then jibing back upwind.
They certainly needed all of the crew that they had for weight and leverage out on the wood prys, to offset the wind in the huge sails.
The crew placement is extremely important regarding the stability of the boat. The prys are slid back and forth so the crew and weight can be on the high side of the boat. Meanwhile, while everyone is scrambling to get to the other side (one crew member broke his foot during the race!), the sails are filling with wind and sweeping across the deck and into the water. At one point it looked like the boat was going to broach, but eventually recovered.
An added challenge to the day was when the Gemini Catamran that was the race committee boat for the day, had engine problems and wouldn't start.
That was a big problem since 81 year old Diane (who won our Press on Regardless Award last year) had to move her boat to the windward finish line. Good thing thing Dave was close by to fix it. It really tested my boat handling capabilities, to drop him off and pick him up on her boat that was swinging around in the wind, and pitching up and down in the 3 foot choppy Sea of Abaco. Not to mention that I was driving an unfamiliar skiff. Everyone was impressed (including me) when I did it without hitting her boat or killing Dave in the process. All Dave kept saying was, "If your mother could see you now!"