The 24th Grand Bahama Regatta and Homecoming is slated to take place in the historic Smith’s Point community from July 14 - 20. Over a six-day period, Grand Bahamians will have access to a series of events with the races set to take place, July 19-20.
This year’s race will feature two divisions once again: The C-Class Division for the senior sailors, and an E-Class division to highlight the up-and-coming junior sailing talent from around the country. For Grand Bahama, the 24th edition of the GB Regatta and Homecoming will be historic as the host island will be represented in the E Class Division for the very first time.
Under the name, I Can’t Believe It built by Luther Ferguson, a member of the South Andros Sailing Association, Grand Bahama are now hopefuls to keep the junior division’s sailing title at home.
In a recent interview with the sailing veteran voiced that it was not the first time he had assisted the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. Some time ago Ferguson loaned the GBSC his D Class boat by the name of Lady Myrtle, just so the young members of the local sailing club could familiarize themselves with the Bahamian Regatta sloops.
It took Ferguson roughly two months (April 4 - May 31) to complete the construction of I Can’t Believe It. He admitted that the inspiration for the name came from how the junior sailing sloop was built.
“My father, Elijah Ferguson, found the name for it. The reason for the name of the boat was, because the way the boat was constructed, people are going to say ‘How could this boat come here for the first time and do so good?’
“It’s not a surprise to me. I knew what I was building with the design of it. Because I have a D Class boat, I used part of that mold to construct this boat. I know with the D Class boat, I have never really lost a race from 2002 and on.”
Ferguson later offered that the key to constructing the most competitive sloop when it comes to Regattas is making the boat as aerodynamic as possible.
“You want the boat to have less drag as possible and you don’t want it to be too low in the water. You want the boat to be out of the water as much as possible. Face wise, it has to be thin enough because you don’t want a boat that push seas in the face.
“It has to be constructed where the water shoots out the back. Once you have a boat designed that way you have a boat that is a powerhouse.
“Your mass has to be light, and you don’t want too much bodyweight inside of a boat, especially a 12-foot boat. The maximum weight you want in it is maybe 200 pounds or even 190 pounds. You don’t want the boat in the water too much.
“If the boat mass is heavy, the boat bow is going to go forward and if the mass is light, it will bring the bow up, which means you won’t have to use so much bottom weight in the boat if the mass is light. But if the mass is heavy, you’d have to use a lot of bottom weight until the bilge of the boat hits the water to stop it from capsizing.”
With high expectations headed into this year’s Regatta and Homecoming, Ferguson believes that the junior races will play a big role in the success of this year’s annual sailing competition.
“I believe this year will be better because even at the end of it, last year, there were more young persons involved. Whenever more young people are involved in any organization it brings out the adults.
“And that’s the real catch behind the GB Regatta - more young people involved will bring out the adults - the mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles. I applaud those who are helping out with the young kids in the Sailing Club and getting them involved in the Regatta.
“I hope to see more young people get involved with sailing so we could get more constructive with it,” he concluded.