Junior Sailing Initiative

Junior Sailing
The Exuma Foundation and the National Family Island Regatta Committee have been involved with trying to develop a Junior Sailing Programme for better than a decade. The problems with the program as it was are the following:

  • The junior sailors use boats that the Committee rents from the main Regatta competitors who insist upon one or two adults of their choice accompanying the young people on the races.   This is not only costly but it is impossible to know to what degree the adults influence the sailing of the boats.
  • No life jackets were worn.
  • Although the boats are class “C” dinghies they vary a good deal in their competiveness.
  • It is difficult to ascertain whether the competitors fall within the age range specified by the rules.
  • There is no organized waiver system that ensures that the parents have given permission for their children to sail.

At the 2010 Regatta Capt. Sheldon Gibson brought a team of juniors from the school he teaches at who sailed a boat, Old Faithful,  that they had participated in the building of.  The young people sailed in the three race junior series and all the regular series races without adult assistance.

Gibson’s boat has a number of advantages as a model for a single design Junior Class:

  • This is clearly a Bahamian Class “E” dinghy and harks back to the days when this was an active class.
  • The cost of building such a boat is modest – approximately $14,000.00 with a trailer and ready to sail.
  • Some positive buoyancy could be built into the boat to avoid sinking.
  • It has been shown that crew of three or four properly trained young people can handle this type of boat competently.
  • Such a class would save the Committee money and establish a much fairer competition.

This design is now adopted as the official Junior Class.

The Exuma Foundation now owns three boats and has access to a third.  Regular training sessions and ‘Mini Regattas’ are held under the direction of Dallas Knowles and Joel Morton

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A Poem

The Exumas
Sail her down, sail her down,
Sail her down to George Town.
Highborne Cay the first: we see,
Yellow Bank is by the lee.
Harvey Cay is in the moon,
Farmers Gay is coming soon.
Now we come to Galliot,

Out in the ocean we must go,
Children’s Bay is passing fast,
Stocking Island came at last.
Nassau gal is all behind,
George Town gal is on my mind.
A wiggle and a giggle and a jamboree,
Great Exuma is the place for me!

Exuma Islands Poem

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