On June 04th 2012, I boarded the Miss Anguilla (a top performer sailing boat) and we set sail from Sandy Ground to Crocus Bay to start a boat race. We raced from Crocus Bay to beyond Dog Island and back. I was excited because it was my first boat racing experience (hence my choice of a short boat race).
About a year earlier, I had mentioned to Ponto (the Captain of the Miss Anguilla), my interest in participating in a race. He was more than happy to have me on board. However, while it sounded good to say it, for various reasons, I just did not follow through at that time.
That happens in life a lot doesn’t it? There is something we want to do but we put off our dream until a later date. Sometimes we are scared of the unknown (hey the sea can be scary). Sometimes we are afraid of what others might say or think (laughing right now as I remember the funny comments my friends made). Thanks for your support guys. Whatever the reason, the result is that too often that date never comes. Today if there is something you really want to do refocus and recommit to getting it done.
Both Ponto and Tim (a passionate boat racer) refueled my commitment to race. I totally enjoyed my boat racing experience, from the trash talk on the beach, to the trash talk on the boat as the guys argued about what to do. The Captain looked dapper in his sailing cap and remained calm amidst all the chatter and ‘expertise’ and guided the boat to a second place finish…Congrats Miss Anguilla.
The sea was calm, the sun was warm upon my face, the breeze was refreshing, and the sails of our boat and the other boats were majestic. It was a beautiful day but hey no sleeping!
For any person who has raced, they know that while on the boat you have to be constantly alert as the wind may shift or you may have to tack. This requires a quick response which often means moving to the other side of the boat. I was one female among 19 males and I did not get stepped on – whew what a relief. In fact the guys were great. They explained what was going on, carried me on their neck on and off the boat, ensured I got food at the end of the race etc. They were gentlemen indeed.
I think we have one of the coolest national sports. It is a sport which can be enjoyed if you are on water or if you on land. However, to be successful at it takes strength and endurance, skill and an understanding of angles and degrees. It also requires a keen sense of direction, quick decision making, team work, leadership and a personal responsibility for the whole.
I now have a strong respect for what it takes to participate in our national sport and I am geared up and excited to hit the seas again in the near future.
There are many young people who race on the boats each year but I do fear that they may not be learning or grasping the skills and love inherent in some of the older folk for the sport. I would hate for us to lose the skill of boat building or the love of racing. Today I want each of us to agree to watch David Carty’s documentary on boat racing in Anguilla. The documentary is called Nuttin Bafflin. Also do seize the opportunity to race if it arises. It is part of our culture. Participate.
Culture can only stay alive if we ensure it does. The older generation must teach the younger generation and the younger generation must be willing to learn and listen. Boat racing is we ting…an Anguillian ting…let’s keep it going!