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Bahamian Sloop Race

After having spent way too much time at Black Point we were ready to move. Word on the street was that there was a Bahamian sloop race this coming weekend in Barreterre, a town just south of here. What better excuse than to pull anchor and set course to the next destination. We’d barely made it any amount into the deep waters of the Exuma Sound, before I was dropping fishing lines. I was actually just about to drop the second line when I noticed the hook wasn’t razor sharp. I only troll with razor sharp hooks slicing thru the water. So down below I go to retrieve my file. Coming back up the stairs I hear a Ziiiiing. A constant zinging. That’s weird. I just dropped the line seconds before. Must be a vibration from the engine. As I get on deck I see my reel screaming. No shit. Within 30 seconds and FISH ON! I grab the rod, set the hook and the fight begins. He takes some line. I gain some back. I quickly have him beside the boat. A gorgeous Mahi Mahi. This one had some of the most dazzling rainbow colors. He jumps. I pull. A big “Ka-Sploosh” by Ashley as she misses with the gaff. He runs once again. I increase the drag on the reel. “This one’s in the bag” I think to myself. And just like that, snap goes the line, I almost fall on my ass and it was all over. Not such a patient fisherman after all. I’d applied a bit too much force. The rest of the passage passed with not a single bite.

The Bahamian sloops are gorgeous sailboats. The rules state that hulls and mast must be of wooden construction. No aluminum. No winches. No wind or speed instruments. Nothing to indicate wind direction such as tell tales. Sails are to be of cotton. No bending masts. Simple yet effective. We are big fans coming from a dinghy racing background where some kids would often have carbon fibre this and that, the newest boats and best sails. This was a different playing field. A more level playing field.

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The start consists of everyone anchored. The bow man starts by heaving in  his anchor. Penalty points if you leave your anchor behind. Everyone must start on starboard.

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Sails go up as soon as the anchor is up. If your bow man is strong as an ox, you’ll have some momentum at this point. It’s a mad scramble from here.

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As soon as you start to point upwind, your crew get’s out on the planks. The windier the conditions, the more crew.

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Age doesn’t matter….

 

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