The King and Knights, skippered by Stephano Kemp sailed away as the overall winner of the 5th Commander Defence Force Challenge Cup Regatta, which was described by many as the regatta with the largest crowd in attendance. Held at the Montague Foreshores over the past weekend, the King and Knights was able to hold off Irene Goodnight, who finished in 2nd place. Rounding out the top three was Sweet Island Gal. The regatta, which got underway on Friday, saw the Lucayan Race for Peace on the first day.
Lady Eunice won that ocean race with each participating sloop having a mix of Bahamian sloop sailors, Laser Class Sailors and Defence Force Marines. The race signified the need for peace in The Bahamas. Coincidentally, the winner of the Lucayan Race for Peace, the Lady Eunice, was once skippered by the late retired Defence Force Veteran Chief Petty Officer Vincent Wright in whose honor this 5th Commander Defence Force Challenge Cup Regatta was hosted as a tribute.
However on this day, the Lady Eunice was skippered by his nephew, Dennis ‘Chucky’ Smith who was confident that sailing is still burning passionately in his family line. This event featured a total of 13 “C” Class boats and 14 Laser Class boats and was sponsored by Janaees.
The first of three series “C” Class races got underway on Saturday. Catch Da Cat won that race, receiving the Minister of National Security Cup. In the second race later that afternoon, Irene Good Night won that segment, walking away with the Prime Minister’s trophy. The final race on Sunday saw Irene Good night came back in the final race on Sunday to win the Governor General’s Cup race. By virtue of finishing second in all 3 of the “C” Class races, King and Knights easily captured the overall trophy.
The Regatta also featured Laser Class Races coordinated by Mr. Robert Dunkley of the National Sailing School and attended by Laser Class skippers The Bahamas, and the Caribbean making it a regional event. Spencer Cartwright, from The Bahamas was the overall winner in the laser class race, followed by Allena Ranine from the Cayman Islands and Paul de Souza, also from The Bahamas came in third.
The 5th Commander Defence Force Challenge Cup Regatta was a peaceful, fun-filled exciting event with a number of history making activities for the Defence Force. It was the first time the event was held after an 8-year break; it was the first time it included Laser Class Races; the first time that foreign sailors participated in the ocean race; apart from having one of the largest crowds at Montagu, and it was the first time the event focused on a specific community concern, and that is the need for peace.
Commander Defence Force (Acting), Captain Tellis Bethel lauded event as a great success that was ‘better than the best.’ In thanking all of the participants, sponsors and the hard working committee members, he said how pleased he was with the outcome, and look forward to a bigger and better regatta in 2018.