Lady Nathalie sweeps Acklins
It was home sweet home for the Campari Lady Nathalie last weekend, as the sloop cleaned up in Lovely Bay, Acklins.
Eleazor Johnson’s prized B-class possession won all three races in the series to emerge as the overall champion of the 38th Annual Acklins Regatta. It was the continuance of a strong year on the waters for the popular B-class boat.
“The people of Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Long Cay and Inagua are always behind me and every time I go up there, I try to win. It can’t be just one island because they are all represented by one MP in parliament,” said Johnson. “The Nathalie is at home when she goes to Acklins so she always performs well. Winning all three of the races is never a surprise. That’s Nathalie’s home so there’s always good representation.”
Johnson’s sloop was in a class by itself in Acklins, but he boasted that it really doesn’t matter where it sails. He said that he would come out on top regardless.
“Line up all the B-class boats in Montagu Bay and I’ll beat them all,” he said. “The Barbarian and the rest of them say they don’t like what I did to them in Acklins but it doesn’t natter where it is. When the Nathalie is sailing well, there is no B-class sloop out there what could beat her.”
The Barbarian finished second overall in Acklins, and Six Sisters rounded out the top three. In the C-class, Barbarian II emerged victorious, the Acklins Moustache finished second, and Dream Girl rounded out the top three. Normally, after sailing in Acklins, Johnson would prepare his sloop for the North Eleuthera Regatta. However, he said that he’s not sure if the Lady Nathalie will be sailing in North Eleuthera this year.
“I would like to go. I would never say I wouldn’t go but they need to make it more attractive – put a little more zest to it. The funds need to go up – for prizes, feeding money… all of that because everything gone up,” he said. “The sailing prize for the B-class should be $300 per race now, and the A-class should get $4-500 per race. If they don’t have the money, they should get more sponsors because the cost of living is going up.
“The committee really needs to step up and make the prizes more attractive – it has fallen off over the past 10 years. Even the crowd there is not really a sailing crowd like at the other regattas. You could go and ask them who win and they wouldn’t be able to tell you because they don’t watch the regatta. While the regatta is on, I don’t think there should be any music on Bay Street. I know the vendors and the DJs have to make money but regatta should be all about the sailing. It need to get to that,” he added.
Johnson’s Campari Lady Nathalie, which was built by the late Elijah ‘Mack’ Knowles out of Mangrove Bush, Long Island, won the overall title at the inaugural North Eleuthera regatta in 1989. Over the years, for the most part, it has performed well.
“They used to call me the Briland Girl because it was very seldom that I got beat. I might lose one or two but I always come back strong,” said Johnson. “This year has been real good. They stopped the ‘Boat of the Year’ award about five or six years ago, but if that was still around today, I would be ahead. At the first regatta of the year, I won three straight, I was third in George Town and now in Acklins I won another three straight – there is no doubt that I would be ahead. I think they need to start that again because when they had it, there was always good competition. Boats would come out just to win points toward the end of the year awards,” he added.
The 22nd North Eleuthera Regatta will be held over the Discovery Day Holiday weekend, in the waters of North Eleuthera. Johnson said that he needs to make a few minor repairs to the boat after Acklins, but added that no major work needs to be done.