The 32nd Annual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, featuring the popular ‘Catch Me If You Can’ race, and held this year in honor of lead organizer over the years Eleazor “Barber J” Johnson, is set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Montagu foreshore. Johnson passed away on January 16, exactly one month before the regatta. The event promises not to skip a beat as Johnson’s children and family members have decided to stage the regatta to continue his legacy and love for the sport of sloop sailing.
Lynden Johnson, son of the late ‘Barber J’ Johnson, said that the plans are in the final stages. The theme for the regatta is ‘This One is for Barber J’.
“The plans are in the final stages. Everything is going well. The support from the public is overwhelming,” Lynden Johnson said.
He continued: “For Saturday, we have Mr. Robert Dunkley, the Nassau Yacht Club and the other clubs will bring out about 50 boats for the kids from the sunfish, opti and laser categories. They will entertain the public on Saturday as action gets underway from 10 a.m.”
The popular ‘Catch Me If You Can’ race is set for Sunday in which the ‘A’ Class boats will try to catch the Lady Nathalie that will be sailed by Clyde Rolle. The confirmed ‘A’ Class boats are the Good News, Ed Sky, Southern Cross and Red Stripe.
Action will kick off at 2 p.m. Johnson said that the sailing community has been very supportive of them in spearheading the regatta.
“The regatta family are all in with us. With the sons taking over, they have been very supportive of us. We had a meeting with the skippers and they are very enthused about this weekend – we will see where to go from there. For us the sons, it is putting our feet in the water and getting it wet and seeing what our father has been doing for the past 30-plus years,” said Lynden Johnson.
He knows that they have a few kinks to iron out but likes the direction they are headed in. Over the past month, they had to plan their father’s funeral as well as the regatta. Johnson said they focused on the funeral first and once the funeral was finished they focused on planning the regatta.
“After he died, his popularity just went through the roof. As far as getting things done or people supporting us, it was there as they were doing it on behalf of our father. He paved a path for his sons to continue his legacy. It is a task for us but thanks to him it is a little easier,” said Lynden Johnson.
Johnson commended Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard on the government’s assistance.
“Hats off to Minister Pintard. At the funeral, he said that on behalf of his ministry and the government, they were committed to 50 percent more. They have followed through with that. We appreciate Minister Pintard and Barry Wilmott for being supportive. From here on in, it looks like we will have a good relationship with the minister,” Lynden Johnson said.
Beginning tomorrow, the family wants to celebrate the legendary sailor by having a T-shirt day in his honor. They are asking Corporate Bahamas to have its staff, and for public servants at government offices, to wear ‘This One is for Barber J’ T-shirts tomorrow.
The shirts are on sale at Johnson’s Barber Shop on Cordeaux Avenue and also at the Fox Hill location.
Prices for the shirts are $15 for the small to large sizes; $18 for the extra large to triple-extra large; and anything from four-extra large and up is $20.
The weekend promises to be an exciting one. The sons and family are asking Bahamians to come out and bring their families in support of the regatta this weekend.