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‘E’ Class boat presented to Sir Durward Knowles

FRED STURRUP
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive

Published: Apr 17, 2012

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Another chapter was added to the rich legacy of sailing in The Bahamas this past Saturday when Sheldon Gibson presented the ‘Sea Wolf’ himself, Sir Durward Knowles, with a snappy-looking ‘E’ Class regatta boat.

During a modest but significant ceremony that took place at the Nassau Yacht Club, Lady Holly Knowles poured champagne to christen the new One Bahamas ‘E’ Class boat and Master of Ceremony Clyde Rolle informed that the boat will compete in the next National Family Island Regatta with Steven Rolle at the tiller. An appreciative Sir Durward had words of thanks and praise for Gibson and Steve Rolle, who did all of the carpentry on the new boat.

“Having my family (son) Randy, (daughter) Charlotte and above all, my wife Holly who will be doing the christening,” was important to Sir Durward. “Sheldon, you’ve come a long way. We met about a year ago, in Garvin McKinney’s home, to decide on the design of this boat. (We had to have a lot of patience) but eventually you see the product. It’s a long way ahead to race the boat in Georgetown, Exuma, (at the national regatta) this year but we will try to get that organized,” said Sir Durward.

He complimented the Rolle connection, Clyde and Steven, on their enthusiasm and contribution to the sailing fraternity.

“Clyde is doing a great job with the Georgetown Regatta and we appreciate what he is doing. Right here with me also is Steven Rolle. He is the builder of my boat and he paid particular attention to it being done in the right way. We now have a seaman who is a great builder. The boat was extremely well built and I appreciate it.

“Above all, you see the name on the side, ‘One Bahamas’, and that’s part of my legacy I want to leave behind. The ‘One Bahamas’ idea is to bring the race people together. I think we’ve done that. I don’t hear too much (fussing) these days, but, we’ve got a long way to go and don’t give up on ‘One Bahamas’. Please. That’s a legacy we can leave behind to show that we’ve done something in our time on earth. Again thanks to everybody,” said Sir Durward.

Gibson, a teacher attached to the Anatol Rodgers School, expressed his delight at the completion of another sea worthy project and deemed it special that he was able to make the presentation to the man he has admired and thinks of always as the nation’s sailing gold medalist.

Among his many achievements, inclusive of the World Star Class Championship in 1947 with Sloane Farrington as crew and an Olympic bronze medal in 1956 again with Farrington, Sir Durward teamed up with Cecil Cooke to win the 1964 Olympic Games gold medal in the Star Class.

“This boat was built for one of the greatest individuals in the country. This boat, I expect to be used in this country for the betterment of sailing with young people. This is something, as a teacher, that I have been doing. Sometimes I felt like John The Baptist, because I was a voice crying out in the wilderness, but right now my dream is coming true. This (boat-building) is something that I have been doing for a long time. I have already done more than 40 years with the Ministry of Education, but, until I can’t do it anymore, I intend to teach sailing and do everything I can do for sailing. We can say thanks to Mr. Clyde Rolle, Eleazor Johnson and all of us who have been fighting for many years to see if we could bring sailing to a standard whereby we not only have it in the schools but that young people would be interested in as a sport,” said Gibson.

The process continues for Gibson. He informed that he will soon be “back at it designing and building another boat.” Also on hand Saturday was John Lawrence, Bahamas Sailing Association (BSA) president.

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