A rare opportunity was presented to the adult and junior sailors and their families of The Bahamas Sailing Association (BSA) on Sunday. A chance to sail a 70 ft. Volvo Ocean Racer, known as “True North” that arrived on Friday as part of a world tour to promote Dubai as a candidate city for the 2020 World Expo. True North competed in the 2008-2009 Volvo Around The World Ocean Race, its arrival in Nassau signified the end of its Caribbean leg before heading off to the South Pacific. Sailors were treated to an hour and half sail out to sea and were invited to take turns “trimming” and “helming”.
With a wonderfully bright and gusty day wind speeds were up to a lively 22 knots ensuring that all on board could fully appreciate the capabilities of this ultra modern sail boat. The crew were very enthusiastic to show off their vessel and encouraged sailors as young as 8 years old to take command and steer the 70 ft. Ocean Racer and get a taste of what it would be like on the high seas behind the wheel of a boat of this size and magnitude. Young sailors especially were awestruck and felt inspired by the opportunity that they were given. The usual response was “when can I do that again?”. As each young person took their turn, their confidence rose and smiles were soon in place as they mastered the art of navigating the enormous craft.
Some sailors were lucky enough to reach speeds of 20 knots and were amazed at the power they were able to command at the helm. Even when most those on board were soaked by the massive spray coming over bow as the boat sliced through the ocean waves, laughter followed and everyone was positively exhilarated by the combination of wind speed and saltwater rinses.
Robert Dunkley of the BSA arranged for 46 of their members to participate in order to give them the chance to gain a full sailing experience that diversifies from the smaller craft the sailors are used to. A further trip has been organised exclusively for his best and brightest young sailors to ensure they have more time on the water and exposure to the sailing conditions a boat of this size can offer. Robert expressed his gratitude to the welcoming crew of “True North” and their commitment to allowing adult and young sailors to share in this wonderful sailing experience.