Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day (December 26th), when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers. This custom has its beginnings in an old English tradition. Since servants would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed to visit their families on the next day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and maybe sometimes leftover food. With British roots, the Bahamas, along with the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, and other Commonwealth nations, observe the holiday.
Here in Hope Town, Boxing Day is also the Hope Town Sailing Club’s H. Bowen White Race for cruising boats over 18 feet.
First, let’s back up to last weekend. Last Saturday we were invited, as guests of Sara and Deanna, to the Hope Town Sailing Club. The event was a “stand up” which is a BYOB cocktail party in the clubhouse. Two or three members host and provide appetizers from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. It was a great time and reminded us of our Shennecossett social events back home in Groton. Whitey (We met Whitey and his wife, Ann, the second evening we were here and already feel like we are old friends!) encouraged Al to race Kindred Spirit in the Sailing Club’s “H. Bowen White Race” on Boxing Day. Whitey did not have to twist Al’s arm very much!
On Boxing Day, we attended the 9 am skipper meeting and picked up two of our crew members – Whitey and his grandson, Dave. Along with Dan and Marcia, the six of us left the harbor and headed out to the racing area out between the Parrot Cays and Boat Harbor. Remember, these are not familiar waters to us so we wanted to check the territory out. Fortunately for us, Whitey has been boating in these waters for over 40 years.
Five boats were racing – two J-boats (the older one was named Grumpy Old Man and the newer one, complete with fancy racing sails was named Grumpy Too), Spirit (Mark and Kim’s Tartan), and Quest (a trimaran). The very strong winds from Christmas Day had diminished to light winds predicted to be 5 – 10 knots. “Winds” is probably a generous term; it was more like a breeze.
Al has experience with racing back in our Catalina 34 days (I will brag that our C34 “little” Kindred Spirit with Al at the helm, won the Catalina 34 National Regatta when it was held in Connecticut back in 2000.) The first leg of today’s race went well, with winds of 5-10 knots. Kindred Spirit could move and make some progress in those winds.
Ah, but alas, the breeze died to 0 knots during one leg. The race course was eventually shortened from 7 legs to 5 legs due to the lack of a decent breeze. It was a slow race from that point onward, taking us three hours to finish.
We placed 5th! OK, there were only five boats racing so I guess that isn’t impressive. 😉 But we had great fun together and enjoyed the camaradie on the water. AND, WE WERE SAILING FOR THREE HOURS!!!!! WooHoo!
At the party later that day, Al and Kindred Spirit were honored with the”good sport” award for finishing the race (announced on the VHF the next morning) and given an HTSC glass.
Great day on the water! Will we race again? That remains to be seen………