On the first Friday in February Farmers Cay in the Bahamas host the 5F festival (First, Friday, February, Festival, Farmers)  It consists of local activities and get together centered around sailboat races, specifically the class C Bahamian sloop boat.  This year there were 14 boats racing, one of the largest fleets.

We were extremely fortunate to have an anchoring spot that ended up with one of the turning marks of the race no more than 200 feet from out boat.  They start the race from anchor, hoist the anchor, hoist the sail and then round the marks.  The boats use boards called "prides" for the fellows to sit on to counteract the force of the wind on the sails, and keep the boats upright.  The more the wind the further out on the prides the people sit.  You can tell in a few pictures even with everyone out on the prides the boat is still leaning a bit, it doesn't always work.

We saw two of the sloops "sink" with only the masts sticking up.  Luckily, all the weight in the boats is in loose lead weights, so when a boat sinks, they dive down, bring up all the lead, and then the boat will float  right about deck level.  They will tow the barely visible boat back to a shallow spot, and begin bailing out the water, then get ready for the next race.  It is quite a sight to see.  When you see people sitting in the sunken boat being pulled back to the shore it is quite the site

When the festival was over, we hoisted the anchor and motored out of the anchorage.  Since we had some good winds out of the south and we were headed north we sailed with our nicely colored spinnaker back to Black Point Settlement.  There were about 10 other boats all headed back to Black Point as well and we were the best looking one, also the fastest since we were the only ones with a spinnaker up.

Had a great sail until we turned on our engines to anchor, and found that one engine seemed to have no power.  After we anchored Derek dove down and came up with the sad news , one engine was missing a prop.  But that is another story.




update 02/08/12  5 F festival, boat racing