Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Renward Wells says that he is committed to making sailing the national sport of The Bahamas in short order. During his address at the opening ceremonies for the launch of the Third Annual Sir Durward Knowles National Junior Sailing Regatta, Minister Wells said that it must have all been a part of God’s plan to have him, a former Olympian, be the Minister who would help to bring about the realization of the dream of Sir Durward Knowles in having sailing become the national sport. “The staging of this event comes at a bitter-sweet time for us all, as we mourn the passing and celebrate the life of a patron, for whom these championships are named, Sir Durward Knowles,” said Minister Wells. “He was the embodiment of sailing excellence – from the design room to the practices, to the championship podium, his poise, grace, and courage stood as an enduring example of the word ‘Champion’ for our nation’s young people, and sailors in particular. “On the waters of the Olympic and world championship course, Sir Durward brought more than just medals to our country, he brought the pride that comes with winning to an archipelagic nation with a rich and long tradition of boat building and boat racing. “He was a true friend to the sport and was indeed an advocate for the sport of sailing to be named our true national sport.”
Minister Wells noted that although the National Junior Sailing Regatta is only in its third year, it has continued to improve and expand each year. He noted that the event is the only regatta that travels to a different island each year. This, he said, is a tremendous undertaking by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources and its partners. “I want to salute the Grand Bahama Sailing Club, the Bahamas Sailing Association and all of our sponsors who helped to make this happen.” Minister Wells also took time out to recognize the passing of a young sailor — 15-year-old Cameron Williams — who, in his short time on earth and in the sport, accomplished much in the sport of sailing. He noted that Cameron loved the challenge and competition of mastering the wind and waves as a sailor. “Young Cameron Williams left us too early,” said Minister Wells. “His potential as a sailor was undeniable, as was his ability to positively affect those around him. “We paid tribute to Cameron earlier this year, and it is my pleasure to pay tribute to him once again by announcing that at the conclusion of these regattas, one sailor will receive the ‘Cameron Williams Award’ for the Most Outstanding Sailor. “Cameron’s name will be permanently attached to sailing excellence in this country through this award from hereafter.”
Minister Wells thanked the parents and guardians of the young sailors for their support, noting that it was his belief that out of the group of young sailors would rise future Olympic sailors and world champions. He also thanked the coaches and encouraged them to continue to provide the guidance and training to the young sailors: “Your stewardship will not only give these men and women what they will need on the water but hopefully teach them some of the tools that they would need in life, like commitment, hard work, resourcefulness, and effort,” said Minister Wells. “To the sailors, I say to you, do your best. By being here, you have already accomplished a lot. Go further, push harder. The title, national champion, is yours for the taking. Claim it, make those steps towards the bigger goal real; believe in yourselves, like we all believe in you.” The Third Annual Sir Durward Knowles National Junior Sailing Regatta in Grand Bahama April 6-8 at Taino Beach attracted young sailors from many of the Family Islands throughout The Bahamas.