Miss Jamaica for Pineapple Cup boat race
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica will have one home-based representative in this year's Pineapple Cup, the 32nd biannual boat race, which is set to start in Fort Everglades, Florida, on Friday, February 6, and which will send its 12-boat fleet on a challenging 811 nautical miles course to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Sailing in IRC division, the J/120 Miss Jamaica will have aboard Montego Bay Yacht Club Commodore Nigel Knowles and his 16-year-old daughter Zoe Knowles, who is Youth Commodore for the club.
"It felt only right to have our own team compete in a race that we run (in partnership with Storm Trysail Club and Lauderdale Yacht Club)," said the elder Knowles.
"The breaking news now is that we have the youngest-ever participant aboard as well," Nigel added.
Two days of training
Knowles said his team will arrive in Fort Lauderdale February 3, for two days of training before the start.
"It will be a fairly steep learning curve; we've mostly never sailed together as a group, but one of us (Jim Wilson) has sailed on an identical boat, and we are all very active in a smaller version of the boat, the J/22, which we sail every two weeks at Montego Bay and Kingston."
Knowles looks forward to going head-to-head with one other J/120 signed up (Tampa Girl). However, that boat is signed up to be scored under PHRF while Miss Jamaica is sailing IRC. The J/120s are 40 feet long.
"The Pineapple Cup-Montego Bay Race has a special place in the hearts of sailors," said race co-ordinator Evelyn Harrington, "Both for the unique challenges of its course and for the warm Jamaican hospitality waiting at the finish," Harrington explained.
"And now that we are part of something bigger - the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series - we have a great chance to showcase our race on the world stage."