Of Heroes On The Water

By Professor Fraser, Past President of the Barbados National Trust, and past Dean of Medical Sciences, UWI

“Hero: A man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and fortitude … a man idealized for superior qualities” (From the Latin and Greek word, heros; Collins English Dictionary).

Last week’s theme of heroes was written to celebrate Errol Barrow day, but Friday just gone witnessed another celebration of Errol Barrow, which was a uniquely educational, inspiring and moving occasion – the splendid, erudite, almost lyrical lunch-time lecture by the Prime Minister on Mr. Barrow’s secret of leadership. Mr. Stuart spoke of the quintessential key to great leadership – not just charisma, but the ability to ask the question: “What are the overpowering problems of my time that history calls on me to resolve?” and he illustrated the determination, the skills and the successes of Mr. Barrow in resolving those issues while building the trust of the people.

But another type of hero has been much in the news this week. Heroes on the water – plucky sailors and relentless rowers.

A couple of Barbadian friends, Phil Als and Randal Valdez, caught the imagination and pride of Bajans back in 2003 when they completed the Atlantic row, coming in third that year, with a time that is quoted by the Ocean Rowing Society International as the seventh fastest – 43 days, 14 hours and 17 minutes. What manner of man will risk life and limb in a small boat against the vast ocean, unpredictable elements, sometimes mountainous seas and all the accidents that can happen, for a period of many weeks of what to most of us would be unremitting torture? Perhaps, as the mountaineers say: “Because it’s there!”

Last weekend we enjoyed the dramatic Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race – the perfect combination of the most authentic and famous product of Barbados, with the excitement of sailing, a passion not just for so many Bajans, but all of mankind! Oh, the call of the sea … it infected two brothers in an otherwise landlubber family of mine. (My uncles Austin and Freddie left Barbados in 1916 to train as master mariners, and spent most of their adult lives at sea, as pilots and then captains of merchant vessels, surviving German torpedoes during World War 2.) And last weekend, according to press reports there were hosts of journalists from up market sailing and lifestyle magazines on the island, spreading the word about Paradise at 13 degrees latitude.

No sooner was the last Mount Gay poured when the courageous rowers in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race started arriving at Port St. Charles Marina. And the highlight of the race was the Row2 Recovery team. This amazing team, comprising four former soldiers with life-changing war injuries and two able-bodied colleagues. The idea of a row for charity began with Alex McKenzie and Ed Janvrin (able-bodied) and Tony Harris, who lost his leg when a roadside bomb detonated under his vehicle in Afghanistan three years ago. They decided to enter the trans-Atlantic race “to demonstrate the extraordinary things people with disabilities can achieve, and inspire others with life-altering injuries to realise their potential.” Four injured servicemen joined them.

A Sunday Times report of the 8th of January detailed the technical problems, mishaps and hardships they were having – the automatic helm failed, which meant the harder task of manual steering. The desalinator failed on Boxing Day, and they had to go on to a hand pump system, which then fell to pieces. So they had to ration food and water until a supply boat could reach them! A good way to lose weight, but not for the faint-hearted …

Happily the team arrived in port on Wednesday, to a heroes’ welcome – a journey they could only describe as “relentless”, and that will go down in the history of heroes, and Atlantic / Barbados epics.

But there’s more history to come. Barbados is lined up for yet another big race – the TRANSAT CLASSIQUE 2012, the trans-Atlantic race of classic yachts. This is a fantastic event, involving classic yachts, coordinated by the Atlantic Yacht Club based in the port of Douarnenez in France. Yachts will sail from Douarnenez and from St. Tropez in the Mediterranean to Cascais, the elegant and exotic yachting centre in Portugal, and from there on December the 2nd for Barbados. And as the brochure advertising it says: “Today the treasure awaiting the competitors of the Transat Classique is Barbados itself! What praise for the “Barbados Brand”!

Bouquets and Brickbats:

A bouquet for the Ministry of Transport for finally accepting my recommendation, offered over the past year in three mailed letters and two columns, to improve traffic flow at the vexed Wildey “Y” by painting double lines between the sharp bend and the pedestrian crossing. But the brickbat I gave them a few weeks ago must now go to those miserable, annoying, inconsiderate, rude, thoughtless, self-indulgent and selfish or blind lawbreakers who are still insisting on changing lanes as they “round the bend”, holding up traffic going East from Banks. A few need to be prosecuted as an example. But just maybe those double lines should be painted yellow, as suggested, and Gigert and Boo could do a skit to educate the rogues.

19 thoughts on “Of Heroes On The Water


  1. All who have been in the sea and felt its power are forced to give respect to these brave souls who for the right of conquest undertake to sail many hours with minimum support. Let us hope Barbados can sustain this activity which helps to enhance our tourist product.


  2. I find that the real problem at the “sharp bend”on the Wildey triangle is not so much the drivers coming round the bend and then changing lanes, as it is those drivers coming from Wildey who refuse th enter the road in the left lane, but wait….and wait….and wait for traffic in both lanes to be clear so that they can cross immediately into the right hand lane. The idea of entering he left land and then merging into the right lane is obviously alien to many drivers.


  3. I proudly salute all of those brave soldiers of Row2Recovery. None of you could hardly be deemed disabled.
    Arte et Marte


  4. David well said, this aspect of our tourism market was neglected by the past administration despite the pressing appeals to no lesser a person than the former Minister of Tourism Lynch who was more concerned at the time about buying plantation homes for a $ 1 Mil dollars and the spending the same to do a little fix up on it, and securing his goodwill payments from Carnival Cruise Lines for his sweetheart deal with them to earn his commission to pay for his plantation home at Gregg Farm coming out of his CWC deal to least the Carnival Destiny for US 25 Mil that taxpayers had to pay back that Carnival paid him out of.


  5. Peltdownman | January 29, 2012 at 8:15 AM |
    I find that the real problem at the “sharp bend”on the Wildey triangle is not so much the drivers coming round the bend and then changing lanes, as it is those drivers coming from Wildey who refuse th enter the road in the left lane, but wait….and wait….and wait for traffic in both lanes to be clear so that they can cross immediately into the right hand lane. The idea of entering he left land and then merging into the right lane is obviously alien to many drivers.
    ************************************************************************************
    Many drivers coming from the direction of Wildey, seem to be under an optical as well as mental illusion when they reach this junction. They see , and believe that the center lane and the right hand lane both take them back down Wildey towards Bridgetown.
    ps. Should it not be that drivers entering from Wildey take the RIGHT hand lane and then merge to the LEFT lane?


  6. Well well well, I was wondering how many regular BU bloggers would respond to this post. Ha not many would I thought. I wonder why? It may be that many are BIG cowards who wouldn’t even take a swim in the ocean much less get in a boat. 🙂 My hats off to those who have taken to the high seas whether it is for their livelihoods or for recreation. It takes a brave man to venture out to sea and it takes a courageous man to come back and tell the tale.


  7. Most recent update from the Classic Transat group,  we can now confirm an entry has been received from Germania Nova the beauty she is at 54 metres long.
    Our entry list now moves up to 35 entries for the Classic Transat December 2012 arrival in Barbados.This one and Moonbeam IV are really stunning Classics.We are working on the 74 Metre Atlantic Schooner will keep you posted.
    http://www.transatclassique.com/competitors.htmlhttp://royaltyyachtcharters.com/yacht/2/3210/1520/1/1/350/2/GERMANIA%20NOVA
    Germania Nova is a replica of the 1908 schooner”Germania”, and a very careful research through original drawings and photos was followed in order to recreate the exterior design of this unique beauty.
    The hull (steel), main deck and rigging have theappearance of the original racing schooner.The wooden rig of the yacht is conventional, basicallynon-automated, without rolling gear but equipped withpractical winch systems.
    The interiors of this Schooner were brought to life by Oliver Design.A fine mixture of contemporary lines,clever solutions and space optimization blend perfectlywith the classic look the owners intended to keep asfaithfully as possible to the original design.Teak floors along with hand painted Ivory panels andfurniture make the mahogany details and mouldings stand up in an environment where class and richness of materials combine perfectly with the updated technology, giving a yesterday´s look to this otherwise modern yacht.Designer: Max OerstHull material: SteelLenght overall: 54,00 mhttp://www.moonbeam4.com/http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.moonbeam4.com/&ei=IQEmT6GtE9S40QH3-rTYCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCsQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmoonbeam%2Biv%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R2ADFA_enBB406%26biw%3D960%26bih%3D448%26prmd%3DimvnsSince her first race Moonbeam IV entered theLegend of the most prestigious regatta, winnerincluding the King’s Cup in 1920 and 1923.Acquired by the Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1950, Moonbeam IV continuesThe legend by hosting on board the young coupleMonaco, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier , for theirhoneymoon.A great story that extendsuntil that day when Moonbeam IV, one of the few cutters classic gaff entirely original , welcomes youfor the best cruises and regattas.The mission by the architect Charles Fife Phumptre JOHNSON was to create the perfect compromise between a yacht designed to cross off in the comfort and winfor racing.Moonbeam IV was in 2009, the first recipientAward of Tradition Yacht of the Year, organized by TheEchoes – Limited Edition , which honours a sailboatbased on criteria such as quality of restoration, thenaval etiquette and behaviorthe crew.Moonbeam IV is 35 meters overall and carries 600m2 of sail upwind , over 1 000 m2 downwind for adisplacement of 80 t.Type: AuricManufacturing year: 1914Designer : William Fife—–Original Message—–” <>Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 19:16:16Reply-To: Subject: Rowers arrival, After the great arrival of Row2Recovery last week, just a reminder that we still have four amazing crews still out in the Atlantic and wanted to give you some idea of their current ETA’s.After the great arrival of Row2Recovery last week, just a reminder that we still have four amazing crews still out in the Atlantic and wanted to give you some idea of their current ETA’s.Team Epoch – crew of four Americans.  Currently due in tomorrow (Monday 30th January) around lunchtime at North Point, so mid afternoon at the Port St Charles yacht club in all likeliness.  I will update with an arrival time in the morning.Sons of Norway – crew of two Norwegians.Due in Thursday 2nd January, probably in the morning, again will update closer to the time.Facing The Atlantic – crew of two British rowers.Towards the end of next weekend, possibly Monday 6th February.Tiger Team – crew of husband and wife British rowers.Still towards end of February.Titan (our speed record campaign) leaves Gran Canaria on February 14th and is looking to go for the sub 30 day record so aiming to be in mid-March.I shall keep you updated with timings as they get closer, but please spread the word that all are welcome to come and join us at the PSC yacht club for the rowers arrivals.If you have any questions or if you want any more information in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


    • On the subject of water and the sea, check out the specs of the high speed ferry proposed to travel in the South Caribbean:


  8. Thanks David that was a great video. We are badly in need of a ferry service, perhaps Red Jet should have gone this route instead.


  9. islandgal246 | January 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM |
    Well well well, I was wondering how many regular BU bloggers would respond to this post. Ha not many would I thought. I wonder why? It may be that many are BIG cowards who wouldn’t even take a swim in the ocean much less get in a boat. My hats off to those who have taken to the high seas whether it is for their livelihoods or for recreation. It takes a brave man to venture out to sea and it takes a courageous man to come back and tell the tale.
    **********************************************************************************
    Was it Samuel Johnson ,who said
    ” Any man thinks less of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been to sea.”


  10. Was it Samuel Johnson ,who said
    ” Any man thinks less of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been to sea.”

    Colonel are you describing the majority of BU bloggers? LOLLLL I wonder where BIG MOUTH Scout, Old Onions bags, Bush Tea, and BAFBFP are hiding. Wunna COWARDS ! LMAO


  11. Most recent event brochure is now attached for your review.

    Most recent update from the Classic Transat group, we can now confirm an entry has been received from Germania Nova the beauty she is at 54 metres long.

    Our entry list now moves up to 35 entries for the Classic Transat December 2012 arrival in Barbados.

    This one and Moonbeam IV are really stunning Classics.

    We are working on the 74 Metre Atlantic Schooner will keep you posted.

    http://www.transatclassique.com/competitors.html

    http://royaltyyachtcharters.com/yacht/2/3210/1520/1/1/350/2/GERMANIA%20NOVA

    Germania Nova is a replica of the 1908 schooner
    “Germania”, and a very careful research through original drawings and photos was followed in order to recreate the exterior design of this unique beauty.

    The hull (steel), main deck and rigging have the
    appearance of the original racing schooner.

    The wooden rig of the yacht is conventional, basically
    non-automated, without rolling gear but equipped with
    practical winch systems.

    The interiors of this Schooner were brought to life by Oliver Design.

    A fine mixture of contemporary lines,
    clever solutions and space optimization blend perfectly
    with the classic look the owners intended to keep as
    faithfully as possible to the original design.

    Teak floors along with hand painted Ivory panels and
    furniture make the mahogany details and mouldings stand up in an environment where class and richness of materials combine perfectly with the updated technology, giving a yesterday´s look to this otherwise modern yacht.

    Designer: Max Oerst
    Hull material: Steel
    Lenght overall: 54,00 m

    http://www.moonbeam4.com/

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.moonbeam4.com/&ei=IQEmT6GtE9S40QH3-rTYCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCsQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmoonbeam%2Biv%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R2ADFA_enBB406%26biw%3D960%26bih%3D448%26prmd%3Dimvns

    Since her first race Moonbeam IV entered the
    Legend of the most prestigious regatta, winner
    including the King’s Cup in 1920 and 1923.

    Acquired by the Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1950, Moonbeam IV continues
    The legend by hosting on board the young couple
    Monaco, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier , for their
    honeymoon.

    A great story that extends
    until that day when Moonbeam IV, one of the few cutters classic gaff entirely original , welcomes you
    for the best cruises and regattas.

    The mission by the architect Charles Fife Phumptre JOHNSON was to create the perfect compromise between a yacht designed to cross off in the comfort and win
    for racing.

    Moonbeam IV was in 2009, the first recipient
    Award of Tradition Yacht of the Year, organized by The
    Echoes – Limited Edition , which honours a sailboat
    based on criteria such as quality of restoration, the
    naval etiquette and behavior
    the crew.

    Moonbeam IV is 35 meters overall and carries 600
    m2 of sail upwind , over 1 000 m2 downwind for a
    displacement of 80 t.

    Type: Auric
    Manufacturing year: 1914
    Designer : William Fife


  12. @BU.David: “Why don’t you explain in clear text what you mean?

    OK.

    You have a very popular site which is used by many people.

    Both “B’s” and “D’s”, “R’s” and “A’s”, and of course, those who just wish to create chaos.

    Which side are you on?


  13. @Chris

    BU is on the side of issues. Sometimes BU’s position may align with one party or the other. That should be obvious. More importantly BU readers are adept at discerning ‘fact from fiction’. There are not many issues BU has not written about, B or D. The great leveler on BU is that others share views on issues which often time differ to those of BU.


  14. @BU.David: “BU is on the side of issues. Sometimes BU’s position may align with one party or the other. That should be obvious.

    Hey, that’s cool David.

    But please know (as I am sure you do) that your Blog is an important asset.

    And it will be used by agents (of all local parties, and outside parties (“Let me tell you how sick these women are”))….

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