**By: Fidel Lim Brooks
Boat Racing in Anguilla is a sensational sport. Boat Racing is also the national sport of Anguilla. It was created in the early nineteen hundreds. It began when Anguillian workers would race back in their boats to the shores of Anguilla after they worked on the plantations of the neighbouring countries. They would race back home to see their family. When they raced back, they made gambles on which boat would reach Anguilla first. This is so important because this is a part of History and now it is our Culture which we celebrate all the time.
Everything may impact people differently, but I know that Boat Racing will always have a place in Anguillians’ hearts. Boat racing may be a source of entertainment, but it is way more than that: it may also be a source of income for those who take part in the sport. Normally when they win the boat race you get a trophy and a cash prize, but sometimes you only may get one or the other. Prize money may vary from EC$900 to as much as EC$8,000.
Anguillians now race in selfmade boats that can hold over 25 people. They have huge sails and masts that help the boat to sail faster in light and heavy gusts of wind. The boat is built to perfection with every measurement and angle cut to precision to make the best racing boat in Anguilla.
There are no regulations for the people who sail on the boat; the captain will just choose who he or she would like to be a part of his crew for the boat. You can be as young as five years to the age of eighty and still be able to sail. It just depends on whether you are able to swim or not.
In Anguilla there are two main sailboat classes: Class A and Class B. These identify two different sized boats for the races in the course of a year. Class A is a bigger boat which holds a bigger crew that can vary from a crew of twelve to thirty. The B class is a smaller sized boat that may consist of a smaller crew and an overall smaller build of the boat itself.
The sailboats sail in different courses throughout the year. The longest race course is set to go around the beautiful island for Anguilla Day. The Anguilla Day “Around-The-Island Boat Race” commemorates the efforts of Anguillians who, in 1967, staged a revolution against the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla Federation. With every festival in Anguilla there is normally a boat race that happens the same day or the day after.
Boat racing is a very important part of our culture and I think as Anguillians we should all embrace it. Personally, my favorite boat is the Real Deal. In the future I would like to sail on a sailboat just for the experience. Sailing is a part of our culture and no matter what I know that this tradition will last for many more generations.
*Published as submitted to the 2020 Anguilla Non-Fiction Literary Competition. Read more about the Competition here.
**Fidel Lim Brooks submitted for the Age 13-15 Category for the Anguilla Non-Fiction Literary Competition.