Maxwell Curtis and crew Stefan Furbert shed tears of joy after finally realising a long-time dream of winning the Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race together over the Cup Match holiday.
The pair pipped multiple winner and fellow East End Mini Yacht Club stablemate Stevie Dickinson and crew Anderica Gilbert at the finish line in the Great Sound on Thursday by a mere six seconds to clinch victory in dramatic fashion after many attempts.
“Stefan and I have been sailing in this race since our teens and words cannot describe how it feels to win it with him,” Curtis said. “We were both crying because we have been trying to win this race for years and we always wanted to win it together.”
Curtis and Furbert dedicated their glorious feat in honour of their late mentor Colin Clarke.
“We were the last two sailors that he took under his wing and I knew he was with us just before the finish line,” Curtis added.
The pair’s impressive victory was also the fulfilment of a wish that their late mentor expressed shortly before his death.
“Colin Clarke’s last words to me before he passed away were, ‘Beat Stevie in the Long Distance Race’,” Curtis said.
“Those were his last words to me and I never forgot that and have been trying ever since.”
Curtis also singled out coach Wesley Tucker for special praise.
“I have to thank Wesley who was very instrumental in our win,” he said. “He deserves it just as much as us.”
Curtis and Furbert’s victory hopes appeared all but over after a poor start in St George’s Harbour left them at the rear of the fleet.
“We were way in the back coming around Fort St Catherine that we couldn’t see the leaders,” Curtis said. “That’s how far ahead they were.”
Despite the odds, the pair battled their way back up the fleet before getting the better of Dickinson on the final hike to the line.
“In all my years I have never seen anybody come from that far back and win that race,” Curtis added. “We worked our butts off.
“We were hurting but we blocked it out because the finish was near and we weren’t coming this far to come second. It was crazy but definitely worth it.”
Multiple race winner Rudy Bailey and grandson crew Carey Bean finished third to round off the podium.
Gladwin Lambert and crew Stefan Maybury and Dale Brangman and crew Tajahari Rogers placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the fleet of fourteen boats.
This year’s Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race turned out to be one of the most exciting in recent memory with four lead changes taking place over the 18-mile racecourse.