In memory of Ralph

Ralph’s family has requested that donations in the memory of Ralph be made to the Barbados Sailing Association for the development of youth sailing in Barbados.

These donations may be made by any of the following means:

Mailing a cheque, payable to the Barbados Sailing Association, to PO Box 40, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Direct deposit to the Barbados Sailing Association, CIBC First Caribbean Int, Account #1000959560, Warrens branch in the Dome.

Wire transfer to the Barbados Sailing Association, Swift Code FCIBBBBB, CIBC First Caribbean Int, Account #1000959560, Warrens branch in the Dome.

BSA mourns the loss of Ralph ‘Brugga’ Johnson

Ralph

Ralph Johnson had a sailor’s heart – he was full of love for the sea and his favorite sport that it supported for most of his life, Ralph was better known as Bruggadung.

Subsequently when he acquired his locally designed and built (1984) Burke 10m racing yacht, he named it Bruggadung, a yacht that epitomized everything Ralph really enjoyed: speed, agility, wits, strategy and camaraderie.

Jean Trudo from Martinique remembers Ralph from before the Bruggadung days; Jean fondly remembers first meeting Ralph racing his yacht Virgo at the PSV Regatta in 1984, becoming lifelong sailing friends. As one of the patriarchs of sailboat racing in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ralph helped to promote the racing regattas in the region, filling his racing season with local and regional regattas, in which he and his crew brought home top prizes and huge stories.

In the late 1980’s, Ralph and his Bruggadung crew proudly represented Barbados in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, better known as the ARC race, racing the boat from the Canary Islands to Barbados in record time, and winning their class and the admiration of every Bajan person. He was a man that made others more aware of how great our island nation truly is.

Ralph mentored sailors of all ages and brought young and old crew on board: most would stay loyal to him for over 30 years of racing throughout the Eastern Caribbean, changing to whichever new yacht that Ralph thought would go a bit faster and increase his joy in the sport of sailboat racing.

Over his sailing lifetime, Brugga also contributed to the sport of sailing by heading the boards of the Barbados Sailing Association, the Caribbean Sailing Association as well as the Barbados Olympic Association, where he was able to pass on his knowledge and ideas to others. At the BOA, he was able to help the sport of sailing become a better organized by guiding the Barbados Sailing Association into a respectable role as the Member National Authority for our country. He taught us all how to work hard for the vision of sport for the island and the region.

Ralph was not only a sailor; his exploits in Squash and Motor Racing are part of his legend. As a formidable and successful businessman he made a huge contribution to the development of Barbados and through generous sponsorship contributed greatly to sporting development.

Every sailor on this island, young or old, knows Ralph ‘Brugga’ Johnson either personally, or through all the stories that have been gathered over the years about the great man. Best are the ones involving fast maneuvers on the water whilst racing that were redeemed after the race with 100 Mount Gay rums on the bar. Ever a generous man, and always willing to admit when he was wrong, the rums were a way to bring everyone back together after losing a protest or claiming a victory. Brugga had great spirit and sportsmanship and will continue to be a model for many sailing generations to come. The Barbados Sailing Association and every Bajan sailor mourns the loss of one of our great sailors and one of the giants of sports in Barbados.

 

 

 

 

 

BSA mourns the loss of Richard Anthony “Uncle Tony” Hoad

Richard Anthony Hoad, affectionately known as “Uncle Tony” to most of the sailing community, passed away on the 21st of August in Barbados, surrounded by his family. He was 88.

Tony was one of the best-known and respected sailors in the southern Caribbean, due in no small part to his outgoing personality and longstanding dedication to the sport. Effortlessly sociable, he could converse with everyone from royalty to small children. Even when not sailing, he was a regular at the Barbados Yacht Club (BYC), where he was a former Commodore and took tea on Fridays and weekends.

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Tony Hoad having tea in 1979

Tony was born on 24 October 1930, the third child of Maggie and E.L.G. (Teddy) Hoad, who had 8 children in all (including 7 sons). Teddy was captain of the West Indies cricket team in the 1930s and also a top local yachtsman. A young Tony excelled at cricket and hockey. But sailing was in his blood.

A rebel from a young age, Tony left school early but was very gifted in art and drawing. This led him to become a self-taught architect who produced designs that were outside the box and way before their time. One of his early designs featured a unique inward-sloping roof that was set inside the walls. His family moved into this house in 1951 and it survived the devastation caused by the 1955 category three hurricane “Janet”. A later design, which is surely also hurricane proof, resembles an upside-down canoe.

Tony USD Boa House (2)

The “Upside-down boat house”.

Tony started sailing young, along with his brothers George and Bill. He and Bill won a Bronze Medal in the Snipe class at the 1966 CAC Games in Puerto Rico. In 1992 he represented Barbados at the Barcelona Olympics in the Soling class and was the Flag Bearer that led the Barbadian contingent into the stadium for the Opening Ceremony. He was the oldest competitor in the 1992 Games.

Tony was also a staunch defender of fairness and did not hesitate to use his privileged position to fight for the rights of those less fortunate than himself. He was a former President of the Barbados Sailing Association and stayed on the management board long after his tenure ended. He was a strong and vocal advocate for youth sailing and dinghy sailing. There is not a sailor over the age of 20 who hasn’t received his encouragement, advice (often unsolicited) and, if appropriate, reprimand!

In 1966 CAC Games in Puerto Rico he and brother Bill exchanged shirts with the Cuban. When traveling back to their facility, the bus driver told them that they could not wear the shirts for “security reasons”. Tony said he was there to race fairly against anyone and was not taking off the shirt! The whole bus erupted in clapping, the security team left and they went back to the village with no problems.

Tony had a big heart and was quick to extend his hospitality to anyone who needed it. Few visitors to the BYC escaped his notice and his table rarely had fewer than half a dozen guests. In the years when the ARC race ended in Barbados, his wife Sheila never knew how many sailors would be coming home in the evenings, to make use of the washing machine or enjoy a home-cooked meal!

But he was perhaps most prolific in introducing non-sailors to the sport. For many years he could be seen on a Saturday afternoon, in an old Sunfish or Topper, showing a landlubber the simple joy of harnessing the wind in the sails.

Tony Sunfish

Tony teaching in a Sunfish

Young at heart, Tony could often be heard beginning a sentence with the phrase “When I get old…” Although suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he was still mobile and his spirit remained as fiery as ever. Less than a month before his passing, he had been dancing at the Yacht Club’s Friday night party. A few weeks later a fell required an operation and hospitalisation, during which he caught pneumonia and did not recover. His was a life lost too early.

Tony married first Brenda, with whom he had Sonia and Richard, and secondly Sheila, with whom he had David. Our condolences go out to them and all of his extended family. We thank Tony for his enormous contribution to sailing in Barbados. To paraphrase our national anthem, he was truly a Craftsman of our Fate.

A celebration of his life will be held on 24 October at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens and Crematorium.