18 year-old Joshua Higgins of Harbour has been sailing since he was seven years-old when he started out in the Optimist dinghy, and it was said that he instantly fell in love with the sport. He hails from a family that is well grounded in Bahamian sailing, and a father, Mr. Melvin Higgins of Harbour Island who has been personally immersed in passing on his love of sailing to children within the island community through the Harbour Island Sailing Club. Joshua has competed on both the national and international levels in the optimist class, winning the silver fleet and top ten finishes at the Bahamas Optimist Nationals.
He began sailing the Laser class boat in 2018 at fifteen years-old and right away he knew that this was the boat for him. The young sailor connected with Coach Keir Clarke of the Lyford Cay Sailing Club and attended clinics hosted by him. These were instrumental, said Joshua, in assisting him to where he is today. Coach Martin of the Eleuthera Sailing Academy in Savannah Sound has also been a valuable connection during Joshua’s journey, as well as Lori Lowe, president of the Bahamas Sailing Association.
After making the leap from Optimist to Laser class, Joshua claimed the Sir Durward Knowles 4.7 Champion title, as well as the National Champion 4.7 title in 2018. He then decided to move up to the Laser Radial class, and took 3rd position in the KPMG Regatta in both 2019 and 2020. In June of 2020 Joshua graduated senior high school at the Harbour Island All Age School as both an honour student and as Head Boy of his graduating class.
In 2021 he went on to take 1st position in the Martin Luther King Regatta at Lyford Cay as well as the Laser Radial KPMG Regatta. He was 3rd at the Laser Radial Bahamas Youth Olympic Regatta and achieved 1st Overall at the Laser Radial Nationals. At the Junior Laser Radial Nationals, he took the Champion title.
By being crowned National Junior Champion of the Bahamas, this qualified him to represent the Bahamas at the 2021 ISAF Junior Youth Worlds in Oman, which took place in December 2021 from the 10th to the 18th.
In preparation for the international competition in Oman, Joshua attended a high-level sailing camp in Viana, Portugal for two months in the summer of 2021. During this time he also competed at the US Nationals, the Radial Youth Worlds in Italy and the under 21 Worlds in Poland. Another six weeks of training in Portugal also took place later in 2021, in preparation for the ISAF Youth Worlds in Oman.
Final preparations saw Joshua join in with Junior Laser Sailors from around the world in a five-day clinic hosted from December 5th – 10th by ‘World Sailing/Emerging Nations Organization’, of which Joshua is a part.
At the ISAF Youth Worlds in December 2021 he finished 47th amongst more than 300 participants.
Joshua, who returned home on December 22nd, acknowledged how blessed he is to have the sponsorship and support of the Friends of Harbour Island Sailing Club as well as the Lyford Cay Foundation for his sailing career. He is now looking forward to moving on to the Laser Standard class as he sails forward towards his dream of representing the Bahamas at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.
Joshua, who is very passionate about sailing, shared that he understands the commitment, dedication and work ethics that he has to have in order to compete at the international level. As he sails towards the Olympics one tack at a time, he expressed his gratitude for having The Harbour Island Sailing Club, his family, and the community of Harbour Island in full support of his dream.
Early in January 2022, Joshua was preparing to travel to New Providence to compete in the Martin Luther King Regatta in Lyford Cay, before beginning international training once again. His already full competition slate in 2022, will take him to the 19th Caribbean Midwinters in late January, Midwinters East Championships in March, then onto the U21 European Championships in April. He is set to compete while in Europe at the Serbian Nationals, as well as the Europa Cup in Montenegro in early May, before returning home for the Bahamas Laser Nationals in late May. Summer 2022 should see Joshua competing in the North American Championships, the U21 World Championships, then the Europa Cup in Austria in September.