Family Islands Regatta A ‘Premier’ Sporting Event
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard said, on April 3, 2012, that the upcoming 59th National Annual Family Island Regatta is a “premier” event for the entire season of Bahamian sloop sailing.
“They attract more skippers and boats and sailors than any other regatta,” Minister Maynard said at a press conference at his Ministry. “This year the regatta has expanded further with the introduction of the E Class boats that are being produced by Sands Brewery.
“We think that that is going to offer some more excitement to the overall offering, so we are very pleased to support the regatta, as we do every year.”
The Regatta is scheduled for April 24-28, 2012, in Georgetown, Exuma, with about 60 boats taking part.
Regatta Desk Officer at the Ministry Ms. Angelique McKay said that, over the years, consecutive governments have realised the importance of partnering with the various Family Island communities in order to have successful regattas.
“We do realise the cost factors that are attached to the regattas – such as the shipping of the boats, subsistence for crew and prizes,” Ms. McKay said. “Regatta is a very large cultural component in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“It allows the various Family Island communities that host the regattas to have some economic infusion during the regatta times,” she added. “It also allows persons the opportunity to experience the way of life of the persons on those Family Islands because each regatta is different … You get to see The Bahamas.”
“Those kinds of experiences are priceless.”
Chairman and Commodore of the Regatta Mr. Danny Strachan said that organisers are very happy with the Government’s continued assistance with the regatta, as their financial assistance is always important and various Exuma businesses – such as hotels, guest houses and restaurants – will also benefit.
“The Government has been unwavering in their support of the National Family Island Regatta and a regatta like this costs a lot of money, takes a lot of planning and meeting to make sure we get it all right,” Mr. Strachan said.
“This contribution is not just to support the sailors and skippers participating; but it also represents a stimulus from the Government to the people of Exuma because, with this injection of funds into the community, it helps a lot of business houses who, indeed, are suffering due to these tough economic times,” he added.
Mr. Strachan said that there are about 10 new boats being built around The Bahamas at this moment, that have given assurance to also taking part in the regatta.
He added that, thanks to Sands Brewery, there would be a re-introduction of sculling taking place at the National Family Island Regatta, as well as a one-design boat for the Junior National Championships.
“The competition would certainly be more fair for the youngsters participating and I think the kids would be comfortable sailing these new boats,” Mr. Strachan said. “These boats are beautiful and designed specifically for the kids.”
Ms. McKay said that starting this year, her desk and regatta organisers are looking at introducing something new at each regatta, with the re-introduction of the sculling boats at the recent St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Regatta and the introduction of a photographic exhibition by an Exuman taking place at this regatta.
“We are trying to introduce new initiatives at every regatta for this regatta season,” Ms. McKay said.
“We believe that the continued growth and development of sloop sailing in The Bahamas hinges heavily on what happens at the National Family Islands Regatta,” Minister Maynard said.
By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services