The 2019 Grand Bahama Regatta and Homecoming has found a new home for the 24th edition of the down-home sailing experience.
Just up the shoreline from it’s former location of Taino Beach, the settlement of Smith’s Point will undertake the annual sailing festival on July 19-20. The announcement was made from the Gully Wash Bar and Grill in Smith’s Point, June 19.
The GB Regatta and Homecoming will also be honoring past committee members Melvern Johnson and Merrill Williams during the weekend of festivities.
Committee Chairman of the GB Regatta and Homecoming Chervita Campbell expressed that the committee decided on the change after the constant feedback of the event’s turnout at the former location.
“We have heard the residents of the island and abroad speak about the turnout that we had for Taino Beach because it doesn’t have that Family Island flare and persons just weren’t gravitating towards it. This year we are glad that the Smith’s Point community has welcomed the Regatta and Homecoming to be hosted in their settlement where we could create and enhance what the settlement has to offer and by extension the island of Grand Bahama.
“The flow of the water is continuous between Taino Beach and Smith’s Point. So as it relates to the sailors we should have little deficiencies being able to host our races. It’s something new but something we can plan long-term for as we continue to develop the island’s trade and cultural exchange,” she expressed.
The 24th Annual Grand Bahama Regatta & Homecoming will be hosted under the theme, ‘Celebrating Our Diversity Through Sailing.’ The Committee Chairman then announced that this year Grand Bahama will finally be represented in the junior division’s E-Class slate of races.
“We have attracted 10 C-Class Sloops with sailors hailing from all over The Bahamas. Termite, of Exuma skippered by teenagers are returning to reclaim their title.
“This year, also, we are pleased to share that finally Grand Bahama has an E-Class Sloop by the name ‘I Can’t Believe It’ built by Luther Ferguson. This sloop has invited 4 other E Class to compete within the junior races.”
Campbell further shared the Grand Bahama Regatta was birthed from the Grand Bahama Games - which was a competition among the constituencies on the island. This year, in hopes to add a different flare to the C-Class races, Campbell shared that the 10 boats expected to compete in the C-Class sail-off will be split to represent the various constituencies in Grand Bahama.
“What we’ve done is we’ve targeted 10 sloops to represent our constituencies - so there will be two boats per constituency and they will be drawn by our race coordinator by the draw of a straw.
“At the same time our Committee is focused on development and the long-term. This time we are targeting the E-Class sloops which will cater to the junior sailors and we thank the Grand Bahama Sailing Club for their continued partnership.”
This year the GB Regatta and Homecoming will have lots of on-shore games and prizes. The prizes will range from cash prizes to gift certificates and residents must be on site to win.
The local restaurants and vendors will be available to all residents and visitors.
Performing live on-shore will be Wilfred Solomon, Vernoica Bishop and the Police Pop Band with a variety of cultural expression shows.
The host hotels include Taino Beach Resort, the Grand Lucyan Resort, Pelican Bay, and Bell Channel. Car rental for visitors will be provided by X-treme Car Rental.
“We say thank you to our continued sponsors in kind and in monetary and we’re still looking for more sponsors. But nonetheless we want persons to come out and enjoy the Bahamian dishes and music. Everything Bahamian we want you find it here at this Regatta.”
The Ministry of Tourism is once again onboard to assist with the upcoming Regatta and Manager for Niche Markets Nuvolari Chotoosingh shared the relocation should add a unique dimension to the event itself.
“Smith’s Point offers more of a community atmosphere for visitors and locals. It will be more of a traditional Family Island Regatta feel being brought to this event this year.
“I think the Regatta this year will provide a new experience for locals because the Smith’s Point track will offer a better view of what the Family Island Regatta is really like. We have all these businesses here along the new sea wall which provides a tremendous amount of viewing opportunities for anyone who wants to come out and see this event.
“I think with this event this year and going forward where we have an earlier start where we keep it in Smith’s Point it would allow the MOT to partner with other stakeholders and other partners locally and overseas to promote the event even better for next year,” he concluded.
The following is a list of activities leading up to the GB Regatta and Homecoming.
Sunday, July 14 at 3:00 p.m. – Church Service at St. Cleveland Baptist Church, Freetown
July 15-19 - Regatta Summer Camp at Goombayland (contact 602-1022 for more information)
Friday, July 19 – 10:00 a.m. - Sailing (E-Class/Jr. Sailing & C-Class)
7:00 p.m. - Opening ceremony and Skippers’ meet and greet at Smith’s Point
8:30 p.m. - Showtime
Saturday, July 20 at 10: 00 a.m. - (E-Class/ Jr. Sailing & C-Class)
7:00 p.m. - Awards Presentation / Closing