The 23rd Annual Grand Bahama Homecoming and Regatta is fast approaching.
Set for July 20-22, this year’s event at Taino Beach will feature 10 C-Class sloops vying for this year’s top prize.
They include: defending champion, Sacrifice out of Long Island, Dream Girl (Exuma), Uncle John (Acklins), Crazy Partner (Black Point, Exuma), H2O (Black Point, Exuma), Revelation 3:19 (Black Point, Exuma), Golden Girl (Stuart Manor, Exuma), Sweet Island Gal (Stuart Manor, Exuma), Jacob’s Ladder (Mayaguana) and Termite (Exuma).
With the notable absence of a sailing boat representing Grand Bahama in the major race, the Grand Bahama Sailing Club has come on board to bolster the junior sailing part of this year’s regatta.
Committee Chairman Chervita Campbell notes that the committee took a keen interest in addressing the concerns expressed by the feeder program and agreed that it was time to make a change.
“I must stress that we heard the concerns of our feeder program, which is the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. We are fully aware that Grand Bahama does not have a boat in regattas throughout the nation. So, this year we have engaged the E-Class sailing sloops and they will cater to the junior sailing component of our races.
“Grand Bahama we did it for you. We’re asking for your support to come out and watch our feeder program sail. It is for us to continue with our sport and keep it alive,” said Campbell.
This will be the first year that junior sailing will be highlighted throughout the regatta and that was enough motivation for the Junior Regatta organizers to add some flavor to the race.
Committee member representative Rashema Ingraham introduced the concept for the junior races. “We are excited this is the first year that the GB Regatta will have the junior sailors highlighted and, on the water,” she stated. “But we decided to add a twist to it. We’re going to have five E-Class boats and those five E-Class boats will represent the five constituencies on Grand Bahama.
“We have Marco City and that boat’s name will be Armageddon. For East Grand Bahama we have Tamarind Switch, Pineridge will be Gold Rush, West End and Bimini will be Blue Bird and Central Grand Bahama will be Judgement Day.
“We want the residents of these constituencies to come out and when they see their respective boats, I want to hear the loud cheers from the residents of those constituencies. I even want to see residents of Bimini come down and cheer on Blue Bird. We’re really excited and hope to grow this part of the Regatta for years to come.”
With approximately 12 sailors set to represent the GBSC, Director at the GBSC Chris Payne noted that the E-Class boats will be “different” from the boats their junior sailors are accustomed to.
“It’s a very different discipline than the boats they are used to sailing. The Bahamian classic sloop boats are really a different kettle of fish altogether. They’re quite difficult to sail and have a very big sail area. It takes a lot of skill and expertise to handle the boats but also make them go in the direction you want them to and be competitive.
“We had some of our kids that took part in the Sir Durward Knowles Junior Sailing Regatta a few months ago and they sailed these boats and really enjoyed it. It was a huge confidence builder for them because for a lot of them it was a new experience. Some of them will come back for this regatta, and I think they will have a lot of fun.”
The junior sailing races take place Friday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m. and at 12:00 p.m. the following Saturday. The awards presentation and awards ceremony for all races will commence at 6:00 p.m.
Payne also added that the GBSC’s Summer Sailing Camp is ongoing. The next two-week session commences July 16 at the GBSC, with another two-week session slated to begin July 30 with sponsorship places still available. For more information on camp registration, you can contact the GBSC.