The Bahamas National Family Island Regatta was held in Great Exuma, a tradition of sailboat racing that started in 1954.  These wooden boats were originally designed and used as fishing boats that sailed to fishing grounds with deep holds for fish.  Four classes were competing with different boat sizes, the A-class being the largest boat at ~30 ft.  It was our first time attending this regatta and we had a great time.


Many classic boats have won the A/B/C-class titles over the years, following long-standing family traditions from Abaco, Nassau, Exuma, Long Island and Ragged Island.  

Most of these guys have grown up with tiller in-hand.  

Knowledge and experience still get passed down with the next generation of sailors, who race on the boats to learn the ropes in their early years.

Most of the Long Island boats ~ C-CLASS: Lady Diane, Catch da Cat, Whitty K, Sacrifice, Beerly Legal; B-CLASS:  Susan Chase; A-CLASS:  Rupert’s Legend, Running Tide ~ were towed over by Sweet Angeline and Miss Cassidy.  

Mark sailed on Rupert’s Legend in the A-class, since they need the most bodies on for ballast.  It was a great opportunity to sail her, having just worked on her with Cameron in recent weeks.  Gabe was also sailing on A-class and C-class boats with Emile and it was fun meeting him and Monica (Maracuja) & spending the week with them.  


The crew lived on the fishing boats during the week and made us feel welcome.  

Regatta is a fun time, but make no mistake these guys work hard!  

Most crew members sail in all three classes of racing throughout each day.  There are boats to assemble with last minute repairs, heavy masts/booms, sail changes and constant movement and leverage needed throughout the races.  

Races are an “anchor-start”, which is exciting to watch as rodes are pulled in and sails raised simultaneously, all boats trying to catch the wind in a tight space.

With all of this energy expenditure the sailors need food and Daniel keeps everyone well-fed, including us! 

He’s the chef on the fishing fleet and spectator out here for regatta when he has the time to peek at the races.  

He and a great contingent of Long Island fans who also came for the week, kindly offered a me ride on their skiffs for a water-view of the races.  

Everyone plays hard too!!  We had some very entertaining, very late nights at Regatta point with loud music, shack after shack of bars & food, and killer outfits that would be in place in Carnival!  No photos unfortunately ~ visions are engrained in the mind!

The races themselves, four full days worth, were not without incident or controversy… disqualifications (un-warranted ones & overlooked ones)… boats hooking up… people in the water… boat sinking…stolen skiffs…!!!

Bottom line, the Long Island sailors dominated the field.  They almost had had a sweep of overall championship for all three classes.  We were so impressed with EVERYONE's skills and perseverance, considering all of the obstacles in their way to even get to the Regatta much less worry about trophies.

I took plenty of photos during the week… go figure.  Here are a few more ~ enjoy!


© M&M 2016