The George Town Cruising Regatta is a Bahamian event down to the bone…err, the keel. There’s a style to the Bahamas – vibrant, colorful, and full of energy – and the George Town Regatta emanated this style, and we’re glad to have been there for it.
The regatta is also known as the National Family Island Regatta – held in Elizabeth Harbor, Georgetown, Exuma.
The first race was in the 1950s. Each year in April sailors gather to compete for the “Best of Bahamas” title. In their locally built, legendary Bahamian sloops, sailors raise the sail come rain or shine.
Fun at the George Town Regatta
When we arrived in town, the sunshine and warm air demanded a stop for a cold drink. We heeded mother natures call with a few friends.
Island Boy Cafe is right next to the dinghy dock., and has good food at a reasonable price.
With fresh fuel in our bodies, we were ready to walk the town and head over toward the waterfront where the regatta could be viewed.
Aren’t the colors on the buildings so happy?
We’ve heard there’s actual a color scheme – Pink = government buildings; yellow = schools. However, we can’t confirm this.
Food shacks and bars are setup just for the Regatta. We saw them creating the buildings a week before the event and were astonished to see simple plywood beginnings turn into colorful part zones!!!
Good Food and Good Times at the Regatta
We couldn’t make it to the regatta before first finding some delicious goodies!
We found this scrumptious goody that can only be compared to pralines. But instead of pecans, the Bahamians filled the buttery brown sugar treat with toasted coconut! YUM!
And Nancy devoured two pieces of freshly carved sugar cane! Which is incredible!
Yes, we finally made it to the races!
Drinks, walking, and never ending foods…this event was fun. But the races were exciting even more!
We could tell each boat had it’s own fan club. The crowds cheered, jeered, and argued over who would cross the finish line first.
About the Family Island Regatta
Traditionally, the sailboats were working fishing boats. After the seeds of competition took root, Bahamians intentionally built the regatta sloops for speed.
The success of the event always depended on the skills and enthusiasm of the sailors and as years went by, the quality of both the boats and their drivers improved. The National Family Island Regatta is about competition and excellence. World-class sailors are pitted against one another in extreme competition that tests skill and endurance. The racing rules dictate that the sailing vessels must be designed, built and sailed by a Bahamian. There are also strict restrictions on the building materials used in order to keep these boats as closely related to their traditional origins as possible.
The race was full of fun and excitement. But mostly, the vibe was typical Bahamas – Chill.