On August 12 the Sailaway beach party was held at Baker’s Bay. The event is organized by the Sailaway Committee and this year it benefitted Friends of the Environment and the Rotary Club of Abaco. The proceeds which are raised by the sale of hamburgers, hot dogs, beverages and t-shirts go to benefit the organizations. Volunteers from both organizations, along with other individuals, staffed the booths for hours. This was the tenth and final Sailaway.
Despite threatening weather over Greater Abaco, Guana Cay was spared from any downpour of rain. Party-goers anchored their boats immediately off the beach on both the lee side and ocean side on the northern tip of Great Guana Cay. The warm, calm water encouraged visitors to enjoy the sea and beach while the “Rare ‘N Digo” played music from loudspeakers mounted on the vessel. Leigh Davis and James Malone, “DJ Fire & Ice”, were the DJs for the afternoon.
Originally started in Abaco by “Little” Bill Albury, the Sailaway has benefitted many charities throughout its ten year run. In the past Every Child Counts, the fire department, the Abaco Cancer Society and other organizations have benefited from the fundraiser. This year the Rotary Club of Abaco and Friends of the Environment worked together along with the Committee to ensure a successful party.
Over one hundred boats throughout the day were anchored at the beach. Each boat was full of people looking to have a fun time and enjoy the festivities. A cash bar was set up along with a grill for hot dogs, hamburgers and crawfish tails. Both serving stations were consistently occupied by hungry and thirsty beach-goers who were being served by volunteers. The proceeds were split between the two organizations.
This year was the tenth occurrence of the Sailaway and, regardless, would have been the last one held at Baker’s Bay. Unfortunately, it was also later decided to be the final party of the decade-long series. Despite the logistical challenges going forward with scouting a new location and the tremendous effort needed to put into the Sailaway each year, many of the organizers were confident the annual party could continue next year. However, a brawl that broke out that afternoon on the beach was the frustrating final straw.
“This event has been held for ten consecutive years. Ten years and there has never been a problem like that,” Kristin Williams, Director of FRIENDS and Sailaway Committee member, said in regards to the fight. “It was incredibly upsetting. This is a charity event and to have a group of people behave like that was really disappointing. We decided then that we are not going to continue the event.”
Unrelated to the fight, one gentleman became distressed when he drifted out too far from the beach. He was rescued quickly.
Despite the altercation, the event was considered a success.
“The people were great. Everyone who comes to Sailaway is always so supportive and they are really there to have a good time. It’s always a lot of fun,” said Ms. Williams. She also thanked Baker’s Bay who set up the area and helped clean the trash that remained.
Along with the Fiddle Cay “Stranded Naked” Party, the Sailaway is one of the largest beach parties held in Abaco. A staple summertime event for many Abaconians and boating tourists for ten years, the Sailaway is sure to be missed next August. Hopefully with the growth of the North Abaco Summer Beach Festival, and efforts by other organizations and individuals, a comparable substitute will one day exist again on socialites’ calendars. It was a fun run that many will remember fondly.