Regatta Time in Abaco held its 38th annual series of races for cruising boats the beginning of July. This year for only the second time in the history of The Regatta two races had to be cancelled because of weather.
The fourth race of this year’s Regatta was scheduled for July 9 off Marsh Harbour to terminate off Hope Town. However, the day began with sporadic rain and wind gusts 25 – 30 mph due to a low pressure trough moving our way from Andros. Tropical Storm Chantal churning up the waters off Cuba was projected to come through The Bahamas later that week. Chantal was not expected to develop into a hurricane but would be in our area by July 12 or 13 with winds expected to be 30 – 40 mph. Squalls with gusting winds was forecast for the remainder of the week.
Because of this the Regatta Committee concluded that the safest plan for both the sailors and their boats was to cancel the final two races. If the Regatta had continued, many of the skippers were apprehensive that they would not be able to get back to Florida before Tropical Storm Chantal caused the Gulf Stream to become rough. Some left even before the races were cancelled.
However, the parties that were planned for the last three nights were held as planned. By the night of the July 9 only about twelve boats remained in the area to compete.
The Regatta Committee regretted having to shorten the event. But feedback from marine-oriented people has been supportive that the committee made the right decision.
Regatta Time in Abaco began in 1975 as a fun race in the quiet fall season for local sailboats. Soon the potential as a tourism event was seen and the dates were moved into summer before the active hurricane season. Over the years it has become Abaco’s largest tourism event.
Summer tourism in the early 1970s was sparse. The regatta has been a major factor in our vibrant summer tourism season that we now enjoy.