Right on the heels of the first day of summer in Abaco and spread between the American and Bahamian Independence Days came the 40th Annual Regatta Time in Abaco (RTIA) bringing together about 50 boats from The Bahamas and around the world to compete in a series of races starting in Green Turtle Cay and ending at Hope Town.
Sailors enjoyed great weather with brisk winds throughout the week varying from as low as 10-12 knots to as much as 23 knots.
Emerging victorious in the RTIA Category was Bahamian sailboat ‘Ballamena II’ captained by long time participant Peter Christie. ‘Abaco Glow,’ sailed by Andy Burke and crew (also long time participants) took top honors in the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) Class.
What started as a fundraiser to build a boat in 1974, has grown to be one of the Bahamas’ largest annual regattas, and this year’s event was a great success as 39 boats sailed all four races and several more joined in on a few.
As a part of the fortieth RTIA the Committee gave special recognition to two long time participants; Peter Christie and Jeff Gale
Peter Christie, avid sailor and President of HG Christie, said that he has participated for 30 years now. He said that the Regatta is “the only time I am able to race and sail my boat ‘Balamena’ and it is a one week long nautical holiday with a different venue every other day; good racing, good parties, and camaraderie.”
The RTIA races take visitors through a tour of Abaco’s tourism hub over the course of a week with races at Green Turtle Cay to Treasure Cay to Guana Cay to Marsh Harbour and finishing at Hope Town and include lay days as well as award parties at popular spots throughout the course.
The Regatta kicks off with the biggest beach party on a relatively small beach, and may well be the biggest beach party in The Bahamas. The party is put on and largely conducted by Bob and Patricia Henderson of Stranded Naked – a swim clothing company – each year.
The name of the party is Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Beach Party. This year they gave away 1800 Bubba Burgers, 600 pounds of french fries, 100 gallons of rum punch, 100 gallons of margarita and 600 hot dogs. The children receive kook-aid and ice water. Stranded Naked and their sponsors supply hundreds of free giveaways and prizes and trophies for the Hula-hoop and Limbo contest winners.
This year’s Regatta finished with a post-Regatta party at Pete’s Pub dubbed the “Bitter End” party and was a smashing success with hundreds enjoying the day at Little Harbour.
The RTIA Committee is truly thankful to the many sponsors who helped make the Regatta possible including the Ministry of Tourism, Burns House – Mount Gay and Kalik, Conch Inn/Moorings, Leeward Yacht Club, the Green Turtle Club, Abaco Petroleum, Caribbean Bottling Co, Seahorse Boat Rentals, Treasure Cay Resort and Marina, Abaco Groceries, D ‘n’ R, Abaco Print, Albury’s Ferry, Orchid Bay and Bahamas Cigarette & Tobacco Ltd.