The fortieth anniversary of Regatta Time in Abaco concluded on July 9 with sailors and land-based followers leaving well satisfied with the event. Our resorts, marinas, cart rentals, restaurants and others that service our visitors all appeared to have had a banner week. Rooms were full, rental carts and boats were all rented out, restaurants were ordering additional supplies and airlift was at full capacity.
The original goal of Regatta Time in Abaco in the mid-1970s was to stage an event that would bring boating visitors to Abaco during a dead season. We have succeeded admirably. Over the ensuing years the Regatta has brought thousands of marine-oriented and land-based visitors to Abaco. It is generally accepted that our summer season far exceeds the shorter Christmas and spring seasons. Abaco’s summer tourism is the envy of other Bahamian islands.
Our geography with its extended inland waterway coupled with heritage Loyalist settlements gives us a natural marine playground for those who love the water. The Regatta Committee has used this maritime diversity to host a series of sailboat races aimed at east coast U.S. sailors and visitors. Racers and event supporters were moved from Green Turtle Cay in the north to Hope Town in the south with strategic stops along the way. No single town or resort was the center of activity.
Not only were the competitors and their crews exposed to Abaco but also their extended families and the shore-bound visitors who came for the evening social events. Many of these persons have upgraded their status here by buying a second home or building a home or becoming a regular visitor.
The Regatta began entirely as a volunteer effort with few financial sponsors. Over the years the original single race off Marsh Harbour expanded to include a July 4 race off Green Turtle Cay and additional races off Treasure Cay, Guana Cay and Hope Town. In recognition of the event’s value, sponsors came forward to provide the necessary operating funds. About ten years later the Ministry of Tourism joined as a valuable patron, adding its expertise to our marketing efforts and funding.
More recently the world-wide economic disaster of 2008 coupled with a general decline in stateside regatta participation has severely reduced our number of participants and available financing. It has become more difficult to find financial sponsors. This may seem to be strange, but the faltering economy coupled with additional charitable causes locally also needing funding has left us with an empty bank account.
In view of our depleted finances and diminished community support we do not see the way forward to successfully stage this event next year. The Regatta Committee is asking anyone interested in perpetuating this event to give us your suggestions.
Regatta Time in Abaco Committee
David Ralph, Commodore – 367-2677
Ruth Saunders, Coordinator – 367-3202
firstname.lastname@example.org – Abaco Print Shop
Barry Whiting – 357-6988
email@example.com – Abaco Shipping
Laura Albury – 475-3522
firstname.lastname@example.org – D n R Sports Bar
Melinda Williams, Tourism – 699-0152
Wynsome Ferguson, Tourism – 699-0152
Kathy Ralph – 367-2677