Wasn’t That a Party!
03 February 2019
After an early breakfast on Friday morning we all headed ashore to watch the arrival of the mailboat from Nassau with the race boats. It was real a carnival atmosphere at the government dock as the ship arrived loaded with boats, cars and local Bahamians coming home for the big festival weekend. We were part of a huge crowd that gathered to watch all the action as the locals unloaded the ship. There isn’t a crane at the dock, so the ship has a boom truck parked on the deck that they used to off load 3 cars, 2 pickup trucks and 6 race boats. Of course all this had to be accomplished in a 20 knot cross wind; and, it was hair raising to watch the vehicles swung over the piling onto the dock. It’s a good thing there weren’t any safety inspectors around!
There were 10 “C” class skiffs racing and each one represents a different Island. This highly competitive class has 8 regattas during the season with the finale in Georgetown in April. After all the boats were unloaded, rigged, and towed around to racing area the fleet gathered for a briefing. The first gun was planned for 1p.m., Bahamas time, which meant the day’s race finally started around 3. We dinghied out to watch the start and I hadn’t realized that it was a Lemans start. The starting line is marked by 2 inflatables bouys while the committee boat roars around making sure everyone is anchored behind the line. The trick is to have a long anchorline out and when the gun goes 3 crew members pull as hard as possible to accelerate the boat forward before hoisting the sail. Talk about organize chaos, but despite the yelling and near misses all the boats started cleanly. I have to admit their boat handling was superior to that of the participants in the Highlife Invitational Race.
When they unloaded the boat on Friday morning one of the first people off was a popular DJ from Blackpoint. He set up
shop in the small restaurant at the head of the pier and the music played all day and late into the night. Following the days racing we returned to our boats, got cleaned up and dried out then headed to the center of the action at the pier. As I mentioned, this is their big homecoming weekend and the streets were alive with outside music, food kiosks, and a dance floor complete with a light show.
Unfortunately we woke up Saturday morning to overcast skies with showers and squalls in the forecast for the day. Once again racing was delayed until everyone was ready and the first of 3 races started around 11:30 and the last race finished late in the afternoon. Finally after 2 days of cloudy rainy weather the skies cleared late in the day just in time for the celebrations to really kick in. Two members of our group were celebrating birthdays so we all gathered on Sandbox for a delicious BBQ rib dinner, topped off with birthday cake and champagne. Once again Lana and I were lucky enough to share our celebrations with great friends.
Today’s picture is of one of the skiffs.