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Spectators on dinghies await the start of the A Class.

62nd Annual Family Island Regatta, George Town, Exumas, Bahamas, April 21-25 Continuing the 62-year-old Tradition – the National Family Island Regatta of the Bahamas By Jan Pehrson Cover: Sailing in the C Class.

F

or people growing up in the Bahamas in the old days, sailing was not a pastime but a way of life. On the outer islands and small cays sailing was the only transportation. Out of this environment outstanding sailors and boat builders developed. With no engines or instruments the old sailors had to navigate difficult passages between Raising the sails shortly after the reefs and the islands. the start in the C Class. Speed was important so that fishermen could be the first boat into Nassau to deliver the fish kept alive in their “wet holds.” Sniffing for wind, the old sailors sensed the fastest course to market, guiding boats shaped just right for the local conditions on their island. Inter-island sailing rivalries emerged that continue to be played out in the National Family Island Regatta of the Bahamas held each April in George Town, Exuma, now in its 62nd year. One of a series of regattas, the George Town regatta is the original and the biggest. Today’s boats are souped-up versions of the original Bahamian working sloops, and many of today’s sailors are News & Views for Southern Sailors

descended from the original families. Sloops must be Bahamian designed, built, owned and skippered. They must be constructed of wood, and sails must be canvas. The largest class of Bahamian sloops in regattas today is Class-A. These 28foot-long boats look larger than they actually are

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July 2015

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Southwinds July 2015  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...