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News : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Jul 1, 2019 - 4:35:42 PM

Regatta Time Again on Grand Bahama Island
By Sarah Kirkby
Jul 1, 2019 - 4:45:39 PM

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Members of the Grand Bahama Regatta Committee pose for a photo opportunity following a press conference to announce of this year's regatta events. Pictured (L-R) are DJ SCORPIO, Margaret Gilbert (committee member), Chervita Campbell (chairman), Nuvolari Chootosingh (Ministry of Tourism), Elaine Smith (Ministry of Tourism), officer, Merrill Williams (honouree), Melvern Johnson (honoree), Liz Grant (Committee member), Umeakie Sawyer (committee member), Kevin Clarke (Our Lucaya) (Photo Courtesy of Shane Stubbs)

Freeport, Grand Bahama – It’s Regatta Time again! All across the country, Bahamians are gathering to celebrate our annual down-home traditions, with sloop sailing, Bahamian music, crafts, food, and more.

This year, the 24th Grand Bahama Regatta & Homecoming is slated to take place in the historic Smith’s Point community from July 14th - 20th. Over a six-day period, Grand Bahamians will have access to a series of events, including a church service to take place at the St. Cleveland Baptist Church in Freetown on Sunday, July 14 and a major opening ceremony and performance planned for Friday, July 19. Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated additions to this year’s regatta roster, however, is a brand new Regatta themed summer camp which will be headquartered at the Goombayland Skating Rink; designed to train and develop the next generation of sailors on the island.

Merril Williams is one of two long-standing public servants being honoured by the Grand Bahama Regatta Committee (GBRC) for her outstanding contributions to her community and country. The GB Regatta has been set for July 14-20. (Photos courtesy of the GBRC)

Under the theme: Celebrating our Diversity Through Sailing, organizers are hoping to attract veteran and novice sailors to compete for amazing prizes and give locals and tourists another venue to enjoy at the beautiful shoreline of Lucaya.

“We have attracted 10 C Class Sloops with sailors hailing from all over The Bahamas,” explained GB Regatta Chairman, Chervita Campbell. “We’re particularly excited about the return of ‘Termite’ a sloop out of Exuma skippered by teenagers looking to claim the E-class competition.  The E-class will also feature a brand new sloop named ‘I can’t believe it’ built by Luthor Ferguson, sailing in Grand Bahama’s name.”

As has become tradition, this year’s regatta will once again honour outstanding Bahamians who have made incredible contributions to their communities and by extension, their country. This year’s nominees include two long-standing public servants. In addition to their individual accomplishments which have garnered them national accolades, both Melvern Campbell-Johnson and Merril Williams have been intimately involved with the Grand Bahama Regatta committee, lending their significant organizational talents and skills to the planning and execution of successive regatta events as well.

“Both of our honourees have given their all to making the annual Regatta Committee memorable and fun for all of our participants” noted Campbell, “and this is just a small token of our appreciation for the work they have done.”

While organizers are anticipating widespread local participation in this year’s event, officials are also hoping to attract visitors from far and wide to provide a much needed economic boost for the island as well. “We’ve partnered with our  island’s resorts including Pelican Bay, Taino Beach Resort, The Grand Lucayan, and the Bell Channel Inn to provide discounted rates for those coming to the regatta, and X-treme Car rentals will offer affordable vehicle options.”

No regatta would be complete without an impressive lineup of Bahamian talent though. Taking the stage will be Bahamian music powerhouses Wilfred Solomon and Veronica Bishop; both to be accompanied by the popular Police Pop Band.

“Regatta time is really about celebrating all of the things that make us Bahamian,” explained Campbell. “We wanted to ensure that there was something for everyone so in addition to the races, we’ll be featuring lots of onshore games, stalls selling traditional straw crafts,  and of course everyone’s favourite Bahamian delicacies.”

To learn more about the GB Regatta and & Homecoming Weekend, persons are invited to click on their Facebook page ‘Grand Bahama Regatta & Homecoming’.

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