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Page 1 of 1Total of 8 messages
Posted by:May 20th 2005, 03:44:20 pm
Fig Tree News TeamGeorge Smith - Regatta's greatest spectator

Regatta's greatest spectator


Rolly Gray and Jack Wright are among the greatest Bahamian sailors in the Family Island Regatta, having been involved with the racing since its inception in 1954. George Smith, on the other hand, who has attended every event since 1965, is perhaps the regatta's most loyal spectator.

Smith, a former member of Parliament for the Rolleville, Exuma Constituency from 1967 to 1992, has teamed up with commodore Daniel Strachan in a campaign to have the race course, Elizabeth Harbour, renamed the Rolly Gray Harbour. This year's 52nd version of the regatta is being staged in honour of Jack Wright, an Exumian from Richmond Hill.

Smith no doubt harbours strong feeling toward Rolly Gray. He offers: "When I was asked by a newspaper some time back to identify 10 of the most influential Bahamians in the last century, Rolly Gray was high on my list. I hope that the government will acquiesce to the request of the commodore, Daniel Strachan, and rename the Elizabeth Harbour Rolly Gray Harbour."

Claiming to know Rolly Gray better than any politician, Mr Smith said he would love to be around to say a few words about Rolly at the renaming ceremony of the harbour some time hopefully in the near future.

In a recent interview, Mr Smith paid tribute to the late Robert H (Bobby) Symonette who was a member of Parliament for Exuma.

He, Capt. Freddie Brown and a few others started the regatta in 1954. According to Smith, Symonette, an international yachtsman, was motivated by his desire to preserve the indigenous Bahamian sail workboats which were becoming "endangered" with the advent of the motor boats and vessels.

Although the Bahamian work-race boats are unique to The Bahamas, Smith says that similar boats are found on one of the Indonesian Islands, but they are not as sturdy as the Bahamian ones.

First called the Out Island Squadron, the regatta was later renamed the Out Island Regatta, and then the Family Island Regatta. Serving as commodores over the years have been Sir Durward Knowles, Harold Munnings, Idris Reed, and Howard Bottomley.

The current commodore Daniel Strachan is an ex-banker who recently relocated to Exuma.

As many as 70 boats, in all classes, will be competing this year. Smithsays the regatta has been growing, improving each year. "A lot of people go to the regatta just for the camaraderie and to enjoy the other on-shore activities."

The Family island Regatta is the forerunner to a number of regattas, namely the All Andros and the Berry Island Regatta, Acklins Regatta, Bimini Regatta, Cat Island Regatta, Freeport Regatta, Harbour Island Regatta, Long Island Regatta and the frequent mini regatta in Montagu Bay, New Providence. According to Smith, dingy racing predates the all-class regatta by some 10 years in Mangrove Cay, Andros and Rolleville, Exuma.

Receiving high marks for their performances are commodore Daniel Strachan and racing committee member Clyde Rolle who Smith says are performing "an excellent job."

A realtor and deputy chairman of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas, George Smith will return home for the regatta this week. With the increasing support it gets each year, he is optimistic that Elizabeth Harbour or Rolly Gray Harbour shall be the venue for many national regattas to come.

A passionate regatta spectator, he nonetheless, keeps close to his chest which boats he pulls for.

This neutrality no doubt has endeared him to all of the skippers ... And better than that, you just don't get!
Posted by:May 18th 2005, 12:26:41 pm
KimberlyWhile we've got the suggestion box open, why not consider offering bands playing acoustic music as well? I personally think that the Native Sons, as heirs to the Percentie Bros. dynasty, would go over brilliantly with an acoustic set or two of the classic calypso music performed the way their uncles and fathers played in their day. So as to not compete with the (louder) Fig Tree happenings, how about having them play at the PLP dock around sunset? That would be one way to get the crowd to move about town. Just a thought. I could listen to acoustic calypso for hours ...
Posted by:May 17th 2005, 11:38:39 pm
brilandchickhaving live band is a great idea!! I support the idea 100%, however I feel as though the live band performances are to long and sometimes can become very boring. As a suggestion there should probably be 1 or 2 live band performances then an hour or 2 break from the live band and regular dj-ed music played. Although live band is a great idea natives and Bahamians in my opinion enjoy dj-ed music more. After all its all about making the bucks!! and keeping the visitors and guest down on baystreet and the money flowing!!
Posted by:May 17th 2005, 04:36:05 pm
LorriawNo problem Kristel. We are definitely look forward in haveing Live Entertainment this year.
Posted by:May 17th 2005, 12:54:24 pm
KristelAs a diligent attender of homecomings in Eleuthera, it has always disappointed me that Briland's regatta revolved mostly around drinking, with little or no live entertainment. I would be THRILLED to know that there will be live entertainment at Regatta this year. You have so many good bands on island, it's a shame not to showcase them. Bravo for the new committee! I'm looking foward to see what you can do! If you need any assistance from the states... feel free to contact me!
Posted by:May 13th 2005, 09:55:17 am
LorriawYes, the Regatta Committee plan to have lots of live entertainment. There are new committee members in place, so they plan to work hard and make this one a good and prosperous one.
Posted by:May 12th 2005, 06:01:19 pm
KimberlySounds great ... any live bands scheduled to play down sea this year? Heard from many people that Seagrape's was just TOO hot last year!

Posted by:May 12th 2005, 10:46:32 am
LorriawThe North Eleuthera Regatta is scheduled October 6-11, 2005.

Briland Sweet Hey!

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