Regatta cancelled for second straight year

By RENALDO DORSETT

Tribune Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

A MAJOR staple of The Bahamas’ sporting calendar, the National Family Island Regatta committee was forced to cancel its signature event for the second consecutive year due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danny Strachan, the committee chairman and commodore, issued a statement yesterday to announce the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the National Family Island Regatta, traditionally hosted in George Town, Exuma.

Strachan said that the circumstances the committee took under consideration last March, which forced the cancellation of the 2020 event, remain a concern today. “As with our consideration during early March 2020, during the very early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Family Island Regatta Committee met and reviewed available options including postponement. Once again, members concluded that this was in the best interest of our national requirement to comply with the Government’s advice to curtail large social gatherings.

“All past regattas have brought together many thousands of persons in George Town, Exuma, onshore and on boats in the harbour in extremely close gatherings. We cannot invite such a gathering with present circumstances,” Strachan said. “We have met with the Minister responsible for Regattas, Hon. Michael Pintard and the Regatta Desk in the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, to offer the assurance of our commitment to the national fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus. He supports our position for cancellation.”

Strachan said that while the committee recognises the plight of the many stakeholders in the regatta community that will suffer economically without the event, the early announcement of the cancellation is meant to limit any possible expenses in preparation.

“We, once again, apologise in a heartfelt way to the many vendors, businesses and community organisations in Exuma and from elsewhere who have come to depend on this event as an opportunity to earn much needed sales during regatta season. We know that it hurts, but we are all reminded that “this too shall pass” and we will get through this together,” he said.

“We also wish to forestall any major expenditures by sloop owners to get vessels prepared for competition only to have the event cancelled at the latest possible date. In this crisis, our priority is the health of the public and our communities. We are grateful to the many sponsors and advertisers who have continued to offer their support to our efforts to stage the regatta when it is safe to do so. This demonstration of support for the sailing community is truly valued and appreciated.”

Six new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Sunday. Five of the cases are in New Providence while one is in Grand Bahama. The Ministry of Health said 16 cases are in hospital, two of which are in intensive care. At last report, there were 1,124 active cases with 7,020 recovered cases.

One hundred and seventy-nine people have died from the disease while 15 deaths are under investigation.