The low-key sailing seriesserious for some; friendly and casual for mosttakes the fleet island-hopping southward from Green Turtle Cay to Marsh Harbour, with party stopovers along the way in Guana Cay, Crossing Beach, and Hope Town. As one race official put it, "There's not a red flag in sight. Everyone is here to have fun." The race committee happily postponed the start on the final day of racinga courtesy postponement they called itwhen party-weary sailors arrived late en masse at the starting line near Man-O-War Cay.
Harkrider had invited novice sailor Peter Jones of Augusta aboard Training Wheels for the delivery sail from Florida to the Abacos as well as the racing and the parties. The non-stop mixture of sea and sun, along with the nightly party scene, prompted Jones to close one of his journal entries with "sleep comes easy." According to his skipper, Jones had "never, never been on a sailboat before," which put things into perspective when the neophyte accidentally fell off the boat twice during one race while trying to help out. "He's all heart," said Harkrider.
Reflecting on the appeal of this event, Lowe remarked, "The attraction of this regatta is all the new people each year, and every night you're in a new place with new friends." Nassau resident Oliver Liddell, who skippered his Beneteau 42 Further Folly to fourth overall in Spinnaker A, described the venue as "a little competition and a little fun. It's a particularly good venue for south Florida boats in the summer." No wonder they want this event to last longer.
Roughly 170 miles due east of Palm Beach, FL, the Abacos make up the northernmost group of islands in the Bahamas.
The majority of boats competing at Regatta Time in The Abacos are either cruisers spending time in the region or racers from the east coast of Florida. For the Florida-based boats, the venue requires an overnight delivery trip across the Gulf Stream to Grand Bahama Island, then north and east across Little Bahama Bank to the northern string of Abaco Cays. Crew traveling by plane to join the boats can fly into Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay, Abaco, from a number of Florida cities with the most frequent flights originating at Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. Round-trip airfares from Florida start at $200 and range up over $400, but not all carriers fly every day and the smaller planes are often overbooked. Sailors should plan to arrive at the Abaco airports more than an hour prior to departure or risk getting bumped to a later flight, which may or may not be on the same day. Passengers with connecting flights have priority.
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