|22nd Fools Regatta builds on history, focuses on youth|
|Written by David Douglas/Regatta "Chief Fool"|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:44|
In April of 1990, the cruising fraternity on Providenciales decided to run a fun race out of Sapodilla Bay.
As all of the competitors were on trimarans or catamarans and the race was in early April, the original organizers dubbed the event the “April Fools Multihull Regatta.” Beluga and Minx, still plying these waters, were part of the first race.
In 1992 the regatta moved to Grace Bay and was opened to any vessel on island that wanted to race to Pine Cay and back. Beach cats were introduced with the Flying Redmonds ruling the adrenalin roost.
The breakout year for the even was 1993, with huge turnout and the introduction of the first Caicos Sloop (James Dean Sr. and the newly launched Eagle 2). The regatta had entered its corporate sponsorship phase, and, for better or worse, the small beach barbecues were a thing of the past.
Ralph Wilcke and friends had run an annual Caicos Sloop Regatta on Grace Bay in the mid 1980s, and on many occasions had as many as 14 boats on the starting line. Ralph had even refinished a James Dean hull, dubbed the “Brenda Sue,” that he raced in South Caicos.
From this point onward, the April Fools Regatta picked up the mantle from Ralph and Co., and in addition to the “come one, come all” philosophy regarding type of sailing craft, focused on promotion of the Caicos Sloop. On consecutive years from the late 1990s, we had at least eight Caicos Sloops on the start line vying for large purses and bragging rights.
Because of both the difficulty in finding time during high season and the unpredictable nature of April weather, in 1997 the regatta committee decided run a late spring/early summer event. In 1997, the newly minted “Fools Regatta” was run on the Saturday before Fathers Day, and that has been our general date and name ever since.
The Hobie Waves were first featured in the Fools Regatta in 1998. In fact, formation of the Provo Sailing Club was a result of assembling the Waves at that regatta. The Sailing Club has been the home of almost every regatta since then, and we have recently hosted from our new home in the Kids’ Park.
Our mandate, under the auspices of the new Turks and Caicos Sailing Association (and from our base in the Kids’ Park) is to promote the sport of sailing throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands. Our focus the past two years has been on TCI youth, and we have run hundreds of kids through our Learn-to-Sail and Learn-to-Race programs. The 2012 Regatta, generously sponsored by Islandcom for the third consecutive year, will benefit our kids’ programs and showcase our young talent.
This year will mark the introduction of 12 Laser Picos to our fleet. In short order, these new dinghies have proven to be the ideal platform for training our juniors. But even with the introduction of new boats, all of the old benchmarks remain.
Caicos Sloops will contest the Tom Lightbourn Trophy in both “A” and “B” classes. Hobie Cats will zip around the course in the Resort Challenge and other races. The Bent Prop Award and cases of Bambarra will be up for grabs (by some of the longer-in-the-tooth competitors).
Provo Primary’s Steel Drum Band will play, Ms. Higgs will serve her Crab ‘N’ Rice, TCIFA will handle the bar and some of the original multihulls that raced 22 years ago in Sapodilla Bay will take a turn around the buoys.
So please join us on Saturday, June 16, at the Kids’ Park in the Bight to help celebrate the 22nd year of this timeless summer festival. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. with the first kids’ races, and the big boats take off around noon.
10:30 a.m. ‑ Lockland Trading Trophy (kid/kid)
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:48|
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