We reluctantly left the Ragged Islands and headed back up to George Town in order to attend the Annual Family Regatta. Don’t get me wrong, no one dragged us out of the Ragged Islands. We willfully headed north because the Family Regatta is fun, interesting, and if the wind blows it can be exciting!
Since 1954, this annual event of traditional Bahamian sloop sailing takes place in George Town’s Elizabeth Harbour during the last full week of April. It is the oldest and largest wooden boat racing in The Bahamas and attracts the best sailors from all of the islands to compete to be the best in their class. The competition is intense, but in traditional Bahamian style, the participants turn the event in to a wild three day party and the racing and partying should not be missed!
George Town is one of the most popular cruising destinations in the Bahamas. In peak season, there will often be 500-800 boats anchored in Elizabeth Harbour. The town of George Town has several good restaurants and there is an excellent grocery store that provides a dinghy dock, making it easy to get ashore. George Town also has an airport that offers multiple flights to/from the US per day, including several direct flights.
The islands that make up the east side of the bay provide decent anchoring with protection from the prevailing east winds, but if the wind goes south through west to north, you’ll want to find another place to avoid the inevitable wind swell. Located on Stocking Island, the famous “Chat-n-Chill” restaurant/bar is an important gathering place for the cruising community. The cruisers that make Georgetown their home during the winter season organize regular activities that all are welcome to participate in. Volley ball, water aerobics, poker tournaments, beach yoga, and Sunday Church Services are just a few of the weekly activities that you can enjoy, if you’re so inclined.
As much as George Town has to offer cruisers, Michelle and I aren’t big fans of George Town. We don’t like the crowded anchorages or the “tourist resort” vibe of the place. And the rules! You can’t put so many boats in a small area without someone feeling the need to create rules for everything! As a result we try to avoid going to George Town unless we need to re-provision OR to attend the Family Regatta.
Next up: We return to Key West via the Old Bahama Channel