Sloop sailing highlighted in documentary

Up next in the sport of sloop sailing in the country is the Farmer’s Cay Exuma Regatta in early February. With a focus on the sport, a group of persons came together and created a documentary titled, “How the Main Sail Sets”. It premiered at Fusion Superplex last Wednesday.

The 80-plus-minute documentary comes at a time when the government of The Bahamas is about to declare sailing the national sport, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting. The documentary showcased the work that Bahamian boat builders and sailors put into their craft, showcasing their skills and talent at regatta time.

Chairman and Commodore of the National Family Island Regatta Danny Strachan said he was happy to see a documentary like this surface.

“It means a whole lot,” Strachan said. “The regatta started in 1954 and there’s not been any kind of documentary or historical aspect of what it is all about. So, what we’re doing is we’re cataloguing the history of regattas from 1954 to today, so that is historical from that standpoint, and that’s why we wanted to make this documentary.”

Some of the sailors featured in the documentary include Lloyd Sands from Andros, Hugrie Lloyd, teenager Tanaj Manos and Mark Knowles from Long Island.

Director of the documentary, acclaimed producer/director Charlie ‘Charlie Bahama’ Smith, said it was a collaboration between Strachan and executive producers Fred Munnings and Nadir Hasan. He said he joined them on the journey and wanted to get creative with the film, so viewers could be engaged.

“I think we got creative with it because what I did was – it’s a documentary, so it’s documenting the story, the history of it,” said Smith. “This is why Danny (Strachan) wanted to do it because even the archives, they want this, they want this for posterity to know how this happens, so there’s a lot of history in it. The first part is going back when the Lucayans were here. It is academic but I wanted to make it more academic, so I made sure the beauty of sailing was in there.”

Smith added that the stories from the sailors were interesting, but they could not get all in.

Munnings said they were able to encapsulate not only the history of regattas, which was the most important thing, but the evolution of the development of the Family Islands as well.

“I’m sure that every Bahamian knows that, throughout the years, these work boats were used to connect the islands,” said Munnings. “Whether it was for communication purposes, distribution of food, people being transported back and forth from one settlement to the next, and/or from one island to the next, they were used. So, in addition to just a regatta film, this is really a film over the last 60 years of the development of the people of The Bahamas, particularly in the Family Islands.”

Sweeting, who is featured in the documentary being interviewed and also as a crew member on a boat that was featured in the documentary, commended the team.

“As a ministry, especially during our 50th year, we looked at how does regattas and sailing encapsulate us as a people, whether it’s through sports or through the culture or through land activities,” he said. “What’s so exciting about this is we were able to travel throughout The Bahamas. The team did a wonderful job to ensure that they captured the essence of what sailing and regattas mean not just to the people or the sailors who experience sailing, but also to the people on the ground and the people throughout the Family Islands.”

“How the Main Sail Sets” is in negotiation with circulation and syndication rights organizations for both domestic and international circulation rights. It will be available in domestic and international markets after April 18, 2023. It is being looked at being placed in the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Maine Film Festival and other film festivals. In addition, there is a desire to take the documentary on a school tour.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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