We decided to stay at Georgetown a little longer than expected since the All Island Family Regatta was coming up. The Class A, B, and C racing sailboats from all the islands in the Bahamas come to Georgetown for a week of racing and partying. First the government dock gets converted from a working pier into a carnival atmosphere. Small sheds made of plywood and 2x4s pop up that sell food and beer and "coconut gin". Huge sound systems are constructed that blare out really loud dance music. Then the boats start arriving - some sailing in but most lashed on the deck of small cargo ships. The race boats are shallow draft wood construction - the larger class A boats have a jib but the other classes just have a mainsail. The larger boats are less than 30 feet long but their mast is sometimes 75 feet high and the boom extends way aft of the tiller - making for a lot of sail area. When the races are ready to begin, the boats are towed out to the startline typically by volunteer cruisers and there they drop their anchor right on the line. The order closest to the windward end of the line is based upon the previous race's finishing order. Just before the gun goes off, the crews ready the sails and begin pulling their anchor up - timing it to just cross the line when the gun fires. You can expect that it is chaos - there really aren't any rules and lots of collisions and foulings happen. The picture the left shows one of the starts. Once the race starts the bay is covered with crash boats, dinghies, and runabouts racing to the windward mark to see the excitement at the turn. Since the boats have very little keel and a tremendous amount of sail, they use a "pry", or long 2x10 board that the crew climbs out onto to counter-balance the boat while going to windward. It is pretty exciting to see a tack as they climb off the pry and switch sides and then get back on - sometimes there are 7 to 8 people clinging to this board. Quite often there is a mishap and the boat goes over, filling with water and sinking. No problem, a diver goes down and unbolts the lead blocks use for the ballast and the boat floats back up. They bail it out, rebolt the ballast, and ready to go again - amazing! While the boats represent from the different islands quite often cruisers are invited aboard to race. One super guy we met there - Charlie Ogletree on Kaya - skippered the Georgetown boat. While they didn't win they had a great time. The winner of the Class A boats - TidaWave - is pictured to the left. On the last day of the races a specal event happens in town - the Royal Bahamian Police Marching Band arrive and entertain the crowd. What a hoot! The drummers have leopard skin pelts drapped over their shoulders and they march and dance and have a great time. Some of the crowd will join in and impromptu boogie-downs happen. The local school band and drill team also provide a show. While the local school band plays hot tunes, the drill team challenges them with pretty erotic dance moves. All this happens as they march back and forth on a street about a block long. We are very glad we stayed for this special event!