Prime Minister Davis’ remarks at the 67th Cat Island Regatta

Good morning, members of the Cat Island Sailing Club, fellow sailors, fellow Cat Islanders, visiting friends and families.

What a pleasure it is to be together for the 67th Annual Sloop Sailing Regatta in beautiful New Bight!

I am really touched by the honour bestowed upon me by the Cat Island Sailing Club — thank you very much.

The regatta in Cat Island has been so important – not only as a competition that has produced world-class sailors, but as an economic catalyst, and as the kind of tradition that brings us together in fellowship and community.

It’s quite remarkable that this regatta is in its 67th year — we have been an independent nation for fifty years, but we have known our way around boats even longer.

In 1956, 48 boats competed – and they were all work boats from various Cat Island settlements – boats for fishing, or for carrying goods and people.  In fact, these boats were frequently the only way to travel from one settlement to another. Before sailing was a competitive sport, it was a way of life, essential to our families and communities. 

Today, sailing is still intertwined with local economies across our islands – our maritime skills and traditions and our beautiful waters have made Bahamian regattas second to none.

And if as Prime Minister I might not want to name favorites, as MP from Cat Island I confess I feel much less constrained! So congratulations to all of our sailors – those who have passed down to us this vibrant tradition (Olympic competitors among them) – those who are sailing for glory now – and those who are up-and-coming, who will make us proud in the years to come.

It’s hard to beat the pure adrenaline of sailing – and when you’ve finished navigating the dazzling waters, more excitement awaits – because in Cat Island we specialize in good people and good times, with local music and food that always remind me: “There’s no place like home.”

In truth, regattas are a proud tradition across many of our Family Islands, and in recognition of their important role, in our heritage, culture, and economy, this year, our government officially designated Sloop Sailing as our country’s national sport.

The designation as our national sport is not just symbolic – we are determined to expand the reach of the sport, to make it as inclusive as possible. In sailing, it’s all about “knowing the ropes” – and we want many more of our children to learn those ropes.

So it gives me immense joy that youth sailing is now taking off in Cat Island, introduced here and in other communities for the first time.

Our young sailors represent our promise to the future; they are the custodians of our seafaring heritage. As they learn to navigate the waters, they will also learn resilience, teamwork, and respect for nature – all essential qualities for the leaders who will also help our country sail into the future.

To all the sailors from across our beautiful islands who will compete in the A, B, C, and E class races— I wish you a fair wind and smooth seas. May your races be thrilling, your victories sweet, and your fellowship enduring.

And for all those here to cheer on the sailors, let’s share laughter, create memories, and celebrate beautiful Cat Island.

Happy Sailing!