A Revival at Meads Bay Well On Its Way: THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, BOAT RACE
There has been widespread agreement that this year’s August Thursday boat race at Meads Bay was the largest such event there in recent years. Many persons have said that the national sport there is getting back to the high level and popularity it was in former years. Others not only say that the revival of boatracing is now well on its way at Meads Bay but, in fact, that the revival has been accomplished.
Yanchie Richardson, a boatracing enthusiast and organiser, commented: “Meads Bay used to be the place for a great August Thursday boat race many years ago and it is evident that the big event is now back. Look at the booths and the expanse of the area. There are no coco-plums like before. But I must give Cardigan Connor credit – not only because he is a senator, but for all the work he did five years ago to get this West Fest and boatracing together. When I saw what he was doing, I joined in to help him. That’s why I decided to hold the Solaire Cup Boat Race here, and I am pleased to see what a big boat race we have here today.”
There were two races on August Thursday at Meads Bay, the first being for B class boats; and the second, and main, one was the A class race in which there were fourteen competing boats – all in a stiff competition. The four leading boats, in order of their placing, were: Real Deal, first; Viking second; De Tree, third; and Satellite, fourth.
Mr. Cardigan Connor was also happy with the large turnout at the August Thursday race: “I think many people made sure it happened and so, collectively, it is great to see the large crowd here today,” he remarked. “So many people throughout the island have been looking forward to come to Meads Bay on a public holiday, on August Thursday, which was set aside years ago for boatracing.
“I am very pleased about that. It is an idea we came up with about four years ago and we put every effort into it. Of course it is hard work but the harder the work, the greater the prize and I think we got a great prize today. I thank all the people who turned up; all the vendors; all the captains and crews of the boats and everybody else who helped to make this event possible. It is not just about the West End community, the West Fest Committee or I as the Representative of West End. It is about all of us and I am really pleased that we have achieved this today. I think we are well on our way to reviving the August Thursday boat race at Meads Bay.”
He was grateful to MAICO, in particular, for sponsoring the race.
The Anguilla Tourist Board, the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association and the Anguilla National Culinary Team, have been intimately involved in, and supportive of, the boat race.
Newly-appointed Chairperson of the Tourist Board, Mrs. Donna Banks, had this to say: “August Thursday has traditionally seen the biggest boat race in Anguilla. It lost its momentum, however, and we thought it was important to revive that tradition – so we have come out in full support of the August Thursday boat race this year to begin to revive the event on Meads Bay. Persons have commented that this year the boat race has definitely been much bigger than in the past years. This takes into account the increased space, the many booths and the many people in attendance. We also have entertainment by Boss & the Horsepower Band; Crossfire and the DJ. We came out to make sure that the event is one that people would want to come out to – not just for the boat race but also the entertainment that would hold their attention. We are hoping that next year would even be bigger and better with greater promotions and more exciting activities. Boatracing is something we are promoting as part of the Anguilla Summer Festivities. We have made a substantial contribution to the event and I know that the West Fest Committee is pleased with our support.”
Director of Tourism, Mrs. Candis Niles, commented: “I think it is very important for the Anguilla Tourist Board to show its support for the revival of the August Thursday boat race at Meads Bay. It is a key part of our cultural heritage and, as a Tourist Board, we definitely want to be part of making sure that our traditions live on. We are therefore very happy to be here, and it is our intention to continue to provide our support for many years to come.”