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Feb 28, 2008

Harbour Regatta seeks return to Bliss Day glory

Story PictureFor ten years now La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge has overshadowed the traditional ninth of March harbour regatta, bringing out massive crowds from San Ignacio to Belize City. But one group of sailing enthusiasts has put in hours of practice to ensure that the decades-old regatta will not only stay alive, but attract new energy to the flagging sport.

Roberto Pott, Patrol Leader, Sea Scouts
“We have gone through a bit of a slump with regard to the ninth of March but this is a tradition that will never die and one of the ways that we’re making sure that it doesn’t die, we being the Belize Sea Scouts, is that we’ve been training new recruits a new cadre of young men who have shown an interest, they’ve shown the skill an aptitude to be excellent seamen and within the framework of the Sea Scouts we’ve been teaching them the discipline and many other seamanship skills and attitude that we would want to see in our seamen in the future.”

“Look out for these small boats that the sea scouts will be sailing because these are the ones that will be out in front and so you could root for us because we plan to give the big boys a run for their money. Now Ruta Maya has just taken advantage of a gap that we left but I think what we’re trying to say is that we’re coming back and we want back our ninth of March space.”

“Homage must be paid for the whole reason of ninth of March, the holiday was designated of the benefactor, Baron Bliss, who gave handsome donations to see that we preserve our heritage and this is what we want to do here.”

Marion Ali
“Are you asking that that be the only race that is held on the ninth of March weekend? That the Ruta Maya Committee find another weekend on which to carry out or conduct their race?”

Roberto Pott
“No I think we can co-exist. I think there is enough to go around but I am a harbour regatta fan so although I’ve paddled the Ruta Maya twice, this is where my heart is and this is the one I want to see succeed the most.”

Leo Wilson, Team Member, Belize Sea Scouts
“I started last year. We’ve been doing all kind of things, trips, going places, learning how to use the boat, you know.”

Marion Ali
“How do you race a sail boat?”

Leo Wilson
“Basically it’s with the wind, if you know the navigations, north, south, east, west, the same thing with the sheet, and you have everything you need to use with the wind. The wind is the main part of using a sailboat. The wind is the one that gives you speed to let the sailboat go.”

The race will include eight different categories and is expected to have the participation of BATSUB. Regatta teams usually consist of three sailors per boat and the Sea Scouts plan to enter three boats in the race. Races begin at ten-thirty on March ninth in front of the B.T.L. Park on Newtown Barracks. Organisers of the regatta have also planned a kite contest to take place in the park that day.

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