Valentine’s Day Cup in Middle Caicos – A Local Turks & Caicos Tradition
Ready, set, go! In keeping with the unique and eclectic traditions of these Isles, the residents of the Turks and Caicos are scurrying about and getting ready for the annual model sailboat regatta, called The Valentine’s Day Cup Since the turn of the millennium, boating and fishing enthusiasts, craftsmen and locals alike have been competing in this national holiday. Since it’s inception, 14 years ago, Daniel O. Forbes, proprietor of the Middle Caicos Co-Op, ordered a fantastic fleet of 10 gorgeous, hand-made sailboats from local sloop builders, in an effort to revive what was once a treasured pastime. Back in the day, children learned from their fathers and uncles on the white shores of each of the TCI Islands, how to carve these fantastic toys from gum-elemi trees. Back then, many an hour was spent splashing about in the cool, crisp turquoise waters with these cherished toys.
Today, the building operations have intensified. In order to race a boat, you must display a certain level of craftsmanship, of course. Today, after the trees have been chopped down and dragged home, the wood is skinned, hatcheted, trimmed and carved, until a strong but graceful shape emerges. At this point, the wood is sanded into sleek hulls, perfect for racing through the water. Next, the model boats must be rigged with all the same parts as their bigger counterparts – the mast, stays, jibsail, mainsail, boom, tie down, etc., are crafted to perfection.
Finally, these boats are ready, to bob, sail, and….eventually……race to the finish line!
There are also different divisions within this competition. Different classes of boats, according to size will compete and there is even a women’s division! The boats vary from 24 inches to over 40 inches and each has its day in the sun to prove itself against its competitors. The competition proves to be a lively and enjoyable local pastime year after year.
This year, the event will be held on February 15, 2014, on Bambarra Beach in Middle Caicos, from 11am-4pm. There will be food, music, games, and cash prizes for the winners of the competition. The food stalls are always a special treat, as many different Caribbean-themed snacks can be found, such as conch fritters and rum punch.
Oh, and did we mention that even Turks and Caicos Reservations will be racing a ship as we do every year? So, come on out and support local businesses, local partnerships and the vast, rich and fascinating cultural heritage of our sublime Island paradise with this fun event!
Caribbean Cruisin’ is offering a boat + bus combo to get you to Middle Caicos safely and hassle free! Come and experience the regal regatta of model sailboats, cheer on your favorites, and have fun in the sun in your favorite tropical paradise!
The memories will last you a lifetime…….of that we are certain!
Pictures from THE MOST POPULAR EVENT OF THE YEAR IN MIDDLE CAICOS: the 14th annual Valentine’s Day Cup. Visit Bambarra Beach on Middle Caicos to see the model sail boat races.