SAN PEDRO, AMBERGRIS CAYE, Mon. Sept. 14, 2015–The Belize segment of the 2nd Annual Bart’s Bash International Regatta will take place on Sunday, September 20, in the waters off Caribbean Villas and will start at 9:30 a.m. sharp, with a race brief Saturday 6:00 p.m. at Caribbean Villas. This is a highly entertaining and one-of-a-kind sailing race in which sailors all over the world, and in every kind of sailboat imaginable, take to their home waters on the same day and sail courses that have been designated as comparable by a computer program in the hands of the Bart’s Bash Committee, who also have a computer program to handicap the various classes. Last year, 16,780 skippers of all ages competed. It is a fully legitimate regatta, formally recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, which proclaimed last year’s Bart’s Bash the largest boat race in history.
Bart’s Bash was created to commemorate a beloved champion sailor and philanthropist, Andrew “Bart” Simpson, and to support The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. Bart lost his life at age 37, practicing aboard Sweden’s 72-foot America’s Cup catamaran that cartwheeled in preliminaries on San Francisco Bay on May 8, 2013.
Last year, the 28 Belizean boats entered included charter catamarans and mono-hulls, Hobie and other small catamarans of various sizes, Olympic class Lasers, tiny Optimist dinghies, and a couple of really strange homemade boats dubbed UFOs. Belize Sailing Club is the host and expects even more entries, because of the fun everyone reported last year. And last year it stunned the world that all the young Belizean Optimist skippers – aged 8-13, finished in the top 5% of the 1,179 entrants in their class, and in the top 8% overall. The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) took notice and provided funds that allowed 4 young Belizean sailors to compete in the North American Optimist Dinghy Championship Regatta on the island of Antigua, W.I., in July. They and their cohort have a reputation to defend and improve on this year. The other Belizean sailors do too; last year, all Belizean skippers finished in the top 15%, and 4 of them placed in the top 50. From the shore, spectators can follow the whacky floating melee with ease.