This chaotic, drink-fuelled spectacle takes place the first Sunday after Cup Match at Mangrove Bay in Sandys Parish. The object of this boat ‘race’ is to lose in the most astonishing fashion. In fact the organisers, the Society of Non-Mariners, prefer to refer to it as a non-race.
The starting line up sees a ragtag mob of inebriated non-mariners massed onboard a clutter of unseaworthy vessels. Each shabby construction typically has a theme that reflects some local political scandal that tourists will be blissfully unaware of. Previous entries have included The Cuba or Bus (a reference to the government’s decision to donate old buses to Cuba) and School’s Out (a sarcastic poke at a much delayed and controversial school construction project).
Absolutely no preparation is required to participate in the ‘race’. Several years ago some visitors from Maryland who chanced upon it, rushed to the local shop and after acquiring a paddling pool and some shovels, ‘constructed’ the Kitner Boy Memorial Float (in appreciation of the child eaten by the shark in Jaws).
The event started over 3 decades ago and has a rich historical legacy. A drunken bunch of men discussing the possibility of sailing baby buggies attempted to bring their blurred vision into reality in Hamilton Harbour. Thus the Society of Non-Mariners was born. The ‘race’ grew in popularity and became an annual event in Hamilton Harbour. After an abandoned British Royal Navy entry almost collided with an incoming cruise ship, the ‘organisers’ were forced to find an alternative venue. Since then, the Non-Mariners race has been hosted by Sandys Boat Club in the quieter surroundings of Mangrove Bay.
After the event the ‘competitors’ and spectators usually retire to the Somerset Country Squire to celebrate their loss. There is no entry fee but donations, which go to a local charity, are accepted.