Local Port Authority Becomes International Championship Gold Sponsor.

Putting on an event of any kind always involves an interesting dance between the event organiser and the venue. Both have the opportunity to gain from an event – whether it be renting a room for a conference or staging a regatta over several days. In recent times, there has been a trend for potential sailing venues to pay significant money or offer attractive incentives to event organisers to bring their events to town, but an event needs to have an established track record or a very large competitor base to be paid to show up.

World championships, especially for classes that have Olympic medals attached, guarantee a large number of competitors and therefore a large number of hotel room nights, restaurant takings and associated spending. Where the local community stands to benefit, it makes sense to back the event.

The Freeport News reports that the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and Group of Companies, recently donated $12,000 to the Grand Bahama Sailing Club, becoming official gold sponsors of the upcoming 29er and 49er World Championships.

It’s the first time the International 49er and 29er Classes will run the World Championships in The Bahamas. The 2010 international sailing championships will be held in Grand Bahama, out of the Viva Wyndam Fortuna Resort, January 2 – 9.

Making the presentation on behalf of the Port Group of Companies was Hannes Babak, Chairman of GBPA.

“The hosting of this event is a landmark achievement not only for the island of Grand Bahama but the entire Bahamas. Once again, our beautiful shores, facilities and people, will be broadcast to the world. Therefore, GBPA is more than happy to assist by providing funding for the hosting of such an event of this magnitude.”

The world-class event will be sailed under the auspices of The Bahamas Sailing Association and hosted by the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. About 150 boats are expected to participate with some 350 sailors.

The sailors, their families, support crews and race officials will be guests of the Viva Wyndam Fortuna Resort during the week of the races.

Accepting the donation was Joe Thompson, Com-modore, Grand Bahama Sailing Club, who expressed gratitude to GBPA for their support.

“We have heard from competitors who are shipping their boats in from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Argentina, to name a few. Some crews are arriving up to a month before the event to train,” Thompson added.

According to Grand Bahama Sailing Club officials, The Bahamas expects to field entrants in the 2010 29er World Championship, including International Sailing Federation Youth World participant, Donico Brown. It is hoped that through sponsorship donations, a number of boats will be able to remain in The Bahamas after the regatta to become part of a strong sailing tradition in the country and to train future Olympic sailing athletes.