On February 25th 1966 Her majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Prince Phillip visited South Caicos arriving from Grand Turk on board the HMS Britannia arriving at 2:15 pm and departed at 4 pm.
It was the first and most impressive Royal visit, and many of those present thought afterwards that the “SAIL PAST—SALUTE” of the local sloops and the relaxed atmosphere of the Donkey Race, during which the Duke awarded Bill Clare a special prize for his demonstration on his donkey “Dickie” were the highlights of the day.
The people in South Caicos decided that they would try and remember this Royal Event and though of no better way that holding an “Annual Regatta.
At the inaugural meeting of the Regatta Committee (which was self appointed) it was stressed that there was an urgent need for organized rescue services, and under the Commodoreship of Captain Stanley Malcolm, the Turks and Caicos Rescue Squardon was formed. Over the years the Squardon has been particularly helpful in spearheading and helping distressed yachtmens and airmen in times of need. It has been replaced now by the Turks and Caicos Rescue Association, which continues to do the same.
The South Caicos Regatta has changed over the years, and is due to the fact that all of the older fisherman who used their sailing sloops retired from fishing, sold their sloops, which were taken out of the country, and they have now passed on. This year the Committee is trying to bring some of the smaller sloops and with the help of the Hertiage Maritime Association, and the Forbes from Middle Caicos, Marcus and Hadley, Carlon Forbes who continue to participate in sailing races within the islands, this year promises to be a successful Regatta.
First South Caicos Regatta 1967
SC Regatta 1967
The South Caicos Regatta is the oldest national Cultural Events in these islands and has always drawn the largest crowds. We in the Big South will do everything in our power to keep it that way.
We pay special Tribute to some of those who have participated in the Regatta Events from the family islands over the years, they are:
|Grand Turk||Dutchie Williams|
|South Caicos||Hon. Norman Saunders
Mr. Lewis Cox
Mr. Brenett Lewis
Mr. Alden Durham
Mr. Stanley Brooks
Mr. Chrisite Hall and
Mr. Leroy Penn
|Middle Caicos||Brothers Hadley & Marcus Forbes
Mr. Carlon Forbes
and Mr. Felix Johnson
|North Caicos||Mr. Albert Higgs
Mr. Thomas Gardiner
Mr. Cleavil Gibson
|Provo||Mr. James Dean|
We must also of necessity pause to remember those who have made their contributions towards the Regatta over the years, but are now deceased.
Commodores:- Capt. Stanley Malcolm and Capt. Bruce Lightbourne
Vice Commodore: Mr. Lloyd Stubbs
District Commissioner: Mr. Albert Malcolm
Managing Director, The Caicos Company: Mr. Liam Maguire
Mr. Hilton Robinson (aka Zion)
Provident Ltd.: Mr. Fritz Ludington
Capt. Felix Morley, Capt. James (Belglade) Parker, Capt. Thomas Palmer, Capt. David Smith, Capt. T. Stubbs, Capts. Ossie & Robert Gardiner, Capt. Mr. Theodore Higgs and Emmanuel Hall, Capt. George Walkin
They are gone but will never be forgotten. May their soul rest in peace and rise in glory.
Bill Archie Clare
Former Regatta Secretary/ Coordinator Action 10
Her Majesty’s Visit February 1966
February 25 1966 still stands out as one of the most important historical moments for Turks and Caicos Islands. On that day Turks and Caicos Islands experience a one-day tour by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The reason it still stands out as one of the country’s most historic visits is the fact that so many Islanders were involved from the local dignitaries to girl guides and boy scouts and not only on the day, but in the days of preparations that went on beforehand.
The Royal Yatch Britannia and its naval escort arrived just after 8 in the morning after an overnight voyage from the British Virgin Islands. At around 9:30 am Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip were greeted at the salt Company Pier by the Bahamas Governor, Sir, Ralph Grey, the Administrator Mr. J.A. Golding and prominent personalities. Decorated cactus plants, flags and bunting lined the streets of Grand Turk to welcome the royal couple. They then attended an official welcome address at the parade Ground by the Honourable R. E. Basden where the Queen was also introduced to many of the local dignitaries. The Royal couple later went to the American Misile Tracking Base where they were taken around by Major General Vincent g. Huston, the commander of the U.S. Air Force Eastern Test Range. Here they were shown models of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft and informed of Grand Turk’s important role in the Space Role.
Later that day the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed to South Caicos where it was greeted with a flotilla of small boats and sloops. Once again the Royal couple were officially welcomed before visiting the plant of the Caicos Fisheries and viewing an exhibition of local Caicos crafts.
The highlights of the visit to South Caicos that stays in the memories of many and undoubtedly the Royal family was the donkey race. The race, started by Liam McGuire, set off just in front of the Royal Box and then proceeded past the government jetty, past a marker at the Caicos Fisheries and then back to the Royal Box. The nine “jockeys” and their donkeys, wearing colorful caps and costumes, made a memorable sigh as they wound their way along the course. Earl Basden, riding “Willie Boy” took an early lead and held onto it for the rest of the race to take the £10 first prize. The £5 second prize went to Samuel Smith Jr. riding “Mighty Sparrow’ and the £2 third prize went to Gilbert Lightbourne on “Brown Man”. Following the award of the prizes to the “jockeys” the Royal party returned to Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia.
In fact the event in South Caicos was so successful that it is repeated each year at the end of May and is called the South Caicos Regatta in honour of the Royal visit.