Kingston Brown

He was the proud product of parents from two seafaring islands in The Bahamas. His mother hailed from Behring Point, Andros, and his father from Exuma.

He had been a construction worker for more than 40 years before he built his first seacraft, an 18-foot sailboat named the “Olive Leona”, in
1946, barely a year after World War ll ended.

Since that time – when he has retired from active boat building – his entire life has been caught up in the design and construction of vessels
which could cut through the watrs smoothly and aid the fishermen in capturing crawfish and conch and other delights of the

ocean, but when, put to the test, could mount serious competition in a race.

Kingston Brown was one of those inveterate craftsmen whose dedication to the craft and dexterity in molding his products have contributed to the excitement and keen competition of regattas in The Bahamas.

He left the general construction business in 1970, and moved immediately into full-scale boatbuilding in Andros, after having worked in both Nassau and Freeport.

Whilst he laid esteemed claimed to the construction of such memorable racing winners as the “Southern Cross”, which he built for George Knowles, and the “Lucayan Lady”, crafted for E.G.P. St. George and Albert Miller, his memoirs place even greater store in the many other boats which came out of his yard as proud champions of the sea.

As a boy around Mangrove Cay in Andros, Kingston Brown was always fascinated with carpentry, and had cultivated an outstanding expertise in that trade.

He would wander around some of the boat yards where older fellows like Herbert Bain, Jack Longley, and his uncle Jack Mackey from Behring Point were building boats.

He was content simply to stand around holding a piece of wood, or in some other small way assisting in the execution of a “miracle” he would one day see skipping across_the waves of the Andros shores.

He knew that somehow, one day, he would be doing the crafting and some other starry-eyed boy would be holding the piece of wood.

During his prolific career, Kingston Brown built a variety of other boats for people all over The Bahamas who were familiar with his championship products and who were anxious to engage his services.

Some of those boats were the 22-foot Elizabeth, Cobra No. 1, Wild Child, Snake, The Whip, and the C-Class Sputnik, which was a winner at Mangrove Cay.

It was the “Southern Cross”, however, that made regatta history and added another feather to Kingston Brown’s championship cap. In that regard, Brown was the first carpenter to build a boat which went to the George Town Regatta and on her first trip won three of four big races, losing the fourth only by default.

Kingston Brown has few regrets about his rich life as a boat builder, except what he sees as a deterioration of the craft through disuse.

Today there is practically no boat building activity in Andros, he bemoans, and except for the efforts of the Rupert Know|es’ sons in Mangrove Bush, Long Island, young Bahamians are simply not interested in pursuing an art which has been a definitive Bahamian tradition for more than a century.

Mr. Brown himself has seven sons, one of whom is a doctor practicing in Freeport, and only one other — Arthur- who has shown an interest in the old man’s legacy. Arthur early in 1992 was building a B-class boat in Nassau.

He was more anxious to take on an apprentice and to pass on his knowledge and his skills to another generation, before the art dies complete.

Each April, he made the trek to George Town to watch the sails bobbing and weaving in the breeze over Elizabeth Harbour, and inevitably in  the midst of the boat chatter along the shore, he heard names like “Lucayan Lady” or “Southern Cross”, and a surge of pride wells up inside him.

He has earned that sensation of pride over many years of sculpting winning vessels which have made him an unforgettable and irreplaceable part of regatta tradition in The Bahamas.


A Poem

The Exumas
Sail her down, sail her down,
Sail her down to George Town.
Highborne Cay the first: we see,
Yellow Bank is by the lee.
Harvey Cay is in the moon,
Farmers Gay is coming soon.
Now we come to Galliot,

Out in the ocean we must go,
Children’s Bay is passing fast,
Stocking Island came at last.
Nassau gal is all behind,
George Town gal is on my mind.
A wiggle and a giggle and a jamboree,
Great Exuma is the place for me!
Exuma Islands Poem

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