Rev Alphaeus Kelly

Rev Alphaeus Kelly, or Ali as he was known, was born to the sea. He grew up in Staniel Cay, Exuma and in those days people depended on their boats for foot and transportation. He would have been introduced to the sport of sailing down by the creek with the other boats racing gumelemi models.

In 1956 Rev Kelly build is first sail boat, a 0′ dingy the “Verna K”, as a collaborative effort with the young Rolly Gray and Tim and Ruben Rolle. Later he build the 12′ “Merlene,” and in the 60’s he build the famous Class C sloop, the “Spray Hound”. At the very first regatta 1954 Alphaeus Kelly and Rolly gray sailed the Spray Hound together.

Although Rev Kelly was not always first in regattas he was very often up in the first four. It was apparent that while he was glad to win it was not the only reason he competed. He loved the sport and its people. He was a mild and gentle man and was a wonderful role model for everyone involved in sloop racing in The Bahamas today.

All who love the sport of sloop racing have lost a dear friend. Ali Kelly’s association with the Exuma Regatta goes back 43 years to the first regatta. Ali was a fine designer, building and sailor of traditional Bahamian dinghies and over all these years kept alive this precious cultural heritage.

Those of use who served on the Race Committee could always count on this wise coundel in the moments of need and we treasured his warm friendshio over these many years.

The famous dingy “Spray Hound” was one of Al’s creations and her winning ways were a tribue to his skill as a builder and his devotion to displaying the unique beauty of Bahamain sailing craft.

We all wish you smooth sailing with a fair wind, Ali, and rest assured the generations that follow will, thanks to you, experience the pride and respect that comes with upholding a great tradition.


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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