November 22, 2021
One of the central features of the Bahamas Pavillion in Dubai is a real Abaco dinghy, hand built in 2000, by iconic Winer Malone of Hopetown, Abaco, (1929-2018). Winer Malone crafted over 200 Abaco dinghies in his lifetime. Ranging from 10–14 feet, his boats were hewn from memory without the use of power tools, jigs, or templates, and from trees he cut himself on the Abacos. Malone is a legend among Bahamian boat builders and with shipwrights all over the world. This is one of the last of the Winer boats, most of these boats are coveted for their beauty. It is rare that one becomes available in good condition.
The dinghy was owned by Arjuna ‘AJ’ Watson, a multi-media artist, who created a custom sail for the boat, together with students of Lyford Cay International School (LCIS). The sail is made up of individual patches of abstract art, inspired by the blues in artist Brent Malone’s work and created by LCIS students. The individual patches were then assembled to create one cohesive art piece. The school named the boat ‘Elsie’, after the LCIS mascot - a friendly dragon named Elsie, which is rumoured to live in Lyford Cay Harbour!
‘Elsie’s’ history wasn’t over. The boat was purchased at an LCIS auction by Sarkis Izmirlian, then developer of Bahamas Mar. It was placed proudly at centre of the art pieces in the Bahamas Mar Convention Centre, where it remained for several years.
John Cox, Artistic Director at Baha Mar, worked with the Bahamas Pavillion to facilitate the loan of the boat for the duration of Expo2020 Dubai - October 2021-March 2022. The Bahamas Pavilion is very grateful to Mr. Cox and Baha Mar for allowing us to feature this important part of our history.