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Sail to Prevail Regatta

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Nancy Graver in St. Petersburg Florida 2011

When the annual Midwinter regatta held at St Petersburg, FL February 24th, was cancelled by the St Petersburg Yacht Club for insufficient participation, Gene Hinkel, Betsy Alison and Paul Callahan put their heads together and got Sail to Prevail to sponsor a fabulous regatta for 2.4mRs and Sonars.  We had a fleet of  6 2.4mRs and 9 Sonars.
Sandy Hayes, Dennis Peck and Danny Evans led the 2.4mRs.  Rick Doerr, Paul Callahan and Bert Foster were one, two and three in the Sonars.  Canadian 2.4mR sailors, Bruce Millar and Paul Tingley  decided to sail on the dark sideWink and put together a Canadian Sonar team.  They finished in fourth place.

Friday, at the start, the wind was light and variable but built to 12-14.  The 2.4mRs got in three races before being sent to shore. Saturday was a lighter air day and we got five races…which would have been six if we hadn’t acted like lemmings and lost track of the number of legs we were doing.  Race committee quickly abandoned the race and set us off again.  Sunday, the 2.4mRs started first, got as far as the windward mark and lost all semblance of wind.  Determining that the wind was probably gone for the day, racing was cancelled and we returned to the Sailing Center.  Of course, that is the race which saw me 2nd to the windward mark.
What made the regatta such a top notch event was the fact that it was put together in a short time frame, with a quality race committee led by Shawn Macking and coaches who acted as safety boats and were available to help everyone. It is my understanding that the budget was minimal.  The emphasis was on great racing, Sonars got 10 races in 2 days and the 2.4mRs got 8 races.  This is the type of racing we should aspire to stress.  I don’t know about the Sonars, but the 2.4mRs had no protests and simply did their turns.  We were out there honing our skills and having a great time.  The Sonars even got in 2 days of clinic time on Wednesday and Thursday!
Sail to Prevail – the National Disabled Sailing Program really stepped up when we needed a sponsor.  They enabled a significant group of sailors to get quality time on the water.  Thanks to them, Atlantis “Weathergear”, Gene Hinkel and Betsy Alison!  Pictures from the regatta are on Sail to Prevail’s Facebook page.