Making changes to improve social spirit

Published on April 17th, 2018

The Miami Yacht Club, which has been around for 91 years, hosts the 63rd Annual Miami Key Largo Race on April 21, which provides an all-day glide down the eastern shore of southern Florida.

And after all these years, they are trying something different… and it sounds brilliant.

In the past, many sailors would race the 35 nm course to Key Largo and then turn around and come back to Miami on the same day. But now that there is an optional second day of racing back to Miami on April 22 – the Inaugural Key Largo Miami Race.

Brian Hollenbeck, who is the vice commodore for the Miami Yacht Club, is hoping the event becomes more social, with sailors staying at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo, going to dinner together and meeting with other like-minded individuals before heading back to the water the following morning.

“A lot of people are happy to go down there, spend the night and have an objective coming back,” Hollenbeck said.

As for the Miami Key Largo Regatta, the race will start on Biscayne Bay, just south of the Rickenbacker Causeway, and it is open to all boats 14 feet or longer. There are currently 71 entered, ranging from a Laser 2 dinghy and F18 catamaran up to a Kaufman 47.

While Hurricane Irma last year destroyed or damaged roughly 1800 sail boats in the Miami area, the sailing community remains optimistic.

“We’ve had a 20-percent reduction in the number of racers this year because of Irma,” Hollenbeck said. “It’s sad, but hopefully next year a lot of people will be back with newer boats.”


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