The Dunedin Cup Regatta begins with a skippers meeting and party on Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m., at the Dunedin Boat Club, in the Dunedin Marina, followed by the main event on Saturday, Sept. 29.
DUNEDIN – The community is invited to have a great time while helping make it possible for the next generation to learn the fundamentals of sailing racing.
The 28th annual Dunedin Cup Regatta and the sixth annual Black Tie Gala and Charity Auction are coming up in September, and there is still time to register for both.
The Black Tie Gala is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m., at the Dunedin Golf Club, 1050 Palm Blvd. The Dunedin Cup Regatta begins with a skippers meeting and party on Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m., at the Dunedin Boat Club, in the Dunedin Marina, followed by the main event on Saturday, Sept. 29. The proceeds raised from all the events will benefit the Dunedin Youth Sailing Association.
“Dunedin Youth Sailing started for kids ages 8 to 16,” said Happy Jordan, chairwoman of the Dunedin Cup Regatta Committee. “It’s during the school year, and they need to kind of know how to sail, at least the basics, and then we have a coach who teaches them racing and strategy. They can start out in Oppie and move up to Opti and Sunfish. Some of the money from the regatta this year will be used to get bigger boats that they can move into once they grow out of the small ones. Lasers and 420s.”
The group meets on Sunday afternoons during the school year for classes, Jordan said. It is a mixture of class work and “fun work,” she said.
“They learn the technical stuff, they learn how to race, and the finer points of sailing,” Jordan said. “We have them race over to one of the islands in the bay.”
On rainy days, the kids stay indoors and learn practical knowledge and skills such as flag identification or how to tie various knots.
The youth organization is a certified nonprofit group. Last year, these events raised $17,000 for the organization’s scholarships, and this year the goal is to hit $20,000, Jordan said. After buying the new boats, the rest of the money will be used for scholarships so children from less wealthy families can also enjoy the program.
Cost for the gala is $75 per person, which includes dinner, dancing, and a silent auction, including art, vacations, jewelry, and other items. New this year is also a live auction, Jordan said.
Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, Paralympic gold medal winner, will be the keynote speaker. McKinnon-Tucker is from Marblehead, Mass., and was the first woman to represent the USA in sailing at the Paralympic Games, winning a gold medal in Beijing. Before that, she took first place in the 2006 and 2007 Paralympic Trials in SKUD 18s, took gold at the 2008 Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta in Miami, and was fifth place in the 2009 IFDS Worlds in Athens.
The kids with Dunedin Youth Sailing are invited so they can hear McKinnon talk, Jordan said.
Anyone can enter the regatta, from children to adults.
“We have fleets for the kids in the Opti class, we’ve got catamarans, we’ve got Portsmouth class, and they’ll be sailing in the bay, and then the big boats will be sailing in the Gulf,” Jordan said. “We have women’s groups sailing Optis and Sunfish. We have the 420 high school teams coming up from the Clearwater Sailing Center as well as other clubs.”
There will be a skippers’ meeting and party on Friday, Sept. 28 so captains and crew can pick up race registrations and limited edition regatta T-shirts. Additionally, there will be raffles of nautical items as well as beer and pizza. The Dunedin High Pipe Band will entertain the group.
Jordan encourages everyone to come out to at least one of the events, whether it’s the gala or the regatta itself. Not only is it a good time, she said, it’s also for a good cause.
“(Sailing is) something (the kids) can do by themselves for the rest of their life,” Jordan said. “They learn teamwork, they learn how to handle something on their own. A piece of equipment on their own. It’s something they can do the rest of their life and they don’t need to rely on anyone else. They just have to find a boat.”