The new year is off to a cool and breezy start for the Manatee River Pram Fleet. 2020 arrived with lower water temps and heavy air – and while these conditions would keep most from venturing out in a dinghy sailboat, our racing team has been loving it. In spite of their consistent desire to get on the water, we have had a couple onshore practice days due to cold fronts. We enjoyed undertaking a little creative project with the guidance of our Director of Sailing, Lisa Fath. She led the team in carving and shaping cleats out of teak wood. The finished projects were impressive.
While the racing team has enjoyed some heavy air practice days, it was even better to get out and compete at the Gasparilla Regatta in Tampa, FL. With some of our team out of town and others with last minute conflicts, Regina Rettig was our lone competitor. The forecast for the weekend was intimidating – with winds over 15 knots, rain, and dropping temperatures. Yet, Regina did not flinch at wanting to compete. Saturday began with a race postponement, during which Regina made the wise decision to adjust her rigging so as to depower her Opti. This paid off later when they commenced racing in spite of rain and heavy winds. It was an intense afternoon on the water (see photos!) with sideways rain and white caps. These are conditions that would deter most adults, so to say we are proud of Regina for her unflappable desire to keep sailing, is an understatement.
Day 2 of racing brought clear skies and calmer seas, but the wind was still cranking. It was challenging and cold, yet a lot of fun. The course was a windward, leeward, twice around with a down-wind finish, which always keeps things interesting. Each race took about 35 minutes and they completed 9 races over the weekend. By the final race on Sunday, the breeze had finally started to die off and the sailors (and their coaches) were exhausted. It was a good way to end a thrilling weekend on the water.
Meanwhile, our recreational sailing group is still trying to get in one more sail before taking an official “winter” break. While those on our racing team tend to have proper clothing and gear for cold-water sailing, our recreational sailors do not, which prevents us from sailing year-round. We will be gearing up for our spring recreational program to begin on March 8. If you have completed our learn to sail summer camp and are interested in either recreational sailing or our racing program, please email us at [email protected].