Hatteras Sailing hosts first annual one design regatta
Published 8:37 am Thursday, October 14, 2021
Twenty sailing teams from three different yacht clubs competed in the First Annual Cape Hatteras Lighthouse One Design Regatta hosted by Hatteras Sailing recently.
“Weather for sailing was astounding!” stated a press release from Hatteras Sailing. “Visitors and local Hatteras sailors raved about having a great time at this first time one design sailing event for Hatteras Island.”
During the event on Saturday morning, Morgan Johnson, a mother of two young sailors from Hampton Yacht Club posted, “What a great Opti day!!! Hatteras Sailing Organization rolled out the red carpet (with a) Morning surf session followed by great racing followed by a band and pit cooked BBQ! Let Monday never come, we are staying!!”
Typically, a regatta is not only sailing, but also includes parties, meals and entertainment, states Hatteras Sailing: “Regattas are fun travel events for not just the sailors but also for their families and friends. Over the last 2 years, Hatteras sailors have been traveling to regattas in the Chesapeake Bay, learning the ropes, and networking with other competitors. The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association hosts the closest regattas and is home to some of the best junior sailors in the World.”
Jay Phillips, Hatteras Sailing chairman and head coach, said, “We were honored that acquaintances our team made when we traveled to the Hampton Yacht Club’s Junior Olympic Festival came to Hatteras and joined in the fun here. It just makes sense. Hatteras itself is a fantastic draw for Chesapeake sailors, especially with our well known winds.”
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Regatta was organized into a three-day format with a variety of activities that reflected the local beauty and appeal of Hatteras Island. Organizers created a schedule that mixed in favorite beach activities, including a beach bonfire party, morning beach yoga led by local yogi Mary Syrrist and a surf session sponsored by Endless Summer Surf Camp OBX.
“Surfing and sailing – it’s all about seamanship. Learning to sail will help make better surfers, and I bet learning to surf will make better sailors. It all works together. We want to be involved in just helping the local kids learn better seamanship,” said Morgan O’Connell, founder of Endless Summer Surf OBX.
Hatteras Sailing debuted its 420 One Design Fleet at the regatta. Last Saturday’s racing began with the 420 class in the morning. After a short lunch break, sponsored by Amy Hakola of Wild Flour Kitchens, the Opti Fleet raced four events in the afternoon. Sunday, the classes flipped places so the visiting Opti teams could finish up racing before traveling back home to Virginia.
The optimist class is a single-handed boat designed for sailors from 5 to 15 years old and up to 120 lbs. There were 16 optimists racing, and Avon local Connor Hakola took the second place trophy while Finley Webster from Hampton Yacht Club took first place. Deltaville, Va. sailor Henry Latell finished third.
“The Hampton and Deltaville sailors have an advantage being from much older and more established organizations with full time salaried junior coaches, but some of our local sailors are holding their own and moving up in the ranks,” stated the release.
On Sunday, the wind picked up and the Hatteras sailors showed a home court advantage, as they often practice in higher winds, but the Chesapeake summers are known for light wind sailing conditions. Hatteras Sailing is its second year, while Fishing Bay Yacht Club is an 85 year old organization. Hampton Yacht Club is even older, located on the waterfront in downtown Hampton, Va.
The racecourse was packed tightly with 17 little boats all striving to sail fastest.
Immediately following the racing, an outdoor barbecue party began on the lawn at the new Hatteras Sailing Center on Buxton Harbor. Chip Hammock spent the entire day for 10 hours smoking the barbecue pork to perfection thanks to the use of Tater Gaskins of Hatteras Island Air who was kind enough to loan the club his large wood cooker. Kinnakeet favorite, Jim Hagy, blessed the evening with great live music. “It is much more affordable for our local sailors to bring the competition to us, and it also creates great potential for organization fundraising, not to mention simply creating our own version of Hatteras Island Sailing fun,” comments Nathan Snead, local coach and Vice Chair of the Organization.
Thanks to local sponsors, Hatteras Sailing acquired five 420 sailboats this summer and started developing teams for these “exciting and challenging” one design boats. Last year, Hatteras Sailing only featured the Optimist for training, which limited opportunities to only the youngest sailors. Now with the 420, older teens and adults can join in the fun. The 420 is the standard college and high school international sailing class and there are opportunities for experienced local 420 sailors to participate at the varsity collegiate level as they consider their future college options.
Primary sponsors for this event include Wild Flour Kitchens, Endless Summer Surf OBX, Kill Devil Rum, OBX Spices, Avon Cedar, Phillips Boatworks, MSP Media, Pamlico Sailing, Geoff Grisham, Chip and Vida Hammock, Food Lion and Third Stone Graphics.
“Feedback from visiting competitors has been incredibly enthusiastic,” said Phillips. “People love coming to Hatteras for vacation, and now with a fully operating junior sailing program, visitors can look forward to sail training and competitive events at their favorite vacation spot!”
Over the coming winter months, the board is putting together opportunities for the junior sailors to go out with local commercial fishermen on Hatteras Island. “Preserving local maritime heritage and commercial fishing is an increasing challenge with regulatory restrictions. Hatteras Sailing wants to inspire the youth of Hatteras to carry on these generational traditions and fishing licenses,” said Phillips.
Started in 2019, Hatteras Sailing is a non-profit community organization with the mission to nurture sailing opportunities and maritime heritage opportunities for local Hatteras Island youth “via long term consistent programming and sailing opportunities.” Each eight-week seasonal session has averaged participation from 25 local youth partitioned into classes of different skill levels starting at the age of 7 through 18 years of age. For more information, visit hatterassailing.org.