Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2010
PENSACOLA, Fla., June 29, 2010 -- The oil in the Gulf of Mexico won't spoil sailing on Pensacola Bay this Independence Day weekend. The SUBWAY(R) SailFest South Regatta will be sailed as planned on July 2-4 at Pensacola
Yacht Club in Pensacola, Florida.
The three-day event for young sailors 8 to 21 years old includes the US Sailing Junior Olympic Sailing Festival (JOSF) and the US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) Gulf Coast Championship. The young sailors will compete in
one-design sailboats including Optimist Dinghys (Optis), Lasers, Bites, Club 420s and Flying Scots. The Opti USODA Gulf Coast Championship is the second USODA team qualifier event. The top 25% of the sailors will be able to go to the other team qualifier events for a chance to be on the US International Team for the USODA. Event details are at http://www.pensacolayachtclub.org
"We have been carefully watching the oil problem," said event chairman Bruce Partington. "Looking at possible conditions through the weekend, we think it will be safe to run our Gulf Coast Opti Championship and The US Sailing Junior Olympic Sailing Festival on Pensacola Bay."
"Our decision to hold the event," Partington added, "even with reduced entry numbers, demonstrates the resiliency and fortitude of the Pensacola community. We want to thank the local Subway restaurants for their sponsorship and support of our decision to sail as planned."
Partington emphasized, "We want to encourage young sailors from the Gulf Yachting Association clubs and all over the South to come to Pensacola and race with us. If parents haven't pre-registered for their children, we have waived the usual late entry fee. We know that our entry numbers will not be nearly what we planned."
On Friday, July 2nd, the Independence holiday action kicks off with final registration and junior clinics. Clinics on Friday feature four excellent coaches. Racing on Pensacola Bay begins on Saturday, July 3rd at 12:00 and continues through the afternoon. Sunday, July 4th racing starts at 10:00. There will be separate racing areas for the various classes.
Pensacola Yacht Club Commodore Sam Foreman added his insight, "We know that we will not cancel this event until the very last minute and that decision is going to be made based on the safety of the sailors and the race committee. Unfortunately, this decision process will have to occur for every race on our bay for the rest of this year and beyond."
"Due to wind and currents," Foreman concluded, "every day is a new day when it comes to this oil spill. We should always try to put on our regattas until we simply can't for health and safety reasons. The uncertainty of it is hard for some to deal with, but the alternative would be to just cancel all of our on-the-water activities. Even if BP caps that well tomorrow, we will be having this oil situation for many years to come."