A Windy Race Week 2016

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Boats racing on the bay-front. photo: 2016

The wind was howling last weekend, making for an exciting Race Week. On Sunday, crowds looked on as the junior boats sailed on the bay-front. The tiny skiffs – the Optis- were solo piloted by junior sailors, some as young as seven years old. The bigger skiffs – the 420’s- had youth up to age 18 years old at the helm.

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Jay Miller and Elise Sloan cheer on the junior sailors sailing on the bay-front. photo: 2016

These kids are learning sailing basics,” explained Elise Sloan, a member of the St Augustine Yacht Club. “In this wind, several of the boats have gone over but these kids have learned how to get the boat back up.”

Race Week started with an “Ahoy Matie,” music and food in the big tent on the bay-front. With five days of inshore and offshore sailing, the weather played a big part of this event. Safety is always first and Saturday’s events were canceled as the winds gusted to 45MPH. Although the winds were howling during the weekend, Thursday and Friday had perfect weather for sailing. The sails were full and the boats were cruising.

Sponsored by the First Coast Sailing Association, this is the second year of this event. The funds raised during St. Augustine Race Week are used to send underprivileged children to local sailing camps every summer as part of the St Augustine Yacht Clubs- Youth Sailing Scholarship Fund. Last year the event raised close to $5000 and 14 junior sailors were sent to sail camp.

These kids were so excited to get out and race,” shared Sloan. “We had to cancel yesterday and the kids were heartbroken.”

This is quite a team,” said Jay Miller from Vilano Beach. “It has been a fun week. The kids are doing a great job and really hanging on!”