Youth Sailing Foundation (YSF) hosted the South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (SAISA) South Point Regatta #3 on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Sixteen teams from elite scholastic programs across Florida converged on Vero Beach. Because of COVID restrictions imposed by SAISA officials, only 2 crews of two sailors each could represent each school. Naturally the schools brought their number one and two skippers plus their crew resulting in a high level of racing skills across the fleet. A total of ninety-seven of the Florida’s best high school sailors plus thirty-four coaches and support personnel traveled to Vero Beach.
The weather was ‘Chamber of Commerce’ perfect with the Indian River Lagoon sparkling under a bright blue sky. A steady east-by-southeast breeze of 10 to 15 knots provided spectacular racing around a course set by Race Director and YSF Board member Skip Willauer. Boats flew around the buoys reaching maxim hull-speed on screaming reaches. Racing nonstop from 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM crews from each school alternately sailed the same boat coming ashore after two races to exchange crews. Despite sailing on the edge, there was not a single capsize or gear failure all day.
Perfect Start South 17th Street Bridge
Because of COVID the winter/spring SAISA regatta scheduled was reduced fifty percent from eight to four regattas. YSF was chosen as a host because of our spacious shoreside venue, reliable winds on the Lagoon, and welcoming small-town atmosphere. Many of the teams and parents stay overnight in local hotels and enjoy the restaurants and other beachside attractions.
A high level of seamanship and sportsmanship were on display during the highly complex crew exchanges off the beach. With fully rigged boats charging the beach, swinging into the wind to come to an abrupt stop, crews exchanged places on the fly. A calm, almost eerie silence, was testament to the professionalism of the young sailors as they choregraphed these complex maneuvers.
Powerhouse Ransom Everglades School of Coconut Grove finished first with Immaculata La Salle of Miami second and St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale third. The Vero Beach Varsity boat skippered by Denali Herold and crewed Luke Franco finished a respectable tenth of seventeen competing at the highest level of interscholastic sailing in the country. Skipper Sydney Ohs and crew Kate Bounassi and Cate Lovelady rounded out the Vero Beach team that was twelfth overall.
Vero Beach Varsity Sailors
L to R: Denali Herold, Kate Bounassi, Cate Lovelady, Luke Franco and Sydney Ohs
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit devoted to eliminating cultural and financial barriers to sailing. Numerous youth programs are offered throughout the year, many of them free to participants. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.ysfirc.org