Saturday, November 14 dawned a beautiful “Chamber of Commerce” day with a bright blue sky and gentle northwest breeze (Force 3 on the Beaufort Scale) making perfect sailing conditions for Youth Sailing Foundation’s Veterans Day (YSF) Regatta. Sailors began streaming into YSF’s facility at the Vero Beach Waste Water Treatment Plant shortly after 8 AM as coaches and parents arrived towing sailboats and coach/safety boats. By the noon start of racing the largest fleet ever assembled on the Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach approached starting lines on two courses marked by large inflatable buoys to the east of Intercoastal Waterway (ICW).
Forty-six 8-foot Opti prams with elementary school sailors, two 12-foot Feva training dinghies with a middle school crews, and twenty-two 14-foot 420 racing dinghies skippered and crewed by high school sailors made a colorful spectacle on the sparkling waters of Lagoon. Ninety-four sailors from as far away as Key Largo and Orlando competed for three hours. The Opti sailors sailed four races. The 420’s, displaying superb seamanship, got in seven races. A fleet of fifteen safety and coach boats were on hand encouraging and monitoring the young sailors. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Department provided uniformed patrol craft in the ICW to ensure the safety and security of the racing venue.
On shore a large crowd of parents, grandparents and siblings (the carpark count was 150) enjoyed watching, socializing and playing along the 400 feet of elevated waterfront. YSF’s sailors rewarded their parents support with multiple podium appearances. In the Opti Silver fleet of 34 boats YSF sailors Skyler Dussan and Ashton Evers took 1st and 2nd place respectively. In the highly competitive Opti Gold fleet of 12 boats, Alex Delamerter brought home a 3rd place finish. Competing in a 22-boat fleet of 420’s, Skipper Nick Crull and Crew Edee Steinkamp brought home an impressive 1st.
The Veterans Day Regatta was the final regatta of the 2021 East Coast Series. Mary Morgan, YSF’s Sailing Director, announced the winners of the year-long competition. YSF volunteer and Retired US Army Colonel Bruce Metcalf handed out the awards. In the Opti Silver class Aston Evers took 2nd place with Bobby Myhre bringing home the 3rd place trophy. In Opti Gold, Alex Delamarter placed 3rd. YSF skipper Nick Crull and crew Edee Steinkamp had a tremendous year in the highly competitive 420 class bringing home the 1st place trophy with Denali Harold and Luke Franco right on their stern in 2nd place.
The last award was made just as the sun dipped below the western horizon at 1726 (5:26 PM). One young sailor from from the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Melbourne, clutching his prized 1st place plaque for Opti Gold, was heard excitedly telling his parents: “Look Mom and Dad, I can hang this in my bedroom, I’ll keep it forever.”
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.