Nov. 13, 2002 For the 21st year, the Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta sets sail on the two days after Thanksgiving. The dates are Nov. 29 and 30.
"Come to the parties. It's so much fun," said Coral Bay Yacht Club member Denise Wright, who is handling the publicity for the event.
The Coral Bay Yacht Club sponsors the event, held in the waters outside Coral Bay Harbor on St. John. All other activities happen at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay.
While the event features classes for serious racers, it attracts more cruisers, including those that live aboard. And Wright said that she expects at least two Cowhorns to participate. Those boats were built years ago in Coral Bay.
In the 2001 regatta, 28 boats raced on the second day, which always draws the most boats. Fifteen raced on the first day. Most were from St. John, but a few skippers sailed over from St. Thomas.
Wright said that as usual, Puerto Rico resident Luis Ojeda will bring his boat, Casi Casi, to St. John so the Coral Bay Yacht Club can use the boat to keep tabs on the starts and finishes.
Last year, Wright and her husband, Gary, skippered their Cal-27, Online Vacations, to victory. She said they will race again this year.
"We just sailed in yesterday with our brand new bottom," she said.
Wright expects good competition from Coral Bay residents Ralph and Nina Fette on Windshift, a Van DeStat 30. That boat came in second to Online Vacations in the PHRF I class in last year's regatta. In the traditional class, she expects Fletcher Pitts' Liberty, an Alden 52, to sail into a top place finish as it does every year.
The regatta kicks off on Nov. 29 with races for crewed gaff-rigged boats and sailors who go solo.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at Skinny Legs, with the skippers' meeting following at 9:30. Registration is $35 for both days.
Crewed traditional, cruising, multi-hull and PHRF racing boats set sail on Nov. 30. The skippers' meeting is at 9 a.m. at Skinny Legs.
Wright said anyone who wants to crew but doesn't have a boat should show up at Skinny Legs a bit before the skippers' meetings. If they give their names to the yacht club members on duty at the registration desk, the members will try to find them a boat. Enthusiasm is the only qualification for most crew positions in this race.
Skinny Legs will host the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30.
Skinny Legs owner Doug Sica said details weren't final, but he expects a band to play rock 'n' roll and rhythm 'n' blues for the party that follows.
Wright said that the souvenir T-shirts feature a big red spinnaker on a modern boat. Liberty's rigging is visible, and in the distance there's another spinnaker and Emmaus Moravian Church. The church is the most visible landmark as sailors make their way into Coral Bay Harbor.
Call 776-6036 or 776-6030 for more information.
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