More than 1,000 sailors converge in St. Pete for regatta

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The NOOD Regatta kicked off in St. Petersburg Friday.

It takes more than a stiff breeze to win a sailing race. Experienced racers have to keep a keen eye on the currents, the wave tops, other boats, and the speed and direction of the winds.

Blaire McCarthy, 15, of St. Petersburg, skippered a boat in a regatta held in St. Petersburg Friday. Blaire’s up against people who’ve been on the water much longer.

Sailing regatta

“Being a youth sailor, I think having the event here really helps me learn so much. Just really brought in all the opportunities I can have in this event,” she said.

The sailors compete in a specific part of Tampa Bay. Radio announcements told them when to start.

For many skippers, sailboat racing is in their blood. “My dad was racing sailboats before I was born. So it was just a family pastime growing up,” Grant Demas said.

Part of the fun of sailing is sharing the sport with others. ”I think the more people get exposed to it … I think they’re really gonna enjoy it once they get a taste of it,” Dumas said.

This year, 212 boats are competing in the regatta.

“The nice thing about sailing is you can be racing against the tiger woods of the world, you know, Olympic sailors, America’s Cup sailors, that kind of stuff all on the same race course. So it’s a great venue to be able to learn from others that are really good and they kind of spread that knowledge as well,” Rob Britts said.

After three days of racing, there is no cash prize for winning. The overall winner will be invited to race again, this time in the British Virgin Islands.

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