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pass the bucks

pass the bucks

The St. Pete NOOD was one of the country’s biggest regattas in 2005, pulling in 218 entries in 16 classes, but poor promotional work and ever-increasing fees combined with the typically horrendous breeze and worse RC work that seemed to plague Tampa Bay for the past five years have taken their toll.  We thought that if there were one NOOD Regatta that could shake the bad luck the series is having, it would be the warm weather winter St. Pete event, but it looks like we were wrong, and the writing is on the wall: As Peter Craig has so gracefully demonstrated with the Miami Grand Prix, an event designed for 200 boats and run by a for-profit company simply doesn’t work at 80.  And the ‘spiral of death’ that dooms fading regattas is in full force, with only two fleets in the double digits and another shitty forecast for this year.

The folks at Sperry seem to have realized this as well, announcing yesterday that they were the new Title Sponsor for the Charleston Race Week juggernaut, which is about to pass the 220 boat mark with 8 weeks to go until the first gun.  Let’s hope Charleston didn’t sign its firstborn away for footwear greenbacks; while sponsorship is essential for great events, the indie ‘flavor’ of CRW is what’s help it become the biggest keelboat event in America, and it’s worthwhile to note that Charleston’s entire growth spurt (from 120 boats to the 200s in five years) happened without the help of a single Title Sponsor. Hmmm…