This is the best sailing spot that you never heard of. So good and so secret that the locals and the A-Class Catamaran fleet who use it for winter training prefer that we simply refer to it as ‘Location 51’.
The Viper 640 fleet have just finished a week of incredible sailing for the Viper North American Championships at Location 51. It was one of those once-in-a decade fun regattas.
We are allowed to tell you that it is a large bay in the panhandle of Florida with flat water, a fantastic sea breeze, one of the most hospitable casual yacht clubs you will ever come across, white sand beaches…and home of the 33rd Fighter Wing, the Nomads. To quote one top US Olympian “Why have I never sailed here before?”
Plenty of cool video by your very own Rev Pete Crawford, including a great interview of a team of 15 year old Viper sailors from the Gulfport YC and a hysterical interview of one of the four Aussie teams.
Check out the Facebook page for more great images like the one above from Petey, as well as live reporting and why nobody knew who won the regatta until 20 minutes after we got ashore. There is a detailed day by day account of the racing on the forum thread.
This was the largest North American Championship in the Viper Class history! The talent was deep. The Sun was out. The Breeze was on. Location 51 Yacht Club had the barbecue fired up when we got ashore. The bar served Bushwackers and beer. The club is a sandy peninsula with 270 degrees of stunning views. What was not to like? The Australians were here. The Brits were here. The Californians were here. The Canadians were here in force. The Midwest and Great Lakes teams were here. The Yankees were here. Naptown was here. The Texans and Arizona were here. And there were 25 boats from the Gulf Yachting Association. Words cannot recreate the cool and festive atmosphere of this regatta, you really have to check out Pete’s videos.
The racing was intensely tactical with 3 days of strong breeze on flat to light chop and one day in the middle of the regatta where the PRO got off one race in 4-6 knots. By the last day four teams were in contention. It all came down to the very last race. When the dust finally settled the top 4 teams after 11 races were separated by 7 points. I have only one word for those four teams and that is Respect! Full results here.
Nobody quite knew who had eked out the final victory until we all got ashore. You can read the forum or listen to Petey’s live commentary on facebook to find out why, but in the end Marcus and Andrew Eagan won followed by Brad Boston , Tom Loutrel, and Zeke Horowitz.
This is one of the all time great “Flat water – Breeze on” places to race sailboats. If you haven’t been there, you got to put it on your bucket list… oh wait, find a local to give you directions to Location 51.
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