Lone Palm Regatta 2018

Light winds greet Lone Palm Regatta racers

by Kass Fincher

The fourth annual Lone Palm Regatta, hosted by the Southport Yacht Club on June 9, began under less than favorable sailing conditions. Winds were less than two knots, and many boats passed the starting line only to float backwards and have to pass it once again. “We had boats stacked up on the starting line who couldn’t start because there was no wind,” said commodore Sam Johnston, “but once we got out we had a nice comfortable 12 knots of wind.”

Named for the lone palm on Battery Island, the race was 12 miles long and took just over two hours for most. Mark Thompson, captain of Us Equals Them from Wilmington, talked about the sailing challenges our area presents. “I grew up sailing on the Great Lakes,” he said, “but here you have the tides, the current, all the boat traffic. It’s different, but it makes it fun.”

The race ended with an unusual weather event – a waterspout that threatened to cross the last couple of boats as the light winds suddenly jumped up to 22 knots. Sandy Gibson, on Syringa, described the event. “Mike was worried about his sails getting ripped apart,” she said. “We saw it coming, about 20 yards out, so we slowed down, and it went right in front of the bow. It was so cool!”

Spectators at American Fish Company watched the whole thing from the safety of the docks. It was a memorable day for all.

Spinnaker class winners:

1st place Bloody Mary, captain Scott Kaseman

2nd place Nugget, captain Bob Cowan

3rd place Bernadette, captain Jamie Deale

Non-spinnaker class winners:

1st place Us Equals Them, captain Mark Thompson

2nd place Short Pants, captain Ricky Evans

3rd place Rover, captain Guy Staat

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