Brightly colored spinnakers will soon dot Little Traverse Bay and crews will come together for some of the best sailboat racing in the country. A longtime Harbor Springs summer tradition, the Little Traverse Yacht Club (LTYC) will host the 53rd annual Regatta event on July 26-28 in Harbor Springs.
Race events kick off prior to Regatta on Thursday, July 25, with the Great Lakes 70s racing and One Design Racing on Friday, July 26. Regatta races will take place on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28, starting at 11 a.m.
On July 26, Irish Boat Shop will open their doors at 8 a.m. for the 2013 Ugotta Regatta t-shirt sale, something that always is a big hit with sailors and non-sailors alike. A party will take place on Friday evening at 5 p.m. for sailors and Little Traverse Yacht Club volunteers, and parties will be held on Saturday and Sunday following the race for competitors and their families, as well (by invitation). On Saturday and Sunday, from 7:30-10:30 a.m., the Little Traverse Sailors will host their annual pancake breakfast at Little Traverse Yacht Club, which is open to the public.
According to LTYC Commodore Kathryn Breighner, there are 65 boats registered for the event so far, with more expected to sign up. It is a fun, busy week for everyone involved, she said.
"This is a very big week for the flag officers and volunteers," Breighner said. "It's a fun week and one we remember all year long as we start planning immediately for next year."
Planning for the event is something that takes considerable time and attention, Breighner said. Approximately 40 volunteers are on the water every year to insure that the event goes smoothly.
"Planning takes place for many months," Breighner explained. "Corky Weber, the LTYC vice commodore, is the Regatta chairperson this year. He has to line up power boats and volunteers to serve on the race committee on the water all four days, arrange for the race officials to run the race and make sure we have enough equipment; marks for the water, GPS radios, compasses, etc. for the on-the-water volunteers."
Breighner noted that sailboat racing numbers are down across the country because of the downturned economy, however, the number of boats in the Regatta has remained fairly constant.
Another positive aspect of the event is the number of people who come to town because of Regatta, she said.
"The racing boats alone bring 400 to 500 people with crews and families. Many local and summer residents also plan vacation around this week," she said. "We know the community benefits from seeing the action on the water and the business the sailors bring."
Regatta is an event Breighner looks forward to herself.
"We are blessed to have a wonderful community that sailors enjoy coming to, both for racing and for what Harbor Springs offers," she said. "We hear over and over from sailors that they love our Regatta and coming to Harbor Springs."
For more information about the 53rd annual Regatta, call 231-526-7919, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to ltyc.org/sailing/regattas.