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Southern Spars

Regata al Sol set to begin May 7

by Talbot Wilson on 14 Feb 2014
Regatta al Sol 2012 start Julie B. Connerley
The Regata al Sol is a biennial challenge to skippers navigators and crew first sailed in 1965. In 2014 Racing begins in Pensacola Bay on May 7th for the Cruising Division and May 8th for Racing Division. Line honors elapsed time for Stephen Murray’s Carkeek 40 ‘Decision’ from New Orleans was 72h 23m in 2012. The last boat, Tim Cerniglia’s Valiant 40-1 MOD ‘Radio Flyer’ from Slidell LA, took just under 124 hours.

Not to be confused with the Florida West Coast race to Isla Mujeres, this race from the North is longer, more complex and a tougher challenge. It is sponsored by Southern Yacht Club, Pensacola Yacht Club, and the Club de Yates Isla de Mujeres.

Yachts going South must not only factor in the two sides of the Gulf Stream loop current, the weather and possible cold fronts passing through, but also decide how to handle the four knot foul current flowing North between Cuba and the Yucatan. The Island of Women—Isla Mujeres— is just South of the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, a few miles off shore from Cancun. Not much distance, but a lot of current makes the leg from Contoy Light a long one.

To be eligible for the Regata al Sol, a yacht must have a minimum deck length of 30' and comply with structural and safety requirements in the Notice of Race. Entry in Cruising and Racing Divisions is controlled by sail area to displacement ratios. Power driven winches are allowed in both divisions and autopilots may be used in the Cruising Division only.

Scoring for all divisions is under the Gulf Yachting Association Performance Handicap Rating System (PHRF). Entrants in the Racing Division may also register to be scored under the IRC scoring system using either a valid Standard Certificate (based on ratings assigned to sisterships) or a valid Endorsed Event Website
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