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Pensacola to host Premiere Sailing League Exhibition Series

by Jan Harley 22 Sep 06:09 PDT 3 January - 5 April 2020
The Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park is one of two Pensacola venues for the PSL Winter Exhibition in 2020. © Barnes & Co

If the trendsetters are right that September truly is the new January - as far revisiting those resolutions made at the beginning of the New Year - then why not make an early resolution now to be in Pensacola, Florida, in January of 2020. That is when the Premiere Sailing League USA (PSL) will debut stadium sailing on Pensacola Bay during the PSL Winter Exhibition Series between January 3 and April 5.

The PSL Winter Exhibition Series will consist of a pre-series test regatta followed by four invitational regattas. Teams can charter a boat from the supplied fleet of identical RS21 keelboats for the racing which will take place on courses set just off the Pensacola waterfront at either Plaza de Luna or the nearby Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park. Spectators can watch the teams compete in multiple exhibition stadium style races directly in front of the festive venues. Dates have been chosen to coordinate with other activities in the two parks to introduce stadium sailing to the non-sailing public.

The first PSL Winter Exhibition is scheduled for January 3-5, 2020, off Plaza de Luna at the foot of historic South Palafox Place adjacent to the Pensacola Marina. Not coincidentally, the regatta takes place during the 12th Night Mardi Gras Kick-off celebration taking place throughout downtown Pensacola. Subsequent PSL Winter Exhibitions are currently planned for January 31-February 2, March 6-8 and April 3-5, 2020 (dates subject to change).

For each event, practice racing will be held on Friday from the Pensacola Yacht Club in the downtown Sanders Beach Community. Then on Saturday and Sunday the six to 12 teams will race short course, fast paced flights, with up to 20 races per day, to determine the winner. The racing will follow the format of the events that will be offered in 2022, the inaugural year of the full national season of the League. Spectators on shore will be treated to race analysis presented by sailing broadcaster and America's Cup commentator Tucker Thompson, who will make stadium sailing come to life for spectators.

"We are excited by the City of Pensacola's response to this event," said PSL President Benjamin Klatzka. "Not only will Pensacola be the venue for the League's 2020 Exhibition Series, the City and Pensacola Yacht Club will be the Southern headquarters for the PSL."

Mayor Grover Robinson, and Pensacola Yacht Club's Board of Directors, have put their full support behind the PSL Winter Exhibition Series and future events on Pensacola Bay.

"Pensacola is rich in maritime history," said Mayor Robinson. "We look forward to partnering with the Premier Sailing League USA and helping provide a platform where sailors from different backgrounds can compete in a stadium sailing competition encouraging new spectators and participants to enjoy the sport. As the league grows, we in Pensacola look forward to being the permanent southern base for the PSL." Visit Pensacola President Steve Hayes and Pensacola Sports President and CEO Ray Palmer have been onboard with the Mayor and his staff since the concept was first presented to the city and the Escambia County tourism professionals. The Pensacola/Escambia County tourism promotional arm at VisitPensacola.com, and the sports marketing team at Pensacola Sports, are committed to helping make the exhibition series, and all future events on Pensacola Bay, a success in every way.

The Premiere Sailing League USA will debut its concept for an organized, national fleet racing league during the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md., which runs from October 10-14, 2019. Details are available at www.premieresailingleague.com.

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