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Entry opens for Pensacola Yacht Club's 2nd Annual Melges 24 Bushwhacker Cup

by Talbot Wilson, Pensacola Yacht Club 23 Jun 05:56 PDT November 13-15, 2020
Catch the Magic... Racing for the 2nd annual Bushwhacker Cup and the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Championships is scheduled for Nov 13-15 on Pensacola Bay. Pensacola YC your host served 43 gallons of world famous bushwhackers in 2019. Race Hard — Play Hard! © Talbot Wilson

The Notice of Race for the Pensacola Yacht Club's 2nd annual Bushwhacker Cup has been posted and entries are now open. The regatta, which serves as the Atlantic & Gulf Coast Regional Championships, is scheduled for November 13-15, 2020. It is also the final event of the 2020 U.S. Melges 24 National Ranking Series.

The 2020 NOR and regatta entry are now available at Yachtscoring. Race news and results will be there as well. All the Bushwhacker Cup news will also be posted on the event website pycbushwhackercup.com, Facebook on PYCBushwhackerCup, and twitter at BushwhackerCup #bushwhackercup.

As usual, Friday is registration, practice and clinic day, However, sailors are invited to bring their boats to the club pre-regatta for early practice or storage. Boats may also be stored at the club after the regatta before the long haul down to Miami for the Bacardi Winter Series.

Tom Pace, Jr, Vice Commodore of Pensacola YC and once again chairman for this regatta, said, "In 2019 we had a fantastic Bushwhacker party and a great regatta broke out. 28 boats raced the inaugural event including two potential America's Cup skippers, some other pros, but also a big contingent of Corinthian sailors. Our hope this year is to attract 35 boats or more. Ask the Melges24 sailors who raced last year about the quality of racing and the fun. Ya'll Come, race with us at the 'South's Finest' yacht club."

The inaugural 2019 event saw a fleet of 28 boats on the bay. The fleet sailed five 45-minute races on Saturday, but the sailors saw no wind and no races on Sunday. That's a rare happening on Pensacola Bay in November. PRO Hal Smith and his committee did a masterful job with the cards mother nature dealt.

Bruce Ayres' Monsoon [USA 825] from Newport Harbor CA with crew Brian Porter, George Peet, Chelsea Simms and America's Cup challenger Stars+Stripes' CEO/Skipper Mike Buckley finished in first place with scores of 2-1-2-5-1 for 11 points. Monsoon was the winner of the inaugural Melges24 Bushwhacker Cup.

Bora Gulari [USA820] with his crew of Kyle Navin, Norman Berge, Ian Liberty and America's Cup Challenger American Magic's Skipper Terry Hutchinson stood three points back in second with a 4-5-1-2-2 record and 14 points. Gulari, a former Melges24 US National Champion, spent the winter months of 2018-19-20 sailing American Magic's Mule and AC75 Defiant on Pensacola Bay. That almost makes him a local, certainly he has local knowledge.

The regatta served as the official championships for the Melges24 Atlantic & the Gulf Coast regions. Taking first place in the Southeast was Kelly Shannon's Shaka. Zane Yoder's FNG took the Gulf Coast Championship.

Corinthian sailors are Integral to the Melges24 class. Steve Suddath in Up for Debate was top corinthian in the Atlantic/SE region. Glen Tonguis in Kryptonite was top Gulf Coast Corinthian and the Ratliff's Decorum was the best corinthian for all the other regions.

By all measures the First Annual PYC Melges24 Bushwhacker Cup was a success on and off the water. Burgers for lunch and 43 gallons of free Bushwhackers were served as the final treat. Melges24 owners and sailors choosing to charter are all invited to Pensacola and Pensacola YC for another fantastic regatta.

Sailing on Pensacola Bay

Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound are naturally protected by Santa Rosa Island to the south. The pass to the Gulf of Mexico is located to the southwest, across from the Naval Air Station Pensacola and divides the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island from the western park on Perdido Key.

The racing area is a matter of minutes from the Bayou Chico channel and the Pensacola YC marina. That's close racing... more racing and less transit time.

In summer months, sailors find a daily sea breeze that builds from a mid-day southeasterly to the afternoon 12-15 knot southwesterly they love. In other seasons, the winds are determined by frontal passages, temperature variables, sunshine and other factors. Tides are minimal, about one foot to one and a half feet.

Pensacola Bay is naturally deep with a white sand bottom. The water is clean, seasonally warm and just choppy in a breeze, but not often rough. The east-west shoreline in downtown Pensacola to the north is perfect for stadium regatta spectating.

All sailors— race or cruise— are invited to come sail on Pensacola Bay. Organizers of both amateur regional, national or international sailing championships and professional sailing events should contact Pensacola Yacht Club to discuss racing on beautiful Pensacola Bay. www.pensacolayachtclub.org

The NYYC America's Cup team, American Magic, chose to train in the 'Mule' on Pensacola Bay in the fall and winter of 2018-19. They returned to Pensacola train in the AC75 'Defiant' in 2019-20 before heading to New Zealand after the first Prada Cup race series in Sardinia was cancelled.

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