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Plans advance for Pensacola YC's Melges 24 Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for Bushwhacker Cup

by Talbot Wilson, Pensacola Yacht Club 28 Aug 2020 11:11 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 Pensacola Yacht Club's Race Organizing Committee is moving forward with plans to host the 2nd Annual Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for the "Bushwhacker Cup". The 2020 event is scheduled for November 13-15. This championship event will be right in phase for boats entering the Bacardi Winter Series to get more championship level competition under their keels.

"We are still holding out for those dates," said Regatta Chairman Tom Pace, "however, the regatta will be quite different from 2019 because we will be partying under Florida, Escambia County and Pensacola Covid-19 social mandates. Entries may be limited; social activities will be reduced."

"We are planning our operations based on city and club mandates now in force. Certainly, we hope that these requirements will be relaxed by November. However, we need to plan for what we have now and see which way the wind blows and adjust our sails accordingly. We need a minimum of 20 competitors for a viable regatta. And we may be forced to limit the maximum based on social gathering restrictions in force in mid-November."

The Pensacola committee will be flexible to meet changing conditions. Under guidelines and restrictions as of today [Aug 27], the event is shaping up this way:

  • All competitors and their guests must sign a 'Release from Covid-19 Liability" form.
  • All competitors and their guests must have a daily temperature check.
  • Local masking, social distancing rules and group size restrictions will be enforced.
  • The PYC Clubhouse, Watson Center and the pool area are open for PYC members only.
  • Tables and outside bar service will set up under a tent on the patio.
  • Post-Race Bushwhackers will be served under social distancing guidelines.
  • No group meals will be provided.
  • Porta-Potties and hand washing stations will be available, but shower facilities will not.
  • No formal 'live' competitor or coach meetings will be required. Zoom may be used.
  • An informal Covid-safe group gathering for a clinic "chalk talk" instruction may be held.
  • The awards ceremony will be under the tent, with refreshments and social distancing.
  • Boats and trailers will be stored in assigned spaces, at socially safe distances apart.
  • Boats will be launched on a prearranged schedule.
  • Only one boat/crew will be allowed in the launch zone at a time.
  • MarkSetBots may be used to help reduce RC size and lower volunteer requirements.
  • The "Go-No Go" decision date is no later than Sept 30th, 45 days ahead of the regatta.

The skippers and crews from the 28 Melges 24s who raced in the Inaugural Bushwhacker Cup in 2019 know and will tell you that Pensacola Yacht Club will be doing its best to provide sailors with a quality venue for these championships. PRO Hal smith and the race committee will make sure the racing is fair, up to the high standard sailors have come to expect in Pensacola. The prizes will be special and the Bushwhackers as always, cold and refreshing.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said, "Pensacola wants sailors from across the nation to know that they are welcome here. We are being careful and safe, but we want to keep our city open and continue to host outdoor events like championship level regattas. Our bay proved to be the perfect training site for our America's Cup team, American Magic, and it is perfect for events like the Melges 24 Class Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for the Bushwhacker Cup. Come catch the magic of racing in Pensacola."

Chairman Pace added, "All Melges 24's are invited to enter the regatta at yacht Scoring. If entries must be limited, teams will be invited based on the time of their registration. Come to Pensacola early for some practice on Pensacola Bay. Pensacola YC has a 22-acre campus with plenty of free boat storage space available for Melges 24's both before and after the regatta."

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