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An interview with Drew Mouacdie on the The 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022

by David Schmidt 26 Oct 2022 08:00 PDT October 29, 2022
Pre-race action at The 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022 © Image courtesy of The 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022

Many people, myself included, think sailing is an inherently great activity, and a wonderful opportunity to spend time on the water with family, friends, or maybe even alone, working with nature's forces, not against them. But think how much better sailing can be when there's a greater good involved than simply enjoying fun times afloat? This is an area where our sport shines, as there are plenty of cool regattas that benefit great causes.

The 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022, which is being hosted by the Miami Yacht Club, in Miami, Florida, on Saturday, October 29, and which will be contested on the waters of Biscayne Bay, is one such regatta. While the event's NOR states that all classes are invited, they expect to score PHRF, ORC, ARC, MASF, and SCHRS classes.

The best part? All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Overtown Optimist Club, which provides Miami students with a safe place to hang out after school.

I checked in with Drew Mouacdie, the regatta's race committee chair, via email, to learn more about this regatta with a good cause.

Can you please tell us a bit about the 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022, its history and culture, and the kinds of teams and sailors that one can expect to find here?

The Conch Cup was historically a beach catamaran charity race. We haven't run it the last few years due to Covid and waning interest, but Miami Yacht Club's catamaran fleet has grown to the point where we've decided to bring it back for its 45th running and with it, the original conch shell-shaped course.

That said, we are not limited to cat sailors and welcome fleets of all shapes and sizes to compete for the coveted Conch Cup Perpetual Trophy.

Weather-wise, what kind conditions can sailors expect to encounter off of Miami in late October? What are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

This time of year conditions can vary. Best case scenario we end up with a partly cloudy day in the 80s with 10-15kt winds out of the east. Worst case scenarios can be anything from a zero-knot slicker, to a full gale as October is the tail end of hurricane season.

We'll let God decide and adjust the course if need be!

How would you describe the level of competition at the 45th Annual Conch Cup Charity Race 2022? Also, what's the bigger objective—getting around the buoys quickly, or raising the most money possible for the Overtown Optimist Club?

This is my first one as Race Committee Chair, so we'll see!

If it's anything like our Wednesday night beach cat beer can races, then it's sure to be a lot of fun. There aren't any buoys for this one - just fixed government marks but that's definitely the secondary concern.

We understand that the sport won't continue without interest from the next generation, and we're thrilled to partner with the Overtown Optimist Club in that mission.

There are a lot of great charities in this world. How did you and the other event organizers choose the Overtown Optimist Club as the regatta's beneficiary? Also, does the regatta's beneficiary change year-on-year, or has the regatta always benefitted the Overtown Optimist Club?

No doubt. Distance-wise, the Overtown Optimist Club is close to MYC at neighboring Gibson Park. There's no better way to build a pipeline of sailors than to start with the youth in our own backyard, especially now that we've launched an Opti Green Fleet Racing Team.

Optimist International, who from the Optimist dinghy got its name, has historically supported youth sailing (their logo still adorns the Optis' sail) so to me that seemed like a no-brainer. We've benefited a variety of charities in the 44 times the race has been run, but never the Overtown Optimist Club, to my knowledge.

Do you see local knowledge playing a big or small role in the regatta's outcome? Can you please explain?

Local knowledge will play a big role. There are multiple navigational challenges that come with this race, especially for the beach cats.

In essence, the rounding marks are the same for all fleets, with the big boats finishing out in the Atlantic off of Government Cut.

The small boats have to race back to the club and can do so through the aforementioned cut, Norris Cut, or the long way back through Biscayne Bay. Tide and wind direction are huge considerations for this one.

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting (and local) sailors/teams, what would it be?

Bring a costume to the awards party - it's halloweekend!

Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta's environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

Miami Yacht Club is committed to reducing our reliance on single-use plastics and have done so at The Latitude Lounge, our bar and restaurant. Beyond that, we hope this race will inspire more people to get out and sail.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

Let's go sailing!

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