Laser Masters event to coincide with regatta
PORT CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Harbor Regatta fleet will play host to its fourth annual regatta, which this year will run in tandem with the Laser Masters Midwinters East Regatta.
It’s the first year Laser sailboats have been added to the race.
The Charlotte Harbor Regatta Association, a nonprofit sailing organization, will play host to the event starting at 10 a.m. Friday through Monday from Port Charlotte Beach Park.
The event has sparked more than 100 entries of nine classes of one-design sailboats, the biggest class being Lasers, of which 60 have entered.
“We were trying to target classes with large traveling memberships,” said Brian Gleason, chairman of the CHRA and the Sun editorial page editor.
In addition to Lasers, other classes of Sunfish and 2.4mRs also will be coming in from all over the U.S. to compete, as well as several classes of multi-hulls like F16s, F18s, Hobie16s, Hobie Waves and Weta trimarans.
“The idea is to bring sailors from around the country and world to sail in Charlotte Harbor and showcase the area as a premier boating community,” Gleason said.
According to Clifford Kewley, director of the regatta, each class will race against itself, and will be divided up to sail around three separate courses that will be placed on the west side of the U.S. 41 bridges in Charlotte Harbor.
Gleason said the best places to watch the regatta will be at Bayshore Live Oak or Gilchrist park, Port Charlotte Beach Park, or Fishermen’s Village.
“The best time to get there is around 10:15 (a.m.) to 10:30 a.m.,” Kewley said. “That’s when all the boats will be headed to their course and you can really get a good view of the colorful sails.”
Kewley said the parks will be open to the public, although parking could be an issue at Port Charlotte Beach Park, because that is where 90 percent of the competitors will be launching from.
“You have to remember there will be a lot of vehicles and trailers, but the park is still open, and we welcome anyone to come down,” Kewley said.
Kewley recommended packing a picnic lunch. Kewley said the Laser course will be the most visible from Port Charlotte Beach Park.
“The fishing pier may be a good place to watch the activity,” Kewley said.
Kewley is hoping for 12 to 15 knots of wind from different directions, as well as sunny skies, for the event.