On Saturday, February 11 residents and visitors will enjoy the colorful sights of the Marco Island Yacht Club’s Annual Winter Regatta in the Gulf of Mexico directly off the Marco Island beach. Up to fifteen sailboats, along with their skippers and crews, will converge on Marco Island to compete for sailing awards.
Racing will start at approximately 10:30 AM and will conclude around 3:30 PM. A series of courses will be established by the race committee (based on existing wind and sea conditions) with mark points identified by large, yellow and orange buoys accompanied by officials on “mark boats.” The sailboats will be divided into competitive classes based on type, size, sail configuration, etc. The best venues to view the racing will be on the beach or in any of the condominium buildings along the beach.
The Marco Island J.W. Marriott invites residents to watch the regatta on their beach. They are offering all-day parking in the lot on the east side of Collier Boulevard for $5 per vehicle (see the parking window to the left of the hotel’s front door). Also, at various times there will be a “play-by-play” narrative of the races provided by yacht club members on the Marriott beach.
If wind conditions are as anticipated, boats with spinnaker sails (the large balloon sails of different colors) will be hoisting their spinnakers as they round the mark closest to the beach, providing wonderful photo opportunities.
The Regatta is hosted by the Marco Island Yacht Club with support from the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department and the Marco Island Marina Association. Proceeds will go to the Marco Island Community Sailing Center Youth Sailing Program, which promotes interest in sailing through education and instruction programs. The Sailing Center, just north of the Jolley Bridge, is a program sponsored by the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department.