The Marco Island Model Yacht Club, in conjunction with the City of Marco Island Department of Parks and Recreation, host the three-day nautical event. This year 26 sailors made their way down to the Mackle Park Community Center on Marco Island to compete.The three-day regatta is comprised of a series of heats. The contestants race RC Laser sailboats, which are miniature, to-scale versions of the Laser sailboat, an Olympic class vessel. Using remote controls, the skippers weave their way across the water from the comfort of the grassy shoreline.
“We’ve got probably the best venue in the country for this type of event,” Regatta Chairman Rocky Cale said.According to Cale, the elevated view of the Mackle Park lake offers racers an ideal vantage point. The nice breeze that flows over top of the water doesn’t seem to hurt either.
Over the past few years, Cale and his wife Mary Lee have organized the nationally regarded regatta, which also features social events such as a dinner at the Marco Island Yacht Club.
“We’re the longest running LC Laser Regatta in the country,” Cale said. “We held the very first RC Laser Regatta 15 years ago.”During the race, the 26 competitors were divided into two fleets: even and odd. The scores they receive during the qualifying rounds determine their placement in either the gold or the silver fleet.
This year Jim Kaighin of the Bahamas took home first place in the gold fleet. Kaighin is a seasoned sailor. He’s won this particular RC Laser Regatta over six times. This year he won the competition by a 27-point margin. Dave Branning of Tilghman Island, Maryland came in second place while Bill Bentz of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took home third.Following the awards presentation on Sunday, the competitors celebrated the end of the competition with a round of drinks at Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland.
For more information on the Marco Island Model Yacht Club visit www.rclaser.org.