Hatteras Sailing hosts inaugural One Design Regatta

[courtesy Hatteras Sailing]

Twenty sailing teams from three different yacht clubs competed in the First Annual Cape Hatteras Lighthouse One Design Regatta hosted by Hatteras Sailing the last weekend of September.

Weather for sailing was astounding! Visitors and local Hatteras sailors raved about having a great time at this first time one design sailing event for Hatteras Island.

During the event on Saturday morning, Morgan Johnson, mother of two young sailors from Hampton Yacht Club posted, “What a great Opti day!!! Hatteras Sailing Organization rolled out the red carpet (with a) Morning surf session followed by great racing followed by a band and pit cooked BBQ!  Let Monday never come, we are staying!!”

For those less familiar with sailing lingo, “regatta” is the term for an organized sailboat racing event. Typically, a regatta is not only sailing, but also includes parties, meals, and entertainment.

Regattas are fun travel events for not just the sailors but also for their families and friends. Over the last 2 years, Hatteras sailors have been traveling to regattas in the Chesapeake Bay, learning the ropes, and networking with other competitors.  The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association hosts the closest regattas and is home to some of the best junior sailors in the World.

Jay Phillips, Chairman of Hatteras Sailing, says, “We were honored that acquaintances our team made when we traveled to the Hampton Yacht Club’s Junior Olympic Festival came to Hatteras and joined in the fun here. It just makes sense. Hatteras itself is a fantastic draw for Chesapeake sailors, especially with our well known winds“.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Regatta was organized into a 3 day format with a variety of activities that reflected the local beauty and appeal of Hatteras Island. This regatta weekend didn’t feature just sailing!

Hatteras Island is a unique and spectacular destination, and the organizers created a schedule that mixed in favorite beach activities, including a beach bonfire party, morning beach yoga led by well known local yogi Mary Syrrist, and a Surf Session sponsored by Endless Summer Surf Camp OBX.

“Surfing and sailing – it’s all about seamanship. Learning to sail will help make better surfers, and I bet learning to surf will make better sailors. It all works together. We want to be involved in just helping the local kids learn better seamanship.” says Morgan O’Connell founder of Endless Summer Surf OBX.

Hatteras Sailing debuted our 420 One Design Fleet at the regatta. This was the first event ever for our new fleet of 420 Class boats here on Hatteras.  Saturday’s racing began with the 420 Class in the morning.

After a short lunch break, sponsored by Amy Hakola of Wildflour Kitchens, the Opti Fleet raced 4 races in the afternoon.

Sunday, the classes flipped places so the visiting Opti Teams could finish up racing before traveling back home to Virginia. The optimist class is a single handed boat designed for sailors from 5 years old to 15 years old and up to 120 lbs.

There were 16 optimists racing, and Avon local, Connor Hakola, took the second place trophy while Finley Webster from Hampton YC took first place, and Deltaville VA sailor Henry Latell finished 3rd.

The Hampton and Deltaville sailors have an advantage being from much older and more established organizations with full time salaried junior coaches, but some of our local sailors are holding their own and moving up in the ranks.

On Sunday, the wind picked up and the Hatteras Sailors showed a home court advantage as we often practice in higher winds, but the Chesapeake summers are known for light wind sailing conditions. Hatteras Sailing is just in its second year, while Fishing Bay YC is an 85 year old organization with really affluent membership from Richmond, Northern VA and DC.

Hampton Yacht Club is even older, located on the waterfront in downtown historic Hampton, VA.  The racecourse was packed tightly with 17 little boats all striving to sail fastest.

Immediately following the racing, an outdoor barbecue party began on the lawn at the new Hatteras Sailing Center on Buxton Harbor. Chip Hammock spent the entire day for 10 hours smoking the barbecue pork to perfection thanks to the use of Tater Gaskins of Hatteras Island Air who was kind enough to loan the club his large wood cooker.

Kinnakeet favorite, Jim Hagy, blessed the evening with great live music.  “It is much more affordable for our local sailors to bring the competition to us, and it also creates great potential for organization fundraising, not to mention simply creating our own version of Hatteras Island Sailing fun!”, comments Nathan Snead, local coach and Vice Chair of the Organization.

Thanks to local sponsors, Hatteras Sailing acquired 5 nice 420 Sailboats this Summer, and started  developing teams for these exciting and challenging one design boats.  Last year Hatteras Sailing only featured the Optimist for training, which limited opportunities to only the youngest sailors.

Now with the 420, older teens and adults can join in the fun. The 420 is the standard College and High School international sailing class, there are attractive opportunities for experienced local 420 sailors to participate at the varsity collegiate level as they consider their future college options.

Navy, Coast Guard and other service academies very actively scout the small pool of competitive sailing talent (small when compared to soccer, baseball, and football).

One design dinghy sailors learn much more along their journey than just how to sail a boat, and most colleges and academies have found great success with the students who come from the sailboat racing background.

Hatteras Sailing wants to give special thanks to our primary sponsors for this first Annual Event!

  • Wild Flour Kitchens

  • Endless Summer Surf OBX

  • Kill Devil Rum

  • OBX Spices

  • Avon Cedar

  • Phillips Boatworks

  • MSP Media

  • Pamlico Sailing

  • Geoff Grisham

  • Chip and Vida Hammock

  • Food Lion

  • Third Stone Graphics

“Feedback from visiting competitors has been incredibly enthusiastic.  People love coming to Hatteras for vacation, and now with a fully operating Junior Sailing Program, visitors can look forward to sail training and competitive events at their favorite vacation spot!”, says Organization Chairman and Head Coach, Jay Phillips.

Over the coming winter months, the board is putting together opportunities for the junior sailors to go out with local commercial fishermen on Hatteras Island. “Preserving local maritime heritage and commercial fishing is an increasing challenge with regulatory restrictions. Hatteras Sailing wants to inspire the youth of Hatteras to carry on these generational traditions and fishing licenses.” says Jay Phillips of Hatteras Sailing.

Started in 2019, Hatteras Sailing is a non-profit community organization supported completely  by volunteers, members, and sponsors.  The mission is to nurture sailing opportunities and maritime heritage opportunities for local Hatteras Island Youth, via long term consistent programming and sailing opportunities.  Volunteers and donations are always appreciated and go a long way to making the program a success.

Each 8 week seasonal session has averaged participation from 25 local youth partitioned into classes of different skill levels starting at the age of 7 years through 18 years of age.  To help raise funds, HatterasSailing.org offers sailboat rentals, lessons, and charters to Hatteras Visitors. For more information please visit our website at hatterassailing.org