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Blown Away by the Rainbow Regatta 2024

Updated: Apr 28


On April 4, 2023, Rainbow Regatta sailors floated out from the St.

Petersburg shore to the race course with wind speeds topping at 4 mph

while the Salty Sisters asked the wind gods for more wind. Their pleas

did not seem to be answered as sailors paddled back to shore, not being

able to finish race 1 within time limits. On April 10, 2024, the winds gods

answered their pleas, giving the Luffing Lassies and Rainbow Regatta

sailors 18-20 mph winds with heavy gusts as they looked out at

Sarasota Bay. The Sunfish sailors tightened their rigging and reefed

their sails as wind speeds increased throughout the morning. Opti and

Pram Sailors optimistically unloaded their boats in a protected area of

the boatyard. The Competitor’s meeting started at 11:30 AM

Sailing was postponed for 45 minutes and ultimately canceled for

the day at 1:00 P.M.

Rainbow Regatta Chairs, Luffing Lassies Linda Tiffin, and Penny Durham and Bitter End Janet Molen planned well for this possibility. First bagpipe player Bill Sanderson took the stage, playing several tunes as champagne and ice cream were served. It was planned that Mr.Sanderson would play as the sailors launched, and champagne would greet them on their return to shore in celebration of the FWSA’s 50th Anniversary. This was quickly followed by an hour of sailing education

featuring several local experts, MaryEllen Ingham and Linda Leader.

At 4:00 P.M., Luffing Lassies Publicity Chair Kelee Johnson arranged a Zoom interview with Lara Dallman-Weiss, who will be competing in the mixed 470 class at the 2024 Olympics representing the United States. The bar was then opened,

cold and hot appetizers were served, the Bitter Ends performed a skit,

Dinghy Dames Lynn Randall was crowned “Rainbow Queen” and the

Sarasota High School Sailing Team had high wind practice out on the

bay, providing many sailors with entertainment as they screamed

downwind, battled upwind, and frequently capsized in their 420

sailboats. The band Grouper Cheeks, took the stage while sailors

danced, and a fabulous dinner was served. This dinner was catered by Sarasota Sailing Squadron members, Chef Roy Case, Sous Chef Delia Ingham, Luffing Lassie, and assistant Susan St. John, Luffing Lassie of. You would think that was enough food -but then came the dessert table. OH MY!!

Sailors left the Sarasota Sailing Squadron into darkening skies, full, tired and happy but wisihng they could have sailed. They all knew that the next day was a Red Alert weather day with very high gusty winds and small craft warnings.

Thursday morning dawned with a Competitor’s Meeting at 9:00 A.M.,

where sailing was officially canceled for the day. The regift table

stayed open, raising over $700 for the Young Sailor of the Year Award.

The Sunfish, Opti, and Pram quilted bags made by Bitter End Jill Joss and

the small sailbag wristlets made by Luffing Lassies Monique Mustard

were raffled off with many happy winners. Thank Yous, Recognitions

and small gifts were given to the many Rainbow Regatta Volunteers.

Lunch provided by the Bitter Ends and catered by Croissant & Co of

Venice, FL, was served early. All sailors agreed that this was one of the

best “no sailing” sailing regattas. Congratulations to the Luffing Lassies

and the Bitter Ends for hosting a fabulous event. We will see what the

weather gods will deliver to the Broad Reachers for the 2025 Rainbow

Regatta. My fingers are crossed!!

Marge Whiteman, Bitter Ends

FWSA Publicity Chair


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