KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — More than 250 sailors ages 8 to 18 from across the U.S. and Caribbean are to set sail on Key Largo’s Blackwater Sound Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5, in the 14th annual Buccaneer Blast Regatta.
Youth sailors are to compete in the Optimist or “Opti,” ILCA/Laser, Club 420 and Windsurfing classes. The single-handed dinghy “Opti,” intended for use by youngsters up to age 15, is the largest sailboat class in the world.
The weekend begins Friday, Feb. 3, with a welcome reception at the Upper Keys Sailing Club, 100 N. Ocean Bay Drive in Key Largo, and a sunset cruise on Buttonwood Sound for registered sailors, families and sponsors.
Racing is scheduled for noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. According to organizers, the 2023 regatta is to feature the largest number of competitors in the event’s 14-year history.
The public is invited to catch live-action racing both on the water and near shore from Rowell’s Waterfront Park at mile marker 104.5 bayside. On both days, spectators who make a small donation can board a pontoon boat to head out and see the racing up close on Blackwater Sound.
Following Saturday’s races, spectators are invited to participate in a raffle event at the park where everyone can buy tickets for a chance to win prizes.
An awards ceremony is scheduled around 3 p.m. Sunday to crown the winners in each class.
The event and raffle support the Upper Keys Sailing Club’s nonprofit Mark Sorensen Youth Sailing Program. The program provides affordable, accessible and inclusive sailing camps and instruction for Upper Keys and south Miami-Dade youth.
Event information: msysp.org
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
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