"Sailing the Tradition" for the last half century, the golden 50th annual Summerset Regatta, hosted by the Caloosa Marching and Chowder Society (CMCS) sailing club, sets sail this weekend along the Fort Myers Beach shoreline, Friday to Sunday, Oct. 9 to 11. This is the perfect opportunity to watch these regal vessels in action during the 10th annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival.
"It appears that the Summerset Regatta 2015 will be the biggest one yet, for sponsorship, community support and number of boats participating," said avid local sailor, longtime member and CMCS Vice Commodore of the Summerset Regatta Steve Romaine. "We're anticipating at least 65 boats participating. They will be at 'dress ship' (signal flags and brag flags) when at the dock at Pink Shell, Moss Marine and Salty Sam's. This is a very special golden jubilee regatta, and have exciting plans for the cocktail party at the Pink Shell for regatta participants."
Well-known nautical musician Eric Stone will perform during the event's cocktail party. "He is a legendary nautical musician known for his performances at boat shows all over; this will be his first time on Fort Myers Beach, and we're very excited to have him," Steve said. "We will also have a red carpet and arch as a grand entrance for the cocktail party." It's evident anyone who's a who's who of the sailing world will be at these regatta receptions!
Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER
"Our skipper's meeting is at Bonita Bill's Friday night and Kirby is so great to work with he's a wonderful fella, one of our loyal sponsors every year. And we're proud to support the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center to show our support for them," Steve said.
For those not participating in the actual race, itself, it will be a true spectacle from the Fort Myers Beach shoreline. "A great spot to see the races will be around the pier, and then south of that. Sunday, if the wind is blowing from the south, as our finish line is just near the Pink Shell, all of our spinnaker boats will have their vibrant spinnaker [sails] flying, so it will be a beautiful sight."
Summerset has always been a collaborative effort, with the goal of making a contribution to youth sailing and marine activities for young people. Recent years have seen a very nice increase in awards and prize contributions, so CMCS has been able to contribute over $44,000 to youth sailing programs up and down the coast.
"Summerset is best known for supporting youth sailing. When all costs are in, we'll figure out what our support level will be this year, but, it should be the same, if not more, than last year, which was $16,000," Steve eagerly stated. "I have a lot of great helpers to get this Regatta organized a wonderful support system of CMCS members, and trust me, they work hard, bringing my crazy ideas to perfection. Literally, there are hundreds of people involved with Summerset this year."
The club is always open to new members even if they don't have their own boat. Visit CMCS-Sail.org or SummersetRegatta.com.