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Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society presents 52nd annual Summerset Regatta this weekend

October 5, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

There will be parties, happy-hour events, great prizes, and lots of boat - just as there has always been since the 1960s.

The Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society will present the 52nd annual Summerset Regatta this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the oldest continuously running regatta in Southwest Florida.

Dozens of boats will be on hand to compete in sprint and distance races for great prizes, all in support of youth sailing and marine programs throughout the coast.

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Ron Allen, chairman of the Public Relations Committee for the CMCS, said it began when local sailors placed an ad looking for fellow sailors who wanted to race from Fort Myers Beach to Naples.

"It led to an event that all Southwest Florida sailors look forward to at the end of the summer," Allen said. "The club came into being as a result of the race."

The event has taken place in the past in Naples, Marco Island, Burnt Store Marina and now in Fort Myers Beach, in numerous locales throughout the city, Allen said.

This year's regatta includes buoy, coastal and distance races with more than 45 yachts in eight different racing classes. The races will take place off Fort Myers Beach in the gulf nearby San Carlos Light

"We have a number of different races for distance and speed and even an event this year for cruising sailboats, for people who set up their boats as cruisers, as opposed to racing to get in on the fun," Allen said.

There will be social events such as a skipper and crew meeting and dinner before the event at Bonita Bill's Waterfront Caf, a cocktail party at Salty Sam's Marina, and the banquet dinner afterward at Diamond Hear Resort. There will also be special trophies, raffle prizes, and much more.

The regatta has allowed the CMCS to contribute nearly $100,000 to various youth sailing programs.

In the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area, a grant fund has been created where children who may not have had the opportunity to sail can get grant money to do so. CMCS also supports the Estero Bay Foundation in their work to protect the sailing environment.

"We want to help kids who may not have the ability because of financial situations or otherwise. It continues the sailing hobby for the next generation," Allen said.

Allen said because of the storm, many participants and sponsors have been slow to come on board. Despite that, Allen is confident this event will still be successful, if for nothing else as an escape from the events of the last month.

"This is a feelgood event for those who need relief from the stress and trauma the storm gave us," Allen said. "This will lift the spirits of those in Southwest Florida."

For more information about the regatta, go online to



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