There has been a lot of local, regional, national and international sailboat racing on Charlotte Harbor for decades. The events have ranged from club racing to U.S. Olympic trials to world championships, and they’ve been raced in boats from tiny Sunfish to 40-plus-foot cruisers. Fleet sizes run from a handful of Sunfish racing short courses out of the Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons to nearly 70 vessels in multiple classes competing in the Punta Gorda Sailing Club’s Conquistador Cup Regatta.
Some captains, like ’Bama Slammer’s Bob Knowles, maintain tight-knit and practiced crews who regularly top all comers here and elsewhere. Others, like Sea Monster’s Hank Killion, welcome newbies and even youngsters aboard, providing sailors opportunities to compete in a sport they otherwise might not. A newbie myself, I have had the privilege of racing with both skippers and nearly a dozen more over the past few years, and I’ve never felt unwelcome or unappreciated by any of the captains and crews with whom I’ve raced.
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