Once again, colorful sails will gracefully litter Lake Dora. The 63rd Annual Mount Dora Sailing Regatta is expected to draw sixty to eighty boats over this weekend's two-day event.
The races are spread over three courses across a portion of Lake Dora to take advantage of the wind and provide ample space for competitive races.
The regatta, organized by Mount Dora Yacht Club (MDYC) is the longest running annual event in the city.
Spectators can watch as the first race kicks off Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and finishes close to 4 p.m. Simpson Cove, Lakeside Inn and the deck at Pisces Rising typically provide excellent vantage points. Sunday's first race starts at 9:30 a.m. and races end before the 1:30 award ceremony.
Planning for the future, MDYC is keenly aware of the importance of including younger people into the event.
"We always encourage young sailors to participate each year. They will hopefully provide seasoned sailors who compete with us in the future," said Charlie Kennedy, chairman of the regatta committee and the 2010 MDYC Commodore.
MDYC, the oldest inland yacht club in Florida, held its first regatta in 1913. At that time the event featured power boats and was reportedly such an exciting event that local businesses closed so everyone could attend. In 1953, the regatta transitioned to sailboats to alleviate a noise issue.
The club currently has 110 active members and nearly all pull together to play a role in the regatta.
"Many are hands-on volunteers throughout the weekend, while many others contribute in behind the scenes planning, promoting, and organizing well ahead of the event," said Kennedy. "It is great fun for everyone. We also have a number of non-member volunteers who join in the fun as well."
Organizers are hoping for ideal sailing weather with winds between eight and twelve miles per hour.
"Obviously, we can't control the weather, but we try to make the entire weekend experience as exciting as we can in hopes that our sailing guests and their families will enjoy our event, and the special town of Mount Dora, then coming back again year after year," said Kennedy.