Nationally ranked sailors will be in Navarre September 9-14 for the 2018 Hobie 16 National Championship, which follows 28th Annual Juana Good Time Regatta, taking place this weekend.
“This is the first time the Hobie Championship is coming to Navarre, and we are thrilled they chose our destination,” said Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Director Julie Morgan. “This event will bring in a value of economic impact as well as a tourism event in shoulder season, which is important.”
Kevin Rudzki, an owner of Juanas Pagodas, said having the national event attracts more attention to Navarre. “There’s no guarantee we’ll get them back next year, but we’ll throw them a good party and be a good host,” he said, expressing hope they might return again one day.
Juanas started hosting their annual Good Time Regatta after another popular sailing event, the Tropics Regatta, stopped taking place. “Basically we just continued the tradition,” he said.
The local regatta has grown to attract 80 multi-hulled vessels with participants coming in from other states, such as Ohio, South Caroline and Texas.
The Juana Good Time Regatta kicks off today with 6-8 p.m. late registration and a “Smooth Sailing” pre-race party, featuring free draft, light snacks and drink specials. There will also be live entertainment from 5 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.
A captain’s meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, and distance racing begins at 11:30 a.m. A BBQ will take place, starting at 6 p.m. Door prizes will be given away at 8 p.m.
Saturday’s racing takes place in Santa Rosa Sound between Navarre Beach Causeway and Bob Sikes Bridge. “It’s an awesome area that’s wide open,” Rudzki said.
According to Rudzki, Sunday will be a great day for spectators to enjoy timed racing, which will take place directly behind Juanas. Racing starts at 11 a.m., and an awards party will take place from 3-5 p.m.
“We’ll have a lot of good parties, and the public can register to participate as a non-racer,” Rudzki said.
The 2018 Hobie 16 National Championship starts September 9 and coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the passing of Carleton Tucker. In honor of the late sailor’s memory, the event will be called the Carleton Tucker Hobie 16 North American Championships.
The event will offer 10 qualifying spots for the 2019 Hobie 16 World Finals.
Sixty-seven teams are currently registered for the five-day regatta, according to organizers.
A Special Olympics mini regatta will be held Wed., Sept. 12 at 11:30 a.m. to benefit Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties Special Olympics sailing team. Division 15 chairman and regatta organizer, Michael McNeir, with the help of the Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Office, purchased a set of Hobie 16 sails to present to the Special Olympics Sailing Cub. These sails will be clearly seen flying the Navarre Beach and Special Olympics logos during the event. The sails have been traveling to states as far away as New York for regattas to promote the area and will continue to until next spring when they will be given to the Special Olympics Sailing Club.
Also on Wednesday, the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters will be on site, painting scenes of of the colorful catamarans on the beach and water. The paintings will be made available for purchase.
On Thursday evening, Sept. 13, a special 20th year remembrance will be held in honor of the local world class sailor Carlton Tucker. The Hobie Cat company will present the national Carlton Tucker Award for good sportsmanship.
For more information, contact Division 15 Chair Michael McNeir at 850-585-3285, Division 15 Co-Chair Krista Vind at 850-598-3289, or follow the event on Facebook. The notice of race and registration forms are available online.