Mark Albury Regatta
October 4 & 5, 2008
Miami Yacht Club
Miami, FL
By John McKnight, Hobie 20

The rain was coming down in buckets during boat set up and registration. Everyone was huddled under the large blue canopy on the patio of the MYC (Miami Yacht Club) staring out blankly at the deluge. It had been raining all week, and the forecast was for more of the same all weekend. I almost didn't even bother to drive down to the yacht club. W [b]
hen it started this drenching, I was thinking PRO, Jaan Roots, would surely call this madness off and postpone the regatta. Even if he didn't call it off, I was thinking, I don't need to bob around all weekend getting soaked to the skin and dodge lightning bolts. This is insanity, I was thinking. I run 12 races a year myself and I would have sent everybody packing when I heard the first thunder. But Jaan just put up the postponement flag and waited. He told me he was going to run the regatta as long as it wasn't lightning. Boy, am I glad he waited.

We ended up having one of the best two day regattas I have been to in a long time. About 11 AM the rain let up, and the rest of the day all we got was a couple of sprinkles. How did he know? Jaan Roots and Leandro Spina resurrected the Mark Albury Regatta after about a 6 year hiatus. They had spent bunches of time planning and organizing this regatta, and they weren't going to give it up that easily. They had planned a very unique day of catamaran racing for Saturday. I had never done anything like it. We sailed a series of four mini distance races between the causeways that connect Miami to Miami Beach. It was sort of like an urban steeplechase. I have been sailing in Miami for 28 years, and I got to sail in places I had never attempted to go before. The first race was between the Venetian Causeway and 79 Street Causeway. We actually raced under the big bridge on the Julia Tuttle Causeway. After that race was over, the race committee passed out sandwiches and snacks to all the participants. We ate lunch on our boats while we bobbed around. After lunch the fleet sailed through a draw bridge. Then the RC started the next race which was sailed between the 79 St. Causeway and the Broad Causeway. We zipped by the ritzy Normandy Shores and Indian Creek enclaves. The winds were great, with double and single trapezing. Each race was taking about 40 minutes. We went again in mass back under the draw bridge and started the third race of the day abeam North Bay Village. This race wound its way circuitously through the bays and finished back by the Venetian Causeway. After another drawbridge transit, we positioned for the fourth race of the day. This was the shortest race of the day. It started beside Star Island (home of the rich and famous in Miami), rounded Monument Island, and finished back at the MYC dock. The whole day was a blast. It was a challenge. It was something different. It was something new. You had to read the detailed race instructions carefully. You had to pay strict attention to the flags the RC boat was flying. You had to read your chart. You had to navigate. You had to communicate carefully with your crew. You had to work as a team. It was a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. It was fun.

Sunday we did three traditional buoy races on the Miramar course which is just north of the Venetian Causeway, not far from the yacht club. The RC used a windward/leeward course with a gate at the bottom of the course. Each race was about 45 minutes. The weather was very nice with 10 to 12 knot breeze all day. We double trapped on the windward legs and did some Wild Thing downwind. Some fun! My crew Dave Tardif was all over the boat. He was trying his best to get the most speed out of the boat. Dave normally skippers his own H-16, but he was helping me out this weekend.

There were 10 boats competing in the regatta. There were at least three other boats which were registered, but did not show. I guess weather was a consideration. The boats in the regatta were two Hobie 20s, three Hobie 16s, two of which had spinnakers, one Tornado, one Nacra F-18, one Nacra 5.8, one Mystere, and a Prindle 16. The racers received lots of goodies for their entry fee. Each participant got a collared pullover shirt which is made out of bamboo. When I first heard bamboo, I thought it sounded like some kind of torture device. But they are actually very soft and quite nice. If you registered early, you also got another very nice synthetic T-shirt. The crews were fed well all weekend. You got breakfast both days. You got lunch handed to you on the water both days. You got a buffet dinner Sunday after the races. And you got free beer both days after the races. The trophies for the weekend were plentiful to say the least. They gave out individual metals for first, second, and third in each individual race during the weekend. There were seven races. They gave out top three trophies for the combined Saturday races. They gave out top three trophies for the combined Sunday buoy races. Then they gave out top three trophies for all the combined races for the whole weekend. Dave and I each came home with a combination of eight medals and trophies for the weekend. We felt like Michael Phelps with all the medals hanging around our necks at the award ceremony. The weekend was well worth it considering all the goodies that came along with some fantastic racing. The complete results can be found on the MYC website at

This annual regatta is a memorial regatta in recognition of the many achievements of Mark Albury. You can read all about the Miami catamaran sailing and racing pioneer, Mark Albury, on the MYC website. What made this regatta special was that Mark Albury's twin sons, Mark and Dave, along with their extended families were present at the regatta. The families were recognized at the awards ceremony. Dave Albury raced in the regatta on Marty Black's Nacra 5.8. Dave still has the family touch; they were flying on the N-5.8.

Kenny Pierce and Leon won the regatta overall sailing on a Nacra F-18. They also won the perpetual Mark Albury Trophy which was awarded to the first boat in the last race on Saturday. Leandro Spina with Jamie Livingston and Dave Albury Jr., took second place overall on Jamie's Tornado. Dave Tardif and I took third place for the regatta on my Hobie 20. Leandro and Dave Jr. had a mishap when they somehow flipped the Tornado after the last race on Sunday. Dave fell right through the mainsail, ripping a huge hole in the large window. At least they waited until the races were over.

Many thanks to Jaan Roots and his race committee for a well organized regatta. Here are the hard working folks who put on this regatta. RC: Jaan Roots, PRO; Mark Boat: Brian Edenfeld, Cynthia Palmer, Mike Dougherty, and Mr. Spina. Signal Boat: Gus & Ivette Zuloaga, Donita Leavitt, Tricia Walker, Veronique Duncan, Lee Hertz. Registration/Hospitality: April Wegman, Charlie Marrich, Tamme Flood. Protest: Sean Ferrell. Thanks to all. I'll be back next year for sure.