Sep 14, 2017

Juana Good Time Regatta 2017

Report & pics sent by Juana Rudzki /  www.juanaspagodas.com
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Juana Good Time? Even with a Looming Hurricane!!
After 27 years of throwing this Juana Good Time Regatta, I can honestly say it may have been
both the worst and best ever this year. Hurricane Irma was barreling up the Florida peninsula
and threatening our area with one of the most powerful and scariest storms in history. Debate
was on, during that week before, as to whether we should cancel, reschedule, or go on with
the show. It appeared that Navarre Beach area would be spared of the worst of it, but as the
week progressed, the westwardly shifts had us concerned.

With over 80 boats pre-registered
and promises of blue skies and perfect winds in the teens, we decided to take our chances
and go on with the show. And our decision proved to be a wise one, as we ended up with
some of the most amazing conditions to date and a Good Time was definitely had by all!
Friday night “Late Registration and Smooth Sailing” party saw the Juana’s Pagodas property
covered up! Registration went smoothly and quickly as the party thickened, with Blue Chair
Bay Rum girls handing out free shots, Sailors’ Grill’s chef putting out a spread of munchies,
and excited old sailing friends and new catching up on the happenings since the previous
year’s regatta. It’s become an Old Home Week for lovers of multihull sailing. Sailor after sailor

praised us on the decision to keep the race going, as it is the highlight of their year.

Crystal clear blue skies, brisk NE winds in the teens, and sunshine greeted us Saturday
morning and continued steadily throughout the day. Snapping sails and clanging halyards
could be heard over the excited chatter of racers, while faces were stuffed with fresh fruit,
pastries, and steaming coffee - and maybe a Bloody Mary and mimosa or two - while awaiting
the 10am Skipper’s Meeting. After I gave the usual, “thanks for parking in the far lot, using
ashtrays and garbage cans, tipping your bartenders,” along with safety and committee boat
descriptions and my usual, “No whining, you must have a GOOD TIME” speech, Ashley
Sukalski, Race Committee Chair, went over the classes and other race descriptions, promising
to meet with any of the beginners to clarify questions concerning starting flags, buoys, or any
other such issues after the meeting, (this is a race where we emphasize a “good time” and
although we have plenty of serious racers and equipment, we also welcome first timers and
those who are just getting into the sport. It really is the perfect venue for both!).

Sails painted the Santa Rosa Sound in color as 90+ multihulls, from small beach cats to tris
and cruisers, pulled off the white sand beaches and lined up for the start. Depending on boat
class, sailors went either almost to the Pensacola Beach Bridge and back, or a portion of the
way there, for Saturday’s distance racing. I personally compete in the “WAVE Timed Races”
for experienced sailors without a boat. We use our well warn and weary rental WAVES, (thank
you Key Sailing for loaning yours too!) and do a series of timed races around buoys, taking
turns this year among 16 people with 3 different boats. It’s become a great way to get people
turned on to the sport of racing, and it’s a way to be involved even if you don’t own a boat, (my
husband and son sail our cruising Gemini cat, but I like to do my own thing while being able to
stay on the property throughout the event). Aside from one boat’s rudders breaking, leading
them to need a car rescue from the beautiful Gulf National Seashore, all sailed back safe,
suntanned and happy, though there were plenty pitch-pole and close-call stories to expound
on over Sailors’ Grill’s delicious BBQ sandwich spread, with Blue Chair Bay Rum hotties, doling
out free shots once again. Most everyone ended up with a great door prize, and deck dancing
moved under the Pagoda once the show-band “Shenanigans” got jamming. Let the dancing
continue!

Hurricane Irma continued her northerly route and cleared us of the worst concerns, but
predicted 40+ knot winds, along with the anxiousness of many who needed to head home and
secure their lives, helped us decide to cancel Sunday’s triangle races. And after a truly
exceptional day of sailing Saturday, nobody complained, especially when we promised another
continental breakfast before hand-crafted pottery awards, followed by promises to send them
away full on subs donated by our local sponsor All American Heroes.

So although it had the potential as one of the worst years years due to the ominous Hurricane
Irma, it ended up one of the best in that Irma gave us lovely steady breezes and blue skies
Saturday, and all walked away with beaming smiles and promises to return next year, the
weekend after Labor Day, as usual, for the 28th Annual Juana Good Time Regatta.
Note: The Hobie 16 Nationals will be held at Juana’s Pagodas in Navarre Beach, Florida, the
week following next year’s 28th Annual Juana Good Time Regatta, 2018. Hope to see you
then!!!

Juana Rudzki,
www.juanaspagodas.com

Results here
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