For the second year in a row the waters of Charlotte Bay FL USA are alive with 2.4mR sailboats. The CanAm (Canada/America) series is the brainchild of a number of North American 2.4mr sailors.
It all started a few years ago with talk around the boat park. Many of the sailors from both Canada and the USA were traveling to Florida to do some winter sailing. Unfortunately transiting to different locations often meant sailors would not participate as they had to rig and derig their boats multiple times. Boat storage between regattas was also an issue.
After some brainstorming and a lot help from Tony Pocklington (Edge Sailing) and Martin Holland of Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club (CHYC) the plan was put into action and in the winter of 2016/2017 the first of the CanAm Series took place. Immediately it was a hit.
The way it works is simple. Anyone can bring their boat to CHYC for the winter when they enter the series. It is composed of regattas from December to April approximately one month apart. You pay one fee (this year only $650.) and you are entered in all the regattas plus it covers your boat storage on site for the entire time. This is an unbelievable deal. If you can only participate in one or two of the series regattas then you are just charged an entry fee for those events only. Edge Sailing has a number of charter boats available for the occasional participant.
The sailing/racing gets underway with a warm-up regatta in Saint Petersburg FL. Although the St. Pete (Americas regatta) event is not included in the series scoring and has a separate $80 entry fee it is an event that has been up running for 22 years and I have personally sailed the 2.4mR there for the past 15 years.
On the Monday after the Americas event everyone moves to Port Charlotte/Charlotte Harbor for the first two of the CanAm regattas and the rest of the winter. The start off of the season works out to be 8 race days in 10 days. The boats are stored at CHYC with masts up ready to sail the next event. What a great way to begin racing in the warm Florida sunshine.
Charlotte Harbor/Port Charlotte is on the west coast of Florida and about 1-¼ hour drive south of Tampa / St. Petersburg and 2 ½ hours drive west of Miami. Close airports include Southwest FL International and Punta Gorda airport. The club was instrumental in hosting the 2012 IFDS Worlds and 2.4’s have sailed there ever since. There are facilities for able and disabled sailors, reasonably priced accommodation nearby, sunshine, warmth and good sailing. The race course is an easy sail from CHYC to the large harbour of Charlotte Bay.
The members and race committee at the club have to be some of the most friendly and inviting people I have ever met. The PRO at the events is Roger Strube and he has a very practiced and capable crew to help him. Roger knows these waters and he does a great job of keeping things moving quickly and working in the best interest of the racers. The events are geared around the racing but this is also a welcoming yacht club with great food, social drink and lots of talk of sailing.
This year an additional event was added to the roster. Although not part of the CanAm series scoring the first ever Western Hemisphere Championships is scheduled for February 21-23, 2018. With World Sailing’s blessing, the event will be used as ranking regatta for disabled sailors but is an open event for all. There will be a one-day clinic on February 20th and the 2 day February CanAm races will follow on February 24, 25. Six days of sailing including five days of great racing. If you can only get away once this winter then this is event to attend.
CanAm doesn’t mean international sailors cannot participate. Everyone is welcome and it may be a great excuse for you to escape some cold weather and come sail in Florida. Last year we had Megan Pascoe at the finale and just recently Bjornar Erikstad joined in the fun.
The events are geared to all levels of racing. Although we have some of the most experienced 2.4 sailors in the world it is also for people wanting to build on their experience and skill. There is a huge amount of knowledge around the docks and people are more than willing to share their expertise. If you have never sailed a 2.4mR boat before this is also a great place to try it out and learn.
I look forward to the next event and hope to see you there.
Dec 5-6 2017 CHYC Midwinters
Dec 8-10 2017 US Nationals
Jan 27-28 2018 Edge Midwinters
Feb 3-4 2018 Charlotte Harbor Regatta
Feb 20 2018 Training Clinic
Feb 21-23 2018 Western Hemisphere Championships
Feb 24-25 2018 CanAm # 4
Mar 28 2018 Racing Clinic
Mar 29-31 2018 CanAm Finale
CamAm Series info and entry:
Western Hemisphere Championships info and entry:
Charlotte Harbor Regatta info and entry:
2.4mR Boats, Tony Pocklington, Edge Sailing
Regatta Organizer, Martin Holland