Sailors Mail Bag

April 2024 - Sail Fleet Capt. Todd Stebleton

Although small, the sailing community at Halifax River Yacht Club is very active. Not only does the HRYC Sailing Committee coordinate the Commodore’s Cup offshore sailing series, it works closely with other area sailing clubs, such as Halifax Sailing Association, Smyrna Yacht Club, and St. Augustine Yacht Club, to promote youth programs and inshore racing events.

As with yacht clubs and sailing organizations throughout the country, HRYC and local club fleets are shrinking. The reasons are many, but among them are the aging owners of sailboats and the lack of younger sailors to fill the void left by retiring sailors. The good news is youth sailing programs in our area are gaining popularity and are growing rapidly. The bad news is the current lack of young(ish) sailboat owners to participate until the young dinghy sailors can fill the ranks in the big boat fleets as both crew and owners of racing boats.

As members of a boating club, many of us know owners of sailboats who may not get their boats out of the slip as often as they would like. Given the opportunity to participate in racing can present many challenges to a boat owner. Among them, the lack of crew and little understanding of the racing rules of sailing. Our sailing community can assist with these problems for any sailor wanting to give it a try. Our schedule is filled with opportunities to build friendships and sharpen sailing skills and is open to members and nonmembers alike. Although competitive, our offshore sailors welcome inexperienced and seasoned racers alike.

Opportunities for sailors abound in our area from adult and youth sailing classes at Halifax Sailing Association to world class regattas bringing hundreds of sailors to central Florida.  Offshore sailors can compete in short day races off Ponce Inlet or longer races to Charleston.  Whatever their skill level, local sailors or soon to be sailors, will find a place in our community.

Anyone wanting more information about local sailing opportunities is encouraged to contact me at (386) 547-3555 or Karen Mowrey at HRYC at (386) 255-7459.

March 2024 - Sail Fleet Capt. Todd Stebleton

The 2024 offshore sailing season is just around the corner and there is a great deal to look forward to. St. Augustine Yacht Cub kicks off the season with St. Augustine Race Week April 11-13 followed April 19-21 by the Lipton Cup hosted by the Smyrna Yacht Club. To our offshore racers, these are two of the biggest events of the season and are included in the Halifax River Yacht Club Commodore’s Cup series.

The Commodore’s Cup series was founded by HRYC member Don Shaw in the 1980’s as a way to foster healthy competition and friendships in the local sailing fleet. It consists of an entire season of offshore races including short day races, special events to recognize local sailors young and old, as well as a long distance, overnight race to St. Augustine.

Although not specifically part of the Commodore’s Cup series, the GulfStreamer race to Charleston, South Carolina will take place Memorial Day weekend 2024. The May 24 start off of Ponce Inlet draws east coast sailors from Miami to Charleston to compete against local HRYC sailors in this unique event.

All members of HRYC are encouraged to support the sailors throughout the season by keeping an eye on the race schedule. Of particular note are the rum parties and post-race parties that are part of some races. All members of the Club are encouraged to attend these shoreside events to support the racing community and the Club. Some of these events will take place at the HRYC Tiki Bar and others will take place at other local clubs.

Our first post-race event will be following the May 11, 2024 race. The HRYC Tiki Bar will welcome the sailors from competing boats to share a beer and get acquainted. Due to weather on that day, it is difficult to say exactly what time the sailors will be back to the club, but 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. is a pretty good guess. If members arrive before the sailors, there is always a cold beer to keep you company until we get back. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Title:  2021 Sailing Season Underway -- Volunteer Boaters Needed

The 2021 sailing season got off to an exciting start Saturday April 10th with five sailboats competing in blustery conditions on the ocean off Ponce Inlet in the first two races of the HRYC Commodore's Cup series.  Sailing a four-nautical mile upwind/downwind course in winds over 20 kts, Obsession, skippered by Norman Church led the way in the Performance Class, with Smyrna Yacht Club's Sailaway, skippered by Phillip Cornet, finishing first in the cruising class. A tip of the cap to HRYC Vice Commodore JR Redigan, who crewed onboard Godspeed in the cruising class, and a BIG thank-you to Mac Smith aboard Stardust, who served as committee boat.

Boaters Needed: Do you have a boat and are looking for a way to volunteer support a club activity?  Please consider serving once a month as a race committee boat -- helping set and retrieve the floating turn markers that are critical to successful Commodore's Cup races.  Sailing Committee Chair Norman Church is looking for several volunteer boaters to travel near-shore on the ocean up to the Daytona Main Street Pier, Racing's North Turn, and/or south to Smyrna Beach's Main Street to place/retrieve markers before/after the sailboat races. Please contact Norm if you can help.

HRYC's next ocean sailboat race is the Gulfstreamer held over Memorial Day weekend, with a near-shore race from Ponce Inlet to Daytona's Main Street pier, immediately followed by the offshore race out to the Gulfstream and up to Charleston, South Carolina.  It's not too late to sign up, either as a participant boat or to cheer on the crews as they sail offshore and arrive in Charleston harbor.

The Club is pleased to announce the 2021 Junior Sailing Camp - Summer Sessions, for Boys & Girls Ages 8 - 16. Sessions are available the weeks of June 14, June 21, June 28 and July 12, July 19, July 26.  Registration is not yet open, but will be soon. Please check the club website for additional information.

Finally, we'd like to welcome a "Sailor's Mailbag" feature to the Sailing Corner, where we'll answer your questions about sailing. Send your queries to: and we'll answer them in future Sailing Corner articles.