Plans advance for Pensacola Yacht Club’s 2nd Annual Melges 24 Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for the Bushwhacker Cup

August 27, 2020 - Pensacola FL, USA - The Pensacola Yacht Club’s Race Organizing Committee is moving forward with plans to host the 2nd Annual Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for the "Bushwhacker Cup". The 2020 event is scheduled for November 13-15. This championship event will be right in phase for boats entering the Bacardi Winter Series to get more championship level competition under their keels.

“We are still holding out for those dates,” said Regatta Chairman Tom Pace, “however, the regatta will be quite different from 2019 because we will be partying under Florida, Escambia County and Pensacola Covid-19 social mandates. Entries may be limited; social activities will be reduced.”

“We are planning our operations based on city and club mandates now in force. Certainly, we hope that these requirements will be relaxed by November. However, we need to plan for what we have now and see which way the wind blows and adjust our sails accordingly. We need a minimum of 20 competitors for a viable regatta. And we may be forced to limit the maximum based on social gathering restrictions in force in mid-November.”

The Pensacola committee will be flexible to meet changing conditions. Under guidelines and restrictions as of today [Aug 27], the event is shaping up this way:

  • All competitors and their guests must sign a ‘Release from Covid-19 Liability” form.
  • All competitors and their guests must have a daily temperature check. 
  • Local masking, social distancing rules and group size restrictions will be enforced. 
  • The PYC Clubhouse, Watson Center and the pool area are open for PYC members only.
  • Tables and outside bar service will set up under a tent on the patio.
  • Post-Race Bushwhackers will be served under social distancing guidelines.
  • No group meals will be provided.
  • Porta-Potties and hand washing stations will be available, but shower facilities will not.
  • No formal ‘live’ competitor or coach meetings will be required. Zoom may be used.
  • An informal Covid-safe group gathering for a clinic “chalk talk” instruction may be held.
  • The awards ceremony will be under the tent, with refreshments and social distancing. 
  • Boats and trailers will be stored in assigned spaces, at socially safe distances apart.
  • Boats will be launched on a prearranged schedule. 
  • Only one boat/crew will be allowed in the launch zone at a time.
  • MarkSetBots may be used to help reduce RC size and lower volunteer requirements.
  • The “Go-No Go” decision date is no later than Sept 30th, 45 days ahead of the regatta.  

The skippers and crews from the 28 Melges 24s who raced in the Inaugural Bushwhacker Cup in 2019 know and will tell you that Pensacola Yacht Club will be doing its best to provide sailors with a quality venue for these championships. PRO Hal smith and the race committee will make sure the racing is fair, up to the high standard sailors have come to expect in Pensacola. The prizes will be special and the Bushwhackers as always, cold and refreshing.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said, “Pensacola wants sailors from across the nation to know that they are welcome here. We are being careful and safe, but we want to keep our city open and continue to host outdoor events like championship level regattas. Our bay proved to be the perfect training site for our America’s Cup team, American Magic, and it is perfect for events like the Melges 24 Class Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championships for the Bushwhacker Cup. Come catch the magic of racing in Pensacola.” 

Chairman Pace added, “All Melges 24’s are invited to enter the regatta at YACHT SCORING . If entries must be limited, teams will be invited based on the time of their registration. Come to Pensacola early for some practice on Pensacola Bay. Pensacola YC has a 22-acre campus with plenty of free boat storage space available for Melges 24’s both before and after the regatta.” 


About Sailing on Pensacola Bay

Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound are naturally protected by Santa Rosa Island to the south. The pass to the Gulf of Mexico is located to the southwest, across from the Naval Air Station Pensacola and divides the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island from the western park on Perdido Key.

The racing area is a matter of minutes from the Bayou Chico channel and the Pensacola YC marina. That’s close racing… more racing and less transit time.

In summer months, sailors find a daily sea breeze that builds from a mid-day southeasterly to the afternoon 12-15 knot southwesterly they love. In other seasons, the winds are determined by frontal passages, temperature variables, sunshine and other factors. Tides are minimal, about one foot to one and a half feet.

Pensacola Bay is naturally deep with a white sand bottom. The water is clean, seasonally warm and just choppy in a breeze, but not often rough. The east-west shoreline in downtown Pensacola to the north is perfect for stadium regatta spectating.

All sailors— race or cruise— are invited to come sail on Pensacola Bay. Organizers of both amateur regional, national or international sailing championships and professional sailing events should contact Pensacola Yacht Club to discuss racing on beautiful Pensacola Bay.

The NYYC America's Cup team, American Magic, chose to train in the 'Mule' on Pensacola Bay in the fall and winter of 2018-19. They returned to Pensacola train in the AC75 'Defiant' in 2019-20 before heading to New Zealand after the first Prada Cup race series in Sardinia was cancelled.

Pensacola Yacht Club, the South's Finest—

Pensacola Yacht Club is a championship sailing venue on approximately 22 acres at the mouth of Bayou Chico just west of downtown Pensacola, Florida. Part of that area is approximately 250 feet of sparkling white beachfront property on Pensacola Bay adjacent to the club marina in Bayou Chico. 

PYC has been the site of numerous one design and handicap championships over the years. These include the 2000 USODA Nationals, and the inaugural Gulf Coast Championships in 2010 and the highly successful 2013 USODA Southeast Optimist Championships and the 2015 USODA Optimist National Championships which drew 320 sailors from 12 foreign countries and the USA to the competition. The 2018 Optimist Nationals, just completed, drew 301 sailors and featured an opening ceremony keynote presentation by the team from the AC36 NYYC American Magic Challenge. 

PYC hosts the Junior Olympic Sailing Festival every year near the Fourth of July. PYC hosted the US Sailing Single Handed Championships in 2010. The club hosted several Flying Tiger East Coast Championships, and the Flying Tiger Nationals were held at PYC in 2011. The club hosted the Ultimate 20 Nationals in 2012, and the Thistle Nationals in 2011. In 2009, PYC hosted both the Corsair Nationals and the Snipe Nationals. Also in 2009, PYC hosted the Junior Lipton Championship, the Gulf Yachting Association’s Junior Championship.

In 2019 PYC hosted the Thistle Class Southeast Championship in April, the 2019 Junior Olympic Sailing Festival presented by BBVA Compass in June, the Flying Scot North American Championship in July and will host the Melges 24 Bushwhacker Cup — the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Championship— in November. PYC stages local regattas throughout the year and offers a youth Summer Sailing Camp in the summer. 

See Pensacola Yacht Club

All the news will be posted on Yachtscoring andthe event website, Facebook on  PYCBushwhackerCup, and twitter at BushwhackerCup   #bushwhackercup.  The complete entry list is at Bushwhacker Cup Entries.


For More Information 

Tom Pace, Jr. — PYC Vice Commodore and Regatta Chairman
Mobile: 850-572-6727

Hal Smith— PRO 
Mobile: 864-275-6290

Talbot Wilson— Regatta Marketing & Publicity
Mobile: 850-217-7138

Catch the Magic... Racing for the 2nd annual Bushwhacker Cup and the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Championships is scheduled for Nov 13-15 on Pensacola Bay. Pensacola YC your host served 43 gallons of world famous bushwhackers in 2019. Race Hard — Play Hard!

Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon [USA 825] with crew Bruce Ayres, George Peet, Chelsesa Simms and Stars+Stripes USA CEO/skipper Mike Buckley won the inaugural Bushwhacker Cup with scores of 2-1-2-5-1 for 11 points.

Bora Gulari [USA820] with his crew of Kyle Navin, Norman Berge, Ian Liberty and American Magic’s CEO/Skipper Terry Hutchinson stood second with a 4-5-1-2-2 record and 14 points.

Kelly Shannon, a Lake Lanier Sailing Club sailor from the Atlanta GA area, sailed Shaka [USA 801] to third place with scores of 3-4-3-4-5 for 20 points. Sailing with Shannon were Ben Lynch, Elizabeth Lynch, Jackson Benvenutti, and Tommy Sawchuck.