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Bird Key Yacht Club races and cheers on sailboats in annual Regatta

The Bird Key Regatta was on April 13.
The Bird Key Regatta was on April 13.
Photo by Petra Rivera
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The sun was shining bright on Sarasota Bay as dedicated sailors from around the area prepared for one of the most anticipated events of the year at Bird Key Yacht Club — the Sarasota Bay Cup.

The regatta drew more than 60 boats and was held on April 13. Club members shared that this weekend represents everything that the club stands for: boating, Sarasota and friendship.

Teams comprise residents from Sarasota, Longboat and even Venice. 

The Fruition team led by William Gately traveled from Venice to compete in the regatta. Fruition won first place in the PHRF cruiser category. This team has competed in the Bird Key Regatta for years and said no other club beats the camaraderie they get while sailing together at Bird Key.

Team "Fruition" in the Bird Key Regatta on April 13.
Photo by Petra Rivera

The club also hosted a party the night before as a chance for club members to mingle with friends and check out the competition. The awards ceremony was hosted the night of April 13 after the races.

Rear Commodore Tony Britt never thought he would be a part of a club, but after joining the Bird Key Yacht Club, he couldn’t help but participate in the active community.

“We call ourselves the cheerers of Sarasota,” said Britt. “There is nothing like the community here. Everyone is laid-back and super humble about their past. Most of our members are former CEOs of their companies, but what I like about the club is that we can leave all that behind when we come in here. It is like entering into your best friend’s living room.”

The Bird Key Regatta was on April 13.
Photo by Petra Rivera

Britt said since the club is smaller than most in the area this fosters a close-knit and casual atmosphere where people can set aside their differences and connect. The community supports friends through their common interests and love for boating.

The Bird Key Regatta was on April 13.
Photo by Petra Rivera

Many club members who weren’t sailing decided to watch the action of the races on spectator boats. Debra Landesberg said that after watching it for the first time last year, it has become a tradition to look forward to every year.

Michael Kutner and Cynthia Swanson shared a spectator boat with their captain for the day, Aldean Keyser. They bonded over the close action of the racing sailboats and their common interests in the arts, skiing and boating. 

“When we were touring all the clubs in Sarasota, we noticed that Bird Key’s motto is ‘anchored in friendship,’” said Kutner. “We ended up meeting a woman here who happened to be the commodore then. She was so welcoming and kind and just everything that the motto described. It was a no-brainer after meeting her to join Bird Key. This continues to be true with every person we meet here.”



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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