May 17, 2022

A Sailor in the Rye

Learn how sailing in the Orange Bowl Regatta helped Mac discover Shake-A-Leg

Learn how sailing in the Orange Bowl Regatta helped Mac discover Shake-A-Leg

by Mac Clifton

As a sailor in the community…

Orange Bowl is a time-honored tradition for youth sailing internationally. I can still remember crying on one of the half-inflated airbags of my Opti while my dad desperately tried to convince me that it wasn’t too windy, then forgetting my fear and gaining confidence as he told me how he sailed in this same regatta when he was young. I remember being so amazed—picturing my dad as a kid, 100 years ago, sailing a wooden Opti alongside dinosaurs in this. very. regatta. If he could go out there and sail in Orange Bowl when he was little, so could I! And I did! I came in dead last, but I finished. I sailed Orange Bowl, just like my dad! Now, as I return to the clear waters of Biscayne, not quite small enough to fit in an Opti, but able to coach my brother, I understand and see the awesome power behind this event. Besides drawing youth sailors who go on to be some of the top competitors in the world, Orange Bowl’s atmosphere on the ground and between races is exciting, sportsmanlike, and full of fun. You can’t walk from Shake-A-Leg’s hangar to the dock without a friendly hello or assistance offered! Since its start in 1945, Orange Bowl has created a unique legacy of comradery and fierce competition, this year drawing more than 700 boats from 20 countries. Coral Reef Yacht Club always does an incredible job organizing and hosting the event, with support from the whole community. It truly is an event that joins the generations and nations in our common obsession: sailing.

Discovering Shake through Orange Bowl…

Orange Bowl holds a special place in my heart because it is how I first discovered Shake-A-Leg. A year ago, I was coaching my sister as she sailed lasers when I was introduced to Harry and this incredible wonderland. As a sailor, daughter of a cancer survivor, and biomedical engineering student, this place seemed like a special haven created in a pocket of the universe just for me. Over the five days of the regatta, I got to know more and more about Shake and absolutely fell in love. The people who worked here are so genuine and gentle, and it is not only accessible but actively inviting to every single type of person. It doesn’t matter your age, background or experiences, Shake just seems completely intent on helping people achieve the impossible and become greater versions of themselves that wouldn’t have ever seemed possible. I have yet to find another place so accommodating that it can juggle 100+ boats for an esteemed regatta, run veterans fishing and boat-building programs, weekly youth outings for all abilities… and the list goes on! Shake-A-Leg is an oyster, situated right in Coconut Grove, just waiting to give the world its pearls.

Report on the event…

As the last regatta of the year, right in the middle of the holidays and the wake of covid, it’s a wonder that Orange Bowl was still able to draw over 700 boats from 20 countries! At Shake-A-Leg, we had a record number of lasers from places like China, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Canada, Germany, and more. The wind was just whispering on the first day, with none of the fleets getting a start off until the afternoon, but it filled in as the regatta progressed and all the fleets were able to get at least seven races in. In the Opti class, James Allgeier from Hampton Yacht Club came in first, followed by David Coates (LYC) and James Pine (SCYC/CERT). The laser class was split into 3 fleets: full rig, radial, and 4.7s. First place for the ILCA4 fleet was Roger Casellas with CNSJ followed by Stephen Roland Momeier (GCYSA/LYC) and Jack Bolton (Avalon Yacht Club). ILCA6 champion was Robby Meek from Severn Sailing Association/LYC followed by Kurt Stuebe (KBYC) and Tor Svendsen (SFYC). Benjamin Smith from Lauderdale Yacht Club came in first for ILCA7, followed by Humberto Porrata (KBYC) and Guthrie Braun (SPYC). In the 420 class champions were Peter Busch and Cam Spriggs from SDYC, followed by Enzo Menditto and Julien Waite (CRYC), and Chase Decker and Sophia Pearce (BCYC). Overall, it was five days of fierce competition and incredible fun!