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An interview with Gabriela Cumbie on the Caterwaul Regatta Fall 2022

by David Schmidt 1 Nov 2022 15:00 GMT November 4-6, 2022
Post-racing sunset colors at the Caterwaul Regatta © Image courtesy of the Caterwaul Regatta Fall 2022

Simply put, fast is fun. It always has been, and it always will be. This truism has been known and practiced by beach-cat sailors for decades, many of whom have been flying hulls, hanging off of trap wires, and—as of late—flying around on hydrofoils. All of this will be on display at the Caterwaul Regatta Fall 2022 (November 4-6), which will be hosted by the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club in Panama City, Florida.

According to the Caterwaul Regatta Fall 2022 NOR, the event is open to all catamarans that measure in below 22 feet, LOA, that have a valid Basic Portsmouth Number (under the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system). Racing is set to unfurl on the waters of St. Andrews Bay, and the race committee hopes to score as many races as possible.

If you love speed, beach cats, and the chance to rack up some startling-line and racecourse experience, the Caterwaul Regatta Fall 2022 should be on your radar.

I checked in with Gabriela Cumbie, regatta co-chair, to learn more about this exciting multihull event.

Can you please give us a bit of history on the Caterwaul Regatta, its culture, the kind of sailors one would expect to meet there, as well as where the event draws its colorful name?

The Caterwaul Regatta was originally founded and organized by Christine Reiss 2010 and is a play on name of the shrill noise a cat makes.

We are looking forward to welcoming sailors from across the United States and Canada to the beautiful waters of St. Andrews Bay. You can expect a wonderful group of fun-loving and hard-sailing competitors to participate.

The St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club does a terrific job at providing a warm welcome and a good time.

How many boats are you expecting on the starting line?

We are expecting between 20-40 sailors at the start line, and will have two groups, foiling and non-foiling.

Weather-wise, what kind conditions can sailors expect to encounter off of Panama City in early November? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

To be frank, a chamber of commerce week. November is one of our most beautiful months of the year with wonderful breeze and moderate temperatures.

As with every regatta, the worst-case scenario is either no wind or more than is safe. We will keep a diligent eye on the weather.

What’s the reason for capping the LOA for entrants at 22’?

The regatta is geared towards boats that can be beached, aka, beach cats.

What kind of racecourses can competitors expect to encounter? Windward-Leewards, triangles, or will you leverage islands and nearby geography to create “tour” style courses? Also, how many races are you hoping to administer each day?

We are so fortunate to live in a bay that has deep, flat water. We will run a windward-leeward course in the “big bay” close to Shell Island.

According to our PRO William Zehner, he hopes to “run as many races as possible each day.”

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting and local sailors, what would be it?

Come early. Not only to practice, but also to enjoy our town. Panama City is a thriving town that has so much to offer within a mile of the club.

Are there any new additions or changes to the 2022 regatta, compared to previous editions?

While we haven’t made changes to the regatta itself, competitors have started arriving earlier in the week each year.

Can you tell us about any recent steps that the regatta has taken to reduce its environmental footprint or otherwise “green-up” ?

One major change to our regatta is that we do as much as possible online and keep our printing to a bare minimum. Our competitors, and club members alike, have a deep respect for the surrounding environment and do everything possible to keep it pristine.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in November! The Caterwaul Regatta is one of our favorite events of the year that allows us to see old friends and make some new ones. We’d like to welcome anyone who would like to participate to join us.

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