Mermaid Regatta Sailors Coast To Finish Line

By  //  October 6, 2012

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Women Compete In Annual Race

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Though winds were light, conditions did not stop the enthusiasm of more than 30 female sailors who raced last weekend in one of Brevard’s oldest events — The 34th Mermaid Regatta.

More than 30 female sailors competed in last weekend’s 34th Mermaid Regatta sponsored by the Melbourne Yacht Club. (Image by Sue Dewerff)

After competing in six separate races about 2 miles in length during the two-day event, Rochelle Yates, skipper and co-owner of a J-24 boat named “J Mouse” prevailed as winner of the overall title and also took home the J-24 fleet trophy in the annual event.

Yates of Melbourne, 45, finished with an overall combined race time of 2 hours and 37 minutes.

“Though the conditions were without much wind, especially on Saturday, I am happy to have ended up getting through these races and finishing as well as I did,” Yates, a sailor since 2005, said. “There is nothing better than spending time on the water with my crew. I learn something new every time I am out there.”

The “More Cowbell,” skippered by Erin Walters and the “Moxie J.” captained by Susan Jackson finished as the second- and third-place finishers in the overall category.

The event, hosted by the Melbourne Yacht Club, was founded by longtime member and 69 year-old Eau Gallie resident, Rachelle Ross.

This year, “Sleighride”, a J-30 boat that Ross and her husband, Jerry, have owned for almost 35 years, was skippered by her friend Jan Crawford and was the winner of the PHRF (Performance Handicapped Rating Formula) race.

The national scoring system, similar to that of golf, is used to score races so that each entrant has an equal opportunity to win. This year’s event, themed as “Mermaid Pirates of the Caribbean,” saw the male members of the yacht club participate as advisors, spectators and entertainers at the club banquet held Saturday evening. The men dressed up to resemble female pirates at the catered buffet for all lady sailors and guests.

During the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, Jim Henry, the sailing coach for several of the women’s crews and long-time member of the club, was presented with the Walter Erben Award, an honor given each year to a deserving club member who has given of his or her time to promote sailing within the Melbourne Yacht Club organization.

The Melbourne Yacht Club will be hosting its annual Ocean Race on Oct. 13 and 14. The race will be open to all sailors with a PHRF rating issued by MYC or another recognized rating organization. Registration fee is $60, and includes ticket to dinner on Saturday evening. The regatta will be held offshore at Port Canaveral. All Spinnaker and non-spinnaker classes will sail a triangle course on Saturday and an “out and back” course on Sunday. For more information, contact event chairman Del Wiese at or 321-773-4884 or
The Fall Small Boat Regatta will be Oct. 20 and 21 will feature sunfish, laser and mono-hull type boats, sailing on the Indian River just south of the Eau Gallie Causeway near Ballard Park. Scoring for this race will be based on the Low Point System in Appendix A of the RRS. Ut is open to coed sailors. For information, call Lynde Edwards at 321-704-1413.