Mermaid Regatta Sailors Coast To Finish Line
By Sue DeWerff // October 6, 2012
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.
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.