With boating season warming up on the Gulf Coast, thoughts are turning to cruising destinations with white sand beaches or docking up at waterfront seafood restaurants with friends and family. While everyone has their favorite port of call, sailing regattas held throughout the Gulf Coast are often overlooked as cruising destinations. Whether you own a sailboat or have always been inclined to powerboats, these events offer an unmatched boating experience as an on-the-water spectator to the action. Afterwards, the marinas and yacht clubs fill for the legendary post-regatta parties with their live music, food and sailors from throughout the Gulf Coast. These regattas should be on your radar for 2014, and all have facilities to accommodate transient cruisers.
Dauphin Island Race April 26-27
Over 100 sailboats participate in this regatta, which has become an institution on Mobile Bay. In 2014, competitors start at Mobile Yacht Club near the entrance to the Dog River and sail to Dauphin Island. The barrier island is then host to a seemingly unending array of festivities for the sailors and “racer chasers” until the return race the next day.