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Westport Regatta sets sail Aug. 1

WESTPORT - The 12th annual Westport Challenge Sail Regatta is set to set sail on Lake Champlain, Saturday, Aug. 1.

The race has become a perennial favorite in Westport, where boats of all shapes and sizes make their summer home on the lake.

"It's hard to believe that just 12 years ago, only seven boats participated in this race, and today we may have more than 20," remarked race organizer Dee Carroll. "My favorite part of the race is seeing all the sails filling the bay."

More than 20 boats in three divisions including Class-A, Class-B, J-24 Class, and Campers, will sail towards Barber's Point, then over to Scotch Bonnet on the Vermont shore and then back to the Westport Marina.

"There's something very pure in harnessing the wind, then throw in a race, fun and competition and it makes for a great social event," added Peter Brooks of Brooks-Reineman Group of Merrill Lynch, who has sponsored the race for the last five years. "Westport is a great summer community and this is another event that helps put it on the map as another place to be in the summer and adds another layer of beauty to an already beautiful scene."

After the larger boats are out on their course, eight Lightning Class boats from Camps Dudley and Pok-O-MacCready compete against each other using a straight-line course for the winning team trophy.

The event draws sailors from Port Henry, Willsboro and Westport, N.Y. as well as Point Bay, Vt., all of whom race for the chance to add their name to the Brooks Reinemann Group of Merrill Lynch for perpetual Regatta Cups.

"This is a fun race for novice and experienced sailors," said Carroll. "Almost everyone who participates in the Regatta makes a day of it. After the race there's a social hour, where the winners are announced, and many of the sailors opt to spend the night or the rest of the weekend in Westport."

The Regatta begins with the captain's meeting at 9:30 a.m., and the race begins when the Class-A boats set sail at 10:45 a.m. The Class-B boats will take to the water at 11 a.m., followed by the J-24 Class, at 11:15 a.m., and the Campers at 11:30 a.m. The awards will be presented at 4 p.m. The first place winners will have their names and boat names engraved on the perpetual cups, displayed in The Galley year to year.

For more information about the Westport Challenge Regatta, log on to www.westportmarina.com.

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