Small Cats Take on Big Gulf



Bill Tennis

Bill Whitehurst sailing a Hobie 17 won the 2007 Round the Island Race, hosted by Florida's Fort Walton YC. The annual, 100-mile jaunt sends four multihull divisions around Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile-long barrier island located in the Gulf of Mexico between the cities of Pensacola and Destin. This was Whitehurts' second overall victory in the 21-year-old race. The 2007 race began shortly after dawn on June 15, and the 21-boat fleet took to Choctawhatchee Bay with a light, steady breeze. The boats clipped along eastward at 15 knots, making for an exciting spectator sight as the boats maneuvered through the bridge at Destin's East Pass against a strong, five-knot, incoming tide and continued into the Gulf of Mexico towards Pensacola Pass , located 50 miles to the west. The winds held steady and the entire fleet made it into Santa Rosa Sound by mid afternoon and began sailing east. First to finish just before 2:00 p.m. were Brian Lambert and Jamie Livingston in Lambert's CFR 20. Just 15 seconds later was Mike Kelley in his ARC 22. When the sun set, however, the winds died; the last boats didn't cross the finish line until after midnight.For results, click here. Photos by Bill Tennis Submitted by Shari S. Seaton, 2007 RTI Regatta Chairman & PROHome (850)243-2814e-mail