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Second Annual Catboat Rendezvous Key Largo, FL, Feb. 15-17 By Wavy Davy Adamusko and First Mate Lindi Photos courtesy Upper Keys Sailing Club

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rendezvous of catboats and Nonsuch boats at the Upper Keys Sailing Club on President’s Day weekend played a hand of three windy wild card days to make a success of the event. Twenty boats from near and far gathered to sail on Buttonwood Sound together and celebrate their love of sailing. Many more sailors attended without their boats to take in the warm winds and waters of the Keys and join in the activities. Sailing, conversations, good food and drinks made for a fine time, despite the unusual blustery winds the weatherman dealt us. The Catboats ranged in size from a 14-foot Handy Cat to a 33-foot Nonsuch. The smaller, shallow-draft catboats formed a flotilla late Friday morning and headed off north into the Everglades wilderness to sail among the mangrove keys on vivid, green warm waters. It was a sailor’s delight to have the whole of Florida Bay to ourselves. Ominous dark clouds to the north gave the skies a unique tension to our delight. Standing around kneedeep off the beach, the local cat boaters listened to the storm stories told by visitors from Massachusetts and their recent blizzard and the New Jersey gang tell of Hurricane Sandy and how it affected them. Sometimes it feels like the “south of Florida” climate is the best of all possible worlds for boating when compared to stories from the North. Locals had to explain to visitors that it was not normal to have any bad days during winter on Key Largo. The turbulent winds and skies were an anomaly in winter sailing wonderland. After an hour or so, the winds shifted, and we headed back for Happiest Hour at the clubhouse. On Saturday, it was clear and blustery—a perfect day for the Nonsuch to race in 15- to 20-knot north breezes. We decided to start racing at noon to allow for tamer air before the predicted heavier blow coming later. Someone called this just right, and we were ready to return to the slips at the sailing club just when the wild winds arrived. Eighty sailors enjoyed an evening banquet served by the kitchen volunteers at the club. A brief tribute was held to commemorate the life of Dave Olson, a club member who recently passed away. Dave was very instrumental in building the interest in Nonsuch and Catboats in the Upper Keys. On Sunday, the participants gathered for breakfast in the clubhouse, hung out to make conversation and discuss catboating matters, plan ahead for the next rendezvous, check out and leave for home. The memories and plain old feeling of being fortunate to be alive near the water and to enjoy our sailboats among friends was the ultimate reward for the best catboat rendezvous south of Florida yet. Many thanks to our sponsors who contributed to the success of this event: The Fish House/Encore Restaurants, Publix, Friends of Dave Olson, The Pelican Cottages, Marshall Marine, Arey’s Pond Catboats, and Bridgman Communications. 40

April 2013

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