By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- The Stuart Sailfish Regatta, an event that goes back decades to the 1960s, takes to the water once again on April 20.
Organizers of the event are expecting to lure tens of thousands of spectators to Martin County for the weekend as 75 teams of race boat owners and drivers come to compete in the two-day event.
The 1.1-mile race will take place on April 20 and April 21 in the Indian River off the north side of the Stuart Causeway.
Spectators will be able to watch the racing action from the top of the Stuart Causeway, and grandstand seating will also be available. The causeway will be closed to traffic from 7 p.m. April 19 to 9 p.m. April 21. Beach visitors will need to travel an alternate route.
As for parking, there will be ample parking close to the race, with shuttle service provided for free. The largest designated parking area is Stuart's Witham Air Field, located five minutes from the Regatta's entrance.
Among the drivers to watch is Brandon Kennedy, who at 20 years old is also one of the youngest to compete. Mr. Kennedy is a fourth-generation race car driver who has been inducted twice into the American Power Boat Association Hall of Champions. He currently holds multiple championships and two world records for the fastest time in the 1.5 litre class.
The regatta will be open to 10 classes of inboards, outboards and, for the first time this year, the new P1 power-stock class.
The race is sanctioned by the American Power Boast Association.
But there will be more than just racing going on. Also available is Vintage Alley, which this year is coordinated by Rusty Sedlak, past president of the Stuart Sailfish Regatta.
There will be several boats on display showing the evolution of race boats, and feature vintage crafts of all kinds.
There will also be a CarPro Auto Show and a free kid's zone coordinated by the Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast.
The designated charities for this regatta are the Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast, U.S. Sailing Center and the Maritime and Classic Boat Museum.
There will even be the Miss Corona Light Contest, which will be open to the general public, and many vendors offering boats and marine-related supplies, luxury auto displays and home-building suppliers.
Tickets to the regatta are available for $12 at all branches of Seacoast National Bank and Chillin the Most restaurant located on Hutchinson Island across from Jensen Beach. Weekend gate entrance is $15 per person each day and children 10 years old and under are free. Military personnel with military identification are $10. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
It is important to remember that no cooler or pets are allowed at the event. This event is sponsored by dozens of businesses and individuals.
For more information on the event, go to www.stuartsailfishregatta.org.