Received the sad news that Rick White, legendary catamaran sailor and promoter has died at 79 at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, Florida among his favorite sailing grounds, the Florida Keys.
It's hard to overstate the good Rick did for beach catamaran sailing during his life. By the time I started sailing my first catamaran, the Hobie 18, in 1991 Rick White had literally "written the book" about how to sail it.
He is survived by his wife Mary Wells who shared these words on Facebook today.
Rick White, born April 4, 1937, passed away on January 11, 2017 at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, Florida after a brief and unexpected battle with non-small-cell lung cancer.
He is best known in the multihull sailing world for his many racing championships, his books and his race-training seminars. But there is so much more
As a pre-teen he was a champion swimmer doing the butterfly stroke. And as a teenager he started driving trucks at age 14. His father told him to just blend in with the traffic, no faster or slower than the rest.
In high school he was an all-state football player being recruited by numerous colleges. He picked North Carolina, but he broke his neck during the first year, ending that potential career. After several years as a successful trucking company owner, he sold that and gave up the suits and ties to become a singer-songwriter-entertainer.
His greatest passion was motocross racing. And he even built a track that hosted many motocross championships.
Lived in Vail, Colorado for eight years, where he was an expert powder-hound skier besides being an entertainer. For one summer out there, he worked as a river raft guide on the Colorado River.
He was an airplane pilot (only crashed once) and for boats he had a 500-ton masters license. He worked for several years as a captain taking groups of people on week-long sailing tours of the Bahamas.
In recent years he has been spending his summers at Put-in-Bay, OH, and his winters in Key Largo, FL.
Rick is survived by his wife Mary Wells, his son David White of Key Largo, FL, his daughter Michelle Coyle of Barberton, OH, his brother William White of Plantation, FL.
Rest In Peace Rick White,
Notice of Race (NOR) and Online Registration are now available for the 2016 Hiram’s Haul.
October 29-30, 2016
The 15th running of Hiram’s Haul is set for October 29-30, 2016. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melbourne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday. Hiram’s Haul started in 1997 has been hosted by Performance Sail and Sport until last year when Sail Series Promotions USA took over as the Organizing Authority (AO)
NOTICE: 2016 Florida 300 Early Registration extended to March 20th.
There are a lot of exciting new features and sponsors for the race being finalized now, so the Florida 300 organizers have decided to push back the deadline.
This is to allow for some announcements that should be coming soon that could convince those on the fence to jump into the race.
Watch this space for further news.
2015 Key Largo Steeplechase… check it out.
If you have ever had an interest or curiosity in the Key Largo Steeplechase, you should look at the race again, this year. The 2015 Steeplechase is scheduled for December 12th and 13th and will be the new format we ran last year. This new course is the result of the sailors’ initiative and everyone agreed the changes worked well.
Instead of rigging and launching from Gilbert’s, the boats are rigged at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. The start is from the beach at the Islander. As the host of Tradewinds, The Florida 300 and many other great regattas, the Islander is perfect for sailing beachcats. Many thanks to Dennis Greene and Water Sports, our contact onsite.
The Islander has been upgraded and is now a Guy Harvey Outpost. The rooms, bar, restaurant and pool area make it great for evening socials and really nice for ground crews. One year at Tradewinds we even had a camp fire.
Saturday morning is the start, and the longer of the 2 days. We sail north east to Angelfish Creek. Navigation is pretty simple but a GPS is standard equipment. Through Angelfish Creek and down through Card Sound, under the bridge and across Barnes Sound. Card Sound bridge offers great photo opportunity and many crews meet there to check on their teams. Jewfish Creek slows things down where some teams paddle and some show skills that only the Steeplechase can teach. Past Gilbert’s and down Blackwater Sound, through Dusenbury Creek and into Tarpon Basin. Grouper Creek opens up into Buttonwood Sound and the final drag race into the Upper Keys Sailing Club.
October 31, 2015- November 1, 2015
The 14th running of Hiram's Haul is set for October 31 - November 1. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melborne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday.
Hans Geissler (75) a winning catamaran designer, builder and racer for over 35 years will compete with his partner Ronald Hiell to help draw attention to the need to engage and help the Race 2 End Hunger as he already did, for example, at the Florida 300 in May and has done most of the latest 20 years.
Hans Geissler left his boat building business in 1994 to create Morning Star Fishermen; a Dade City based charity that promotes fish farming and Aquaponics as a solution to help end world hunger. His quest to help end global hunger through research, development and training individuals from around the world however has not removed his passion for catamaran racing. Money raised through sponsors and donations to Morning Star Fishermen will go toward making a local and global impact on ending hunger. Mr. Geissler also hopes that the trip will help draw attention to the ongoing problem of global malnutrition and hunger. Please see the links below to see how you too can be more involved and join the Race 2 End Hunger now.
For more information on the Hirams Haul event, please check out
Morning Star Fishermen
Morning Star Fishermen is an international Aquaponics research, development and training facility located in Dade City, FL. The Morning Star Fishermen staff and scientists have been pioneering more efficient and productive ways to live sustainably through Aquaponics since 1993. “Our goal always stays the same; we educate students in a way that encourages and prepares them to teach others." says Phil Reasons, Executive Director.
For more information view; www.morningstarfishermen.org or contact: Phil Reasons at 523 352-2722.
2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop, Race Recap by Damon Linkous from TheBeachcats.com
The second running of the Florida 300 is concluded and the teams and support staff are either back home or on to their next adventure. For most of the 300+ miles of coastal racing, with surf starts and landings, the teams experienced excellent conditions for their powerful beachcats. No long distance beachcat race is without it's challenges and problems and this Florida 300 was no exception. There were gear failures such as teams Cat In The Hat and SSS Racing who both broke shrouds while racing, and boats capsizing in the rough surf including Team Lupe Tortilla capsizing and de-masting their new Flying Phantom foiling cat arriving at Vero Beach. See more below.
First, the winning team on corrected time for both the overall and open class win was team Key Sailing with Kirk Newkirk and Tom Whitehurst sailing a Nacra 20 Carbon. Kirk and Tom were defending their win from last year and promised to return. Team Royal Yellow with Steve Lohmeyer and Jay Sonnenklar won the I20 fleet and came in second overall. The Foiling Fleet was won by Team Rocket with John Casey, and Colin Page sailing the awesome Nacra 20 FCS
There are many stories from the beach over a four day endurance race like this but the big intrigues from this race was how the new foiling designes would handle launching and retrieving through the surf, and how fast would they really be over long distance compared to the non-foiling beachcats.
The second question had an interesting direct comparison available for reference since the Nacra 20 FCS sailed by Team Rocket and the Nacra 20 Carbon sailed by Key Sailing are virtually the same boat with the exception of the foils. Both boats share the same hulls and rig on a 20ft. x 10.5ft platform, so the speed increase provided by the ability to foil could be observed. The foiling FCS was first to finish every leg beating the non-foiling Nacra 20 Carbon by an average of around 30 minutes despite the foilers starting 5 to 10 minutes later. The shear speed was observed on the water with more than one team commenting on the amazing site of the foiling boats blazing past despite some rough conditions in the open Atlantic.
Some questions still remain about the viability of racing these beasts "off the beach" because after the first two legs of low surf conditions, Vero Beach produced large steep difficult surf. The problem for the foiling boats was the need to turn into the surf and get beach wheels under them before being pulled onto the beach. When the surf was low this was still diffucult as anyone who has stood in even knee-high surf knows how hard it is to maintain your position against the incoming waves. Holding onto a large beachcat and getting the beach wheels underneath while in the surf takes a lot of effort and coordination. It also means that the crew of the arriving foiler must perform a 180 degree turn as close the beach as possible so that the ground crew is in shallow enough water to maintain control.
At Vero Beach we got to see what can happen when the turn is completed a little to far from the beach. When Team Lupe Tortilla turned they ended up with the boat just out of reach of the waiting ground crew, this caused them to miss the opportunity to pull the boat back before the next large wave hit the Flying Phantom while boards and rudders were already pulled up. When the wave hit the boat was turned and immediately flipped first on it's side and then completely inverted, breaking the mast in several pieces in the process.
Other teams had hardships along the way and overcame them, Team Cat In The Hat was demasted during the 3rd leg when a shroud broke but with the help of Team Key Sailing was able to re-rig the boat and complete the final leg. There were bruises, cuts, scrapes, sunburns and "saddle sores" from long hours in the trapeze but thankfully no serious injuries and no boats lost, even the Flying Phantom will be back foiling soon since the main damage was the broken mast and they do have a replacement available.
That's it for the 2015 edition of the Florida 300 for now.
Discuss the race or ask questions at.
See all the pictures from the race at
Florida 300 Website
Visit the Florida 300 on Facebook at
2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop, Report by TheBeachcats.com
It's been quite a journey working my way up the South Florida coast from Islamorada to now waking up at Vero Beach, Florida. The first two days were picture postcard "chamber of commerce" days and day 3 was much the same except for the small detail of much more wind and a storm cell that crossed the race path. The winds were mostly steady 17 to 20 but some isolated thunderstorms caused much higher winds and challenging conditions along the leg.
The Flying Phantom is out of the race after having an unsuccessful beach landing at the Vero Beach finish. John Tomko, skipper of Lupe Tortilla and many times winner of the Great Texas 300 and other endurance races, successfully rounded up into the heavy surf and was just moments away from landing safely as all the ground crews rushed to grab the boat. Unfortunately they were in just a bit too deep water for the help to get hold of the boat so they had to stay in the surf backing in "one wave too many" and that wave flipped the boat over in the surf snapping the mast. All the ground help wrestled the turtled Flying Phantom onto the beach, it's high tech foils and t-rudders sticking up in the air.
It took some hard work in the surf to get enough of the mast, sails, and rigging cut away from the boat so it could be dragged/carried out of the water. I've got a bunch of pictures in the Florida 300 photo albums showing the sequence. It's a shame photos can't show the height and steepness of the surf very well. We had been standing on the beach all day watching it build. Every third or fourth set of waves piled up into a steep 6-8 foot wall/roller and that's the kind that got them.
Pictures from the crash and the aftermath and all the other landings and events of the day are in the "Day 3" album in TheBeachcats.com photo albums.
The other drama of the day that was happening at the same time was that team Cat In The Hat with Larry Ferber and Jackson Smith de masted about 7 miles short of the finish when they broke a shroud. Luckily for them they weren't injured in the resulting mess and were able to make it to shore. Jackson was able to text the ground crew that they were alright and drifting towards shore, and the Kattack locator gave their position. Ground crew and volunteer helpers were able to locate them and retrieve the boat and the Key Sailing team provided parts and assistance repairing the boat. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cat In The Hat back on the line this morning.
Other than the problems found by Cat In The Hat and Lupe Tortilla all the other teams arrived safe and unbroken performing excellent surf landings. The most impressive sailing feet I witnessed was the incredible surf landing of team Rocket on their 20 foot foiling beachcat Nacra 20 FCS. With the large foils under the boat that cannot be pulled completely out like the non-foilers the boat needed to make a 180 degree turn into the surf right at the shoreline. Turning two far out by even a short distance would leave them exposed to the tall breaking waves and waiting too long would put them onto the beach. The skipper John Casey was able to execute a perfect turn as close to the shore as it was possible to float the boat, putting them in reach of the multiple ground crew that got the beach wheels under and pulled the boat up to safety with no damage.
Key Sailing leads the race after three legs with a 37 minute corrected time margin over the open class but only a 5 minute margin for overall victory lending some extra drama to the final leg from Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach. Be sure to watch live and track the race, links are at the end of this report.
There were many stories of pitch-poles and and very difficult conditions all along the course. Tom Whitehurst, crew for the leading team Key Sailing had a trap wire break and almost got separated from the boat but was able to hold on and get back on board with help from Kirk Newkirk. Before their bad luck at the finish team Lupe Tortilla told me that had pitchpoled the Flying Phantom at speed while on foils sending it flipping forward so hard that the mast hit the water ahead of the boat. It's a testament to the toughness of both the crew and the boat that they were able to continue to the finish after that.
Today the Florida 300 teams are joined by additional competitors racing the one-leg from Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach for the Dogfight. There are a mix of Hobie 16's and G-Cats with the notable entry of Hans Geissler, creator/builder of the G-Cats sailing the leg on his personal G-Cat 5.0 with squaretop.
Report by Damon Linkous of TheBeachcats.com
Track the race
Live video/audio feed from the starts and finishes.
Discuss the race at
Ft Walton Beach, Florida, September 27, 2014
The 2014 Round The Island Regatta saw plenty of breeze and moderate carnage.
Friday night's skippers meeting saw a few course changes and a Coor's Light keg sponsored by Mike Kelley's Beach Liquors.
Saturday morning was overcast with a pretty solid NE wind.
Front beam failures seemed to be the trend early in the day (within ten minutes of the start), and a sheared rudder pin dropped the field to three boats by noon. The Nacra Olympic 17 team (Sam Ingham & Casey Gilmore) only flipped a few times to take a pretty decent lead over Randy Smyth's Sizzor coming past Key Sailing. The sail east through the narrows was a beat with slightly dying breeze and a ton of incoming current, but the Nacra 17 and the Sizzor finished before 6:30.
"You can't complain about going downwind for 50 miles. 50 miles downwind. Even if you have to go back upwind after."
--- Sam Ingham, winner of 2014 RTI
Those who couldn't sail due to assorted boat failures spent the day either volunteering, rescuing sailors, telling stories about past years, and helping plan next years regatta.
Congratulations to first time racers Sam Ingham and Casey Gilmore for winning the 33rd Round The Island regatta, and thanks to the sailors that pushed to have the regatta and all of those that helped, especially Mike Kelley, Steve Dowell, Rundell Curtis, and Doug/Gwen Klem.
Ashley Sukalski (FWYC)
Message from the Fleet Captain of Fort Walton Yacht Club, Fort Walton Beach, FL -- Sept. 11, 2014
Due to some scheduling conflicts and lack of promotion, I have decided to postpone RTI to September 26-28. If you are even CONSIDERING sailing, please preregister. I will not be collecting any money until the skippers meeting.
$50 discount off $60 entry fee for registration before September 26, 2014!
Quick rundown of upcoming events (including the two rescheduled events):
Any questions, please email or text.
FWYC Fleet Capt 2014
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