The Race for the Case has an added attraction this year.
Two restored Wooden Cat boats are featured in the annual Coast sailing tradition on Memorial Day weekend.
The 49th annual race will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, east of Gulfport Yacht Club. The first boats to finish should arrive at the Biloxi Schooner Pier about 3:30 p.m. The skippers’ meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. on the lower deck of the Gulfport Yacht Club, where sailing instructions will be given and start times assigned. The warning signal is at 12:55 p.m.
This race features a staggered start. The start is set up along the lines of a reversed handicap, with the slower boats starting first and the faster boats starting later. The idea is that the entire field will converge in the Biloxi Channel near the finish line, hopefully with spinnakers flying as they head south before making the turn near the casinos.
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Competitors will sail in the following classes: PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF Non-Spinnaker, Multi-Hull, and Portsmouth. The principal race officer has the ultimate authority of what class a boat will be scored in.
First through third places will be awarded as well as the first boat to finish. The first prize adult skipper will receive his or her weight in beer provided by Mississippi Brewing Co. The junior winner will receive their weight in Coca-Cola products.
The race originally sailed in midsummer, but eventually moved up the Gulf Yachting Association calendar for the Memorial Day weekend.
The Biloxi Yacht Club will host the awards-presentation ceremonies shortly after the last boat finishes.
Last year, Corky Hadden led his Flying Scot to a first-place finish. Edie Sullivan piloted the Knot Fast to a win in the Spinnaker Class. Tom Stokes aboard Free Spirit won the Non-Spinnaker Class.
Bache Whitlock, who died in 2002, founded the race. In its early years, the Race for the Case culminated with a party in the backyard of Whitlock’s house in Ocean Springs.
The original case contained various prizes for the winner.