Race for the Case to start Sunday

 The Fidelis II won the Race for the Case last year.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD The Fidelis II won the Race for the Case last year. SUN HERALD

The Race for the Case has become an annual Coast Sailing tradition on Memorial Day weekend.

The 48th annual race will take place Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. east of Gulfport Yacht Club. The first boats to finish should arrive at the dock of the the Biloxi Schooner Pier around 3:30 p.m. The skippers' meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on the lower deck of the Gulfport Yacht Club, where sailing instructions and start times will be 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.

Competitors will sail in the following boat classes: PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF Non-Spinnaker, Multi-Hull, and Portsmouth. The Principle 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 first. The first prize adult winning 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.

Captain Steve Montagnet and the Fidelis II were the overall champions. Bryan Cromwell and his Knot Fas crew won the Non-Spinnaker class last year. Fidelis II also won the Spinnaker class.

The race originally sailed in midsummer, but eventually moved up the Gulf Yachting Association calendar for the Memorial Day holidays.

"The date was changed to the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend several years ago to fit better into the GYA schedule," Race organizer Christie Yoste said. "It has proved to be a good date."

After the finish, the Biloxi Yacht Club will host the awards presentation ceremonies shortly after the last boat finishes.

Bache Whitlock, who died in 2002, founded the race. In its early years, the Race for the Case culminated with a party in the back yard of Whitlock's house in Ocean Springs. The original case contained various prizes for the winner.