BILOXI --Corky Hadden led his Flying Scot to a first place finish in the 48th running of the Race for the Case on Sunday.
Hadden won the race with a one person crew: his wife Molly Hadden. It was Hadden's second win as a skipper in the event's history.
"The regatta has had a long history on the Coast," Hadden said. "It's nice to be part of that history."
Edie Sullivan piloted the Knot Fast to a win in the Spinnaker Class. Tom Stokes took Free Spirit across the line first to win the Non-Spinnaker Class.
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The race featured a handicapped, staggered start with the slower boats starting ahead of the faster ones. The start is designed to have all the boats finish in Biloxi at the same time. Because the race is handicapped, the boat that crosses the line at the Biloxi Schooner Pier earns first place.
"The race is unique in that the staggered start allows me to sail with the bigger boats," Hadden said. "The handicap is implemented at the start."
The Race for the Case is run every year on Memorial Day weekend from the Gulfport Yacht Club to the Biloxi Yacht Club. The informal race was founded by the late Ocean Springs sailor Bache Whitlock. The original race ended in Ocean Springs and contestants gathered afterwards in Whitlock's back yard for a post-race party. The name comes from the traditional winner's prize, a case filled with rum, champagne and beer.
"It's supposed to be a fun race," Sullivan said. "We came out here to have a good time."
Hadden's reward for beating the other nine skippers to Biloxi is his weight in beer donated by the Mississippi Brewing Company. The top junior sailor receives their weight in Coca Cola products.
Hadden said his weight at the start was 172 pounds. But Hadden suspected he may have lost a few pounds piloting his boat from Gulfport to Biloxi.
"I hope they go with my starting weight and not my finishing weight," Hadden joked.
With one Viper entered in the Race for the Case, Hadden looked behind him from time-to-time, because this was the first time he raced against a Viper.
"We were looking to see if a Viper came past us at some point in the trip," Hadden said.
However, no one passed Hadden's Flying Scot.
Sunday's race was relatively uneventful after a storm-marred race last year. Race organizer Christie Yoste suspected yesterday's weather and last year's weather affected the turnout. Saturday was projected as a sunny day, overcast clouds made the weather dicey. With last year's squalls, she suspected some sailors decided to skip this year's race.
"It's very beautiful today," Yoste said. "I'm happy for the nine boats that did come out."