41st annual St. Patrick’s Day regatta races go on as planned

While many events have been called off due to coronavirus, one local event decided to go on this weekend as planned, after they weighed the risks.

41st annual St. Patrick’s Day regatta races go on as planned

SKIDAWAY ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - While many events have been called off due to coronavirus, one local event decided to go on this weekend as planned, after they weighed the risks.

The Geechee Sailing Club decided to have their St. Patrick’s Day regatta race as planned, despite the COVID-19 outbreaks.

It’s safe to say sailors were excited that one of their favorite St. Patrick’s Day events wasn’t canceled.

“On a scale of one to ten? Eleven. Yeah, it was great,” said Brian Burtnik, one of the race participants.

Angela Margolit, the Geechee Sailing Club Race Chairperson, said about three weeks out they began discussing if they should cancel the annual races, even consulting with the Coastal Health District.

“Being out on the open water and maximum six people on a boat, most of these boats are well over 20 feet, some almost 40 feet, that it certainly is within the guidelines of the CDC.”

The club canceled all of the group social events for the two-day race. The competitors’ meeting normally done on Friday night was a conference call.

The awards will be delivered or shipped, instead of being presented during an awards dinner that would have been on Sunday night.

Planning meetings were over a conference call or virtually.

With most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations called off, the club felt it was important to carry on this annual event. They said that since the event is outdoors and not in an enclosed space, and boats average just five people each, they felt it was safe to proceed.

“It is a huge tradition, and we felt Savannah needed something to look forward to and enjoy, and all the competitors, especially after yesterday’s race when it was a lot sunnier, really had a good time," Margolit said. "Today was very exciting, but they really were glad that we did this.”

Mother Nature wasn’t on their side as the races wrapped up on Sunday, but as the old saying goes: a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

This was the 41st year for the St. Patrick’s Day Regatta.

Margolit said they had a few drop out due to travel, and while the turnout wasn’t the largest, they were pleased with the number of entries.

The Landings Club has also closed its shop at the harbor and restrooms out of precaution.

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