Harbor Style June 2015 : Page 54

Above: The entire club gets together to celebrate its 40th birthday at Gilchrist Park. Photo by Steve Donaldson Photos at left and below: Snapshots from the Punta Gorda Sailing Clubs various cruises held throughout the year. Photos provided by PGSC Both racers and cruisers participate in special event races such as the Moonlight Regatta and the Picture of Beer Races. Winning the Picture of Beer Race gives the winner the “honor” of organizing next year’s race. As if the club’s racing calendar weren’t full already, there are usually between two and four impromptu races. Although not officially races, boats that are taking a planned cruise together sometimes meet at a preplanned location and embark on the cruise together. Since there are at least two boats, they will inevitably be racing to a degree; therefore, whoever arrives at their first destination before anyone else feels they have “won.” Once PGSC introduced cruising in 2000, it took off in a big way and has only grown stronger. The Fleet Captains for Cruising planned 23 cruises for 2015. Some are one or two-day cruises to Fishermen’s Village. Weekend cruises go to Marco Island, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs. Others are multi-week adventures. The Journey to the Keys cruise takes three weeks in April, and some members continue on to the Bahamas from there. “Some of the cruises, like the one over Memorial Day to Pelican Bay, have been institutionalized and almost every member with a boat big enough to sleep on takes part,” Gottschlich said. Cruisers also enjoy just “anchoring out” in the harbor with other members while taking in local events, whether it’s the St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Celtic Ray, the Third Thursday Anchor Out or the cruise to Venice Theatre for the “Ring of Fire” Johnny Cash tribute. The Cruising Attitude Mary and Bob Snodgrass – and their cat Fred – live aboard their boat. Club members for two years, they have traveled all around Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas. “You learn where the anchorings are and make great friends by sailing,” Mary said. While cruising is a more leisurely pastime than racing, sometimes the laidback attitude is more a function of being practical. Patience is key. “You have to work with the weather when you’re sailing,” explained Diane Welsh, who was getting ready to embark on the Keys/Bahamas trip with her husband, John, and cats Kahleka and Savannah. Cruisers have a general idea of when they plan to depart, but must be prepared to delay a day or two if necessary until conditions are right. Whether racing or cruising, anchoring out or taking a six-week journey, socializing is the common denominator among members. “Sailing with people in the club helps you learn the local waters,” The Common Denominator 54 | H ARBOR STYLE

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