DUNEDIN — As September winds down and you can almost feel a hint of fall, you just gotta regatta.
The 24th annual Dunedin Cup and Kiwanis Regatta has been expanded to a two-day event filled with sailboat races and a festival for the landlubbers in Edgewater Park.
The sail fest takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and is sponsored by the Dunedin Boat Club and Kiwanis of Dunedin.
"People should bring the kids, have lunch, listen to live music and enjoy the sailboats," said Rod Collman, regatta committee chairman. "There's plenty of free parking at the Marina lot at Victoria Drive and Edgewater."
Sponsorships and racing fees from the event will float the newly created Dunedin Youth Sailing Association, which will provide year-round sailing activities for youngsters ages 8 to 16 beginning next year.
"We're hoping to raise about $20,000 for new equipment and instructors," Collman said.
The learn-to-sail classes will take youngsters through the fundamentals of the sport and prepare them for competition.
In the past three years, the event has raised money for the Boundless Playground, part of the Dunedin Community Center in Highlander Park. The playground is designed to accommodate children of all abilities.
About 100 seasoned salts will participate in this year's races, zipping along in their sailboats, catamarans and prams.
The Dunedin Cup, for sailboats longer than 27 feet, begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico, between Hurricane and Clearwater passes.
St. Joseph Sound is the venue for the regatta, which includes a variety of classes of boats less than 27 feet long. These races include members of the Windlasses, a women's sailing group, and those from Sailability, whose members pilot boats specially rigged for those with limited mobility.
Catamarans will compete Saturday along the shores of Honeymoon Island.
Back on land, the Dunedin Fine Art Center will host a tent with children's art activities. A variety of food and craft vendors will sell their wares.
Look for a bright yellow, 7-foot-long, 77-pound sailing pram on display.
"It's hull No. 1," said its creator, Chris Gattas, president of the Kiwanis Club of Dunedin .
He fashioned the pram from a 1972 mold, used when Clearwater and Dunedin were known for producing large fleets of the mini boats to teach youths how to sail.
This is the first of what Gattas hopes will be a line of custom-built fiberglass prams, available in a rainbow of colors and selling for about $2,500.
"One day," Gattas said, "I hope to have an assembly line and revive the manufacture of the pram."
Have a Diversions idea? Contact Terri Bryce Reeves at treeves@ tampabay.rr.com