The Regatta Del Sol Al Sol will be starting in the vicinity of the St Petersburg Pier on the 1st May. The fleet will then head south westerly through the three centre span piers towards the finish line 456 miles away just off Isla Mujeres.
The competition is a navigator's race in that the course crosses three major current complexes, which makes for an exciting contest.
Since being founded in 1964, the regatta has had many eventful races. The 20th running in 1988 was a near disaster. A low-pressure system moved through the Gulf, producing winds in excess of 50 mph and seas up to 20 feet.
Nine of the fleet of 37 boats were unaccounted for. Eight reported in, having dropped out of the race at Key West or the Dry Tortugas. But still missing was Shenanigan IV, skippered by Dr. Francis Traun. Friends and relatives had many anxious moments before the U.S. Coast Guard reported Shenanigan IV safe in Isla Mujeres eight days after starting the 456-mile race in St. Petersburg.
The organisers now install YB trackers on all the boats. This helps the officials of the regatta keep a close eye on the competitors. They can track the contestants in real time so they know of any problems almost immediately. It also provides a way for loved ones at home to easily view an individual boat or the whole fleets progress with just a click of a button.