2019 Cedar Key Small Boat Meet Small Boats, Big Event By Bill Jacobs Boats and people gathered on the beach on Atsena Otie Island.
Early morning at Island Place beach.
very year since 1984, small boat owners have gathered together on the first weekend in May in the remote town of Cedar Key, FL, to celebrate the essence of sailing, rowing, paddling, poling or pedaling small craft in tidal waters unreachable by larger craft. It’s like a happening from the 60s; call it Woodstock, Altamont, or Burning Man—you get the idea. It resembles a family picnic more than a sailboat regatta. There is no entry fee, no entry form, no rules, no registration, no events, no results—and officially no one in charge. If you’re interested in small boats and live north of the Mason Dixon or west of the Rockies, you’ve probably heard of it, and if you’re south and east of either you may have been there. The beaches and ramps fill up with sailors and their wide assortment of craft. Because there is no list of entrants, it is impossible to know the exact number of participants, but this year I’m guessing about 70 boats showed up. If there is a person somewhat responsible it has to be local Cedar Key resident Hugh Horton, considered by many
July 2019 S O U T H W I N D S
as the grandfather, godfather, guru and guardian of the event. He gets some help from Dave Lucas down in Bradenton, and Ron Hoddinott, founder of West Coast (FL) Trailer Sailing Squadron. Hugh is about as laid back in his presence at the event as imaginable, but he has a burning intensity about small boat sailing. He walks on water and is the hub of a collection of younger, talented, smart and fit enthusiasts who dream, design, build and sail some of the most advanced small boats on the planet. Matt Layden was there with his Sand Flea design and was the speaker on Saturday night at the Potluck dinner. He was hard to get a word with during the day, because he spent most of it single-handing his boat. While sailing with Hugh on his latest design, Clam Girl, we almost caught up to him when Matt got a shift on the right side of the tide and cruised off into the distance. J F Bedard didn’t bring a boat, although I was hoping for a better look at his crafty ROG 15 (River of Grass), a micro cruiser that he designed and offers as a kit. He came to consult, sail and discuss the progress on Clam Girl, that he www.southwindsmagazine.com
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