LAKE OZARK, Mo. -- Last year, High Noon sailboat owner Don Ressel and crew won the Ozark Yacht Club (OYC) Kids' Harbor Cup Charity Regatta at Lake of the Ozarks. In the first race Saturday, they claimed top victory once again.
Hailing from Rocky Mount, High Noon competed along with five other teams - Songbird, Grace, B&B, Endless Summer and Boat - during the first of two races held as part of the third annual event, which was co-sponsored by Ozark Yacht Club and Ozark Sailing Club.
Before the teams jockeyed around the cove by OYC in Lake Ozark in the noon race, they enjoyed a breakfast, skipper's meeting and course instruction and a viewing of silent auction items up for bid. The second race was held in mid-afternoon, with the event ending with a dinner and trophy and awards ceremony Saturday evening at OYC. The course took the sailboat crews around marked yellow buoys near the main channel of the Lake by Bagnell Dam.
A portion of the proceeds was donated to Kids' Harbor, a local organization that provides needed services to child victims of abuse in a 10-county region including Camden, Dent, Hickory, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Morgan, Phelps, Pulaski and Texas. Kids'
Harbor executive director Cara Gerdiman brought volunteers to assist with the event and was excited OYC selected the not-for-profit organization as a beneficiary.
"It is my first time to ever see a sailboat race, so I'm excited to watch this regatta," she said. "I am thrilled they selected us for their Charity Regatta, and we are excited to raise awareness about our organization and what we do to assist children who have been abused. I hope we are able to make this an annual partnership event."
For those sailboat crew and captains who had participated in the OYC Cup Charity Regatta before, they were also excited to return to the competition and raise money for a great local cause. For 17-year Lake Area resident and "Boat" sailboat owner and Regatta competitor John Hoerner, he enjoys the challenge sail boating at Lake of the Ozarks provides.
"I'm originally from Washington state, but I got into sail boating through friends down here at the Lake," he explained. "What is interesting about sail boating or racing sailboats at the Lake is the wind variations. The wind seems to constantly change directions and the geography makes it great but also challenging."
Hoerner, who currently resides in Four Seasons, competed in last year's event and races in many of the regattas and sailboat competitions held at the Lake. Primarily, he enjoys being able to get out on the water and also the interaction with fellow sailboat enthusiasts.
For Mike and Karen Swope, crew members of High Noon, the love of sailboats came from Mike's former East Coast lifestyle. He also finds the geography and wind variations are also a challenge with boating or racing, but he feels it has helped him gain a stronger knowledge of the sport.
"I have learned a lot from Don, the boat's owner. He is very knowledgeable," said Mike, who has been with Don's crew for about six years.
Despite the love of sailboats, the racers may also get a bit competitive. However, it is about the camaraderie, passion and fun they are having during a regatta that truly makes for a successful event.
"Each boat is measured and given a handicap based on its perimeters. So someone may come across the finish line first, but another may win depending on the final calculations with the handicaps considered," Karen explained, noting that there is winner for each race and an overall daily winner, as well. "Really it is all about having fun, and it seems like all the crews do just that."