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A ‘perfect day’ for pirates

By Staff
Pungo River regatta aids district hospital
By DAN PARSONS
Special to the Daily News
BELHAVEN — Grey-cloud covering and a steady breeze made for a perfect day of sailing Saturday morning for the Pirates on the Pungo Regatta in Belhaven. No cannon fire, no cutlasses and no bloody sea battles marked this return of piracy to eastern North Carolina. Of pirates, these were the generous sort.
Sailing in three classes — dinghy, spinnaker and cruising — boaters harnessed the wind for the main event of the three-day Pirates on the Pungo Regatta, benefiting the Pungo District Hospital Foundation. The foundation is the managing and fundraising body for the private, nonprofit and 49-bed hospital in Belhaven.
Despite the fun, warm weather and sun, the event had the goal of raising money, rather than plundering it, as its name may suggest.
Arden Root, event co-chairman, said the money raised would be put to good use in “training hospital staff and updating medical equipment for the hospital.”
With winds blowing steadily at 15 knots, the racers took to three courses on the Pungo offshore of Belhaven. At 11 a.m. the boats of the cruising class crossed the starting line and took to their 12-mile course. Using inflatable buoys and existing channel navigation markers to structure the course, the four boats sailed up and down the river on a northeasterly breeze under scattered dark clouds. Glory Days, the fastest of the four, finished the course in just over two hours, almost 15 minutes ahead of its nearest competitor.
The dinghy class, racing closer to the Belhaven waterfront, included about twenty boats of various makes and lengths.
Event Co-Chair Bob Haynes said the regatta has proven a “really big drawing card for the area.”
The regatta is “all about having fun racing, everyone has a good time,” Haynes said.