Lack of wind aside, regatta a success

Published 6:29 pm Sunday, May 23, 2010

Community Editor

BELHAVEN — No wind? No problem.
After all, as Rick Brass, chairman of the 2010 Pirates on the Pungo, said, this weekend was all about three great parties and two days of sailing for one great cause — the Pungo District Hospital Foundation.
The foundation is comprised of dedicated volunteers who donate countless hours of time to support Belhaven’s Pungo District Hospital, which is a nonprofit healthcare facility. It has helped fund equipment upgrades, ongoing nurse and staff training, refurnishing of the hospital’s patient rooms and student scholarships, according to Arden Root, executive director of the foundation.
Root, who is also secretary of the regatta’s organizational committee, said she was bummed that the wind wasn’t better for the start of the sailboat races Saturday morning.
“There was much more wind last night,” she said Saturday afternoon, with a laugh.
But, racing aside, she said the weekend had been a success.
According to Root, this year’s Pirates on the Pungo has garnered more sponsors than any regatta before it. And the annual captain’s reception and entertainment, held Friday night, was well-attended.
Apparently, the reception was set to stop at 8 p.m. Friday, but no one wanted to leave, she said.
That included sailors Ron Newton and John Frank Williams, of Greenville. The swashbucklers said they sailed from Blounts Creek to River Forest Manor on their keel sailboat, the Christine K, Friday evening.
By Saturday afternoon, Newton and Williams could be found with friend Myra Jenkins aboard the spacious sailboat. But they weren’t racing, they were relaxing at River Forest Manor’s harbor.
As Newton said, “We’re here to drink and donate.”
Which is what he’s done for three Pirates on the Pungo regattas in a row.
Williams, a first-timer to the regatta, said it isn’t about who wins what race; it’s about having a good time for a good cause. And, for Williams, enjoying the scenery along Pantego Creek and the Pungo River.
“I didn’t know how beautiful it was,” he said, looking out across Belhaven’s breakwater.
The regatta wraps up today with the second and final leg of the dinghy class race at 9:30 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 2 p.m. at River Forest Manor.