Pirates on the Pungo

Published 8:44 pm Monday, May 14, 2012

By Kathy Schermerhorn

Contributing Writer

Belhaven regatta marks 13th year this weekend

Ready about? Hard-a-lee!

Whether they’ll be jibing, beating to windward, heeling over or simply watching the action from shore this weekend, sailors and landlubbers alike are gearing up for Belhaven’s 13th-annual Pirates on the Pungo Sailing Regatta and fundraiser.

Starting Friday with registration and a captain’s reception at River Forest Manor and ending Sunday with a final dinghy race and awards at the Pungo Creek Marina, this increasingly popular event is set to be as action-packed and successful as ever.

“It’s a three-day-full packed party. It’s really fun. I’ve participated in regattas all over North Carolina, but this truly is the most-fun regatta I’ve ever been to,” said Diana Lambeth, regatta chairman and veteran regatta participant.

More than 40 boats from all corners of the Eastern Seaboard are expected to sail in the races this year, she said, adding there’s always room for more.

“I would highly encourage sailors in the area to join in. If they don’t participate, they are missing a good event for a good cause,” said Bill Anderson, who garnered first place in his class last year.

Sponsored by the Belhaven and River Rat yacht clubs, the regatta is a fundraiser for the Vidant Pungo Hospital Foundation in Belhaven.

Event proceeds are used by the foundation to purchase medical equipment, support nurse and staff training, fund medical scholarships and help the foundation conduct a community obesity, nutrition and diabetes program.

“We couldn’t do nearly as much for the hospital without the money donated by Pirates on the Pungo,” said Arden Root, executive director of the foundation.

The regatta raised $14,000 for the foundation last year, and has raised $75,000 since the first regatta in 1999.

“The camaraderie with all of the boaters is absolutely fantastic. We get to have breakfast together, and then there’s the Buccaneer Bash. We have a great time,” said three-time regatta sailor Greg Polovick.

Not just for sailors either, the weekend offers plenty of fun for those who prefer terra firma, Lambeth said.

“For $35 (for a shore-side pass), it’s really a good deal. We have the reception on Friday, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, the Buccaneer Bash Saturday night and a picnic lunch for dinghy sailors on Sunday,” Lambeth said, adding that the pass includes free soft drinks and other beverages all weekend.

More than 75 volunteers from the two yacht clubs and the community have worked tirelessly to prepare for and conduct the regatta.

“It takes a lot of people to put this on,” Lambeth said.

The registration fee for sailors over 18 is $45 for keelboats and dinghies of varying classes. Sailors 18 and under may race at no charge.

Regatta sailors, who also pay $35, enjoy the same events as landlubbers with shore-side passes: the captain’s reception at River Forest Manor on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring beverages and hors d’oeuvres; a full breakfast Saturday morning and a continental breakfast Sunday; and the popular Buccaneer Bash dinner/dance at the John A. Wilkinson Community Center on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., featuring a seafood buffet and music by the Carolina Replay Band.

Tickets may be obtained at the Vidant Pungo Hospital, Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce or by visiting www.PiratesonPungo.com.

For additional information and to see a full schedule of the event, visit www.PiratesonPungo.com.