Winds make conditions tough at sailing regatta in Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sunday was the last day of the two-day Alfonso Junior Regatta and Sutter Cup and Laser Gulf Coast Championships at the Gulfport Yacht Club. The regatta consisted of separate races broken up by age and it brought sailors in all the way from Florida to Texas to take on the challenge.

As sailors of all ages rushed to prepare for the last day of the two day regatta, many were strategizing, hoping to hold the lead.

"I'm just going to look for pressure," said 12-year-old Ricky Welch.

Welch was in first place of his race at the end of day one. But day two presented new challenges.

"We had light to moderate air yesterday and shifty it looks like today. The flags are flying so it should be a game changer. So the heavier people should do well today against the feature lights from yesterday."

With winds at about 12 knots, sibling rivalry got heated for Houston natives Keen and Lenox Butcher.

"Typically, I beat her. But, this time she's beating me," said 17-year-old Keen Butcher.

But the race wasn't over and they had their own vision on how it was going to end.

"I'm just going to try to get good starts, just sail as fast as I can and try to stay up in the top three all day," said 15-year-old Lenox Butcher.

They are just two of the many that came the distance to dominate the sailing competition. But, it's a Gulfport Yacht Club member who's holding the lead of Laser race.

"Plan of attack is to get off the starting line clean, clean air, going fast and just kind of control the fleet after that," said Chris Alexander.

Behind the competitive spirits is a love for the sea.

"It's like my life really," said Ricky.

Whether he won or lost the race, it didn't matter. It's passion that has Ricky guaranteeing he'll be sailing for a long time.

"Life probably," said Ricky.

To him, it's the love for the sport that puts the wind behind his sails.

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