MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - Look closely across the Mississippi Sound and you'll see them this weekend. Some 35 sailboats from across the gulf region are competing in the Gulf Challenge Cup Regatta. It's a competitive sailing event, hosted by the Gulfport Yacht Club.
"A lot of people are here from all over, from the Florida coast, all the way through New Orleans," said race official John Morrow.
And all of them take their sailing very seriously. The Challenge Cup Regatta offers top notch competition.
"This is the gulf yachting association big boat championship. We have clubs competing against each other. They can have four boats each, in the division," Morrow explained.
Sailing knowledge is a given here and team work is critical.
"Of course, you'll have the skipper. And you'll have a person operating the mainsail and you'll have a fore deck man that operates the jib and the spinnaker," said Crockett Lindsey, with the Gulfport Yacht Club.
Winds on opening day are from the north; posing an interesting challenge for the sailors. The competitors must play the various wind shifts.
"Particularly today, the wind is out of the north. And it has a tendency to vary a lot when it's out of the north. And it's shifting anywhere from 15 to 20 degrees and they're playing those shifts. And if they play them correctly, they'll get to the mark first," Morrow explained.
Total points scored in a seven race series will determine the winner; and conditions for the races are always a new challenge.
"It's never the same. It's always different. They always have to fight the wind you know, and the wind is never the same," said Morrow.
Although they certainly make it look easy, don't be fooled.
"Not as simple as it looks," said Lindsey, himself a former competitive sailor.
"It's all in timing. They all have handicaps. All different sized boats and it's very interesting," Morrow said.
The series of races continues Saturday and wraps up on Sunday. The Gulfport Yacht Club takes turns with Pensacola in hosting the annual Challenge Cup Regatta.