Island Hop Regatta Sails On

Gloomy skies and the threat of heavy showers could not keep sailors from Front Beach in Ocean Springs, as they prepared for the Island Hop Regatta Race.

While spectators gathered to watch the event, they couldn't help but notice the destruction that Katrina left behind.

"Once we drove in and saw the bridge, it was it an eye opening experience," Texas Resident Amy Payne says.

Amy Payne and her husband drove from Texas for the race - a drive she says was well worth it.

"You can take the building away, you can take the foundation away, but as long as you have people still here, that is all that still matters," Payne says.

That's an attitude shared by Ocean Springs Yacht Club Members. Despite the lost of their clubhouse, pool and boats, they still wanted people to have a good time.

"Sailing is part of the Gulf Coast... Everybody comes here because they love this area and they love to sail," Ocean Springs Yacht Club Member Dennis Fuery says.

Organizers say while attendance did drop at least 30 percent this year, support from the surrounding communities and states did not.

"We are receiving sailors from Florida, Louisiana and Texas. It is real nice they come out here and support rebuilding of the coast," Fuery says.

Gulfport resident Missy Allen has been taking part in the race for the last 12 years. She says it was important not to let Katrina separate her from the water.

"People need to see us on the water, and see that it is okay to sail on the water, and there are still people who do their normal activities."