The Lake Norman Yacht Club, known for its regional membership, will soon host an event reaching well beyond the lake.
The inaugural Special Olympics Lake Norman Sailing Regatta takes place June 21-23 at the club, 297 Yacht Road, Mooresville. It’s the first Special Olympics regatta in the state.
Special Olympics North Carolina President Keith Fishburne said the event was a perfect partnership between his organization and the yacht club.
“We are thrilled that our local volunteers involved with Special Olympics Lake Norman have organized the first-ever sailing regatta in our state in partnership with the Lake Norman Yacht Club,” he said. “Our hope is the event will peak the interest of more Special Olympics athletes to get involved in sailing as well as to engage those who love the sport to give back and volunteer as a Special Olympics coach.”
Opening ceremonies are at 7 p.m. June 21 at the yacht club. The first race begins with a 10:15 a.m. warning horn the next day. Races on June 22 kick off with a 10 a.m. warning horn.
Teams of two or three sailors from the Carolinas and Alabama will compete to finish the lake course with the fastest time. Athletes and their families get all amenities and registration free of charge.
Lisa Chambers, a sailing coach affiliated with Special Olympics Lake Norman, said the event should generate considerable support.
"The main reason we're doing this is to get some growth and interest," she said.
Chambers said Lake Norman started its first Special Olympics sailing team five years ago with support from the Lake Norman Yacht Club.
A Special Olympics North Carolina release said the “growing interest level coupled with support and assistance provided by the Lake Norman Yacht Club (should) allow for expansion and development of (sailing) within the state” in the coming years.
Fishburne said there’s plenty of potential for expanding Special Olympics sailing after the Lake Norman event concludes.
“North Carolina offers so many great places to sail from the beach to mountain lakes,” he said. “We’d love to see the sport continue to grow (here).”
Want to learn more?
Visit the Lake Norman Yacht Club at www.lakenormanyachtclub.com, Special Olympics North Carolina at www.sonc.net and Special Olympics Lake Norman at www.sonc.net/lake-norman.