The Santa Elena Foundation and the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club will sponsor the Santa Elena Regatta for PHRF sailboats on Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26.
This event is the major big boat sailing event in Beaufort each year and commemorates 451 years since the founding of Santa Elena on Parris Island in the spring of 1566.
The regatta is a combination of the Jean Ribault Cup which will be sailed on March 25, and the Perdo Menendez Cup on March 26. The Ribault and Menendez Cups are sailed as separate events and the results from them will be combined to determine the winner of the Santa Elena Regatta and the recipient of the Founder’s Cup.
The Founder’s Cup trophy is unique and quite an honor for the winner. Their name will be etched on the base of a bronze statue of Pedro Menendez, Santa Elena founder, which was donated by Count Alvaro Armada of Spain, the 20th generation descendent of Menendez.
Geography not only plays a major role in the historical references but also in the race logistics. The plan is for the Ribault Cup to be sailed in Port Royal Sound and the Menendez Cup in the Beaufort River starting at the Waterfront Park.
“What a great partnership. The regatta is a wonderful tradition for the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club and, now, the Santa Elena Foundation,” says Megan Meyer, Santa Elena History Center director. “Its significance is further realized as we think back 450 years ago … when earliest European settlers too sailed into Port Royal Sound to establish their settlements in the New World.”
The regatta is open to boats with a PHRF rating that are at least 22” LOA. Boats that are 18’ LOA and over will be considered on a case by case basis. Trophies will be awarded for both the Ribault and Menendez Cups as well as to the overall winner of the Santa Elena Regatta.
There will be several social events associated with the regatta including a kickoff Skippers Meeting and cocktail party on Friday night before the racing starts, an Awards Dinner on Saturday night and an Awards Presentation on Sunday after the racing is over. All social events will take place at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club.
For more information about the historic, local significance of Pedro Melendez and Jean Ribault, and to learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation, visit www.Santa-Elena.org.