Columbus Day Regatta
The Columbus Day Regatta is held annually on the weekend of Columbus Day in Biscayne Bay of Miami, Florida. This sailing event is less of a race than a floating party. The Regatta’s website claims the purpose of the yearly gathering is to commemorate “a small boat ride in 1492.” If Columbus’s voyage was a “small boat ride,” than the Regatta is an “insignificant gathering of a few boats.”
People from all over the world head to Florida for the event that makes Mardi Gras in New Orleans look subdued and dull. Yachts line the horizon of Biscayne National Park and the leeward side of Elliott Key is “bumper to bumper” with boat traffic, all awaiting the start of the race that isn’t a race.
In parade style, the boats – from regal yachts to patched dinghies – sail towards the “Finishing Line” party area. As the day – as well as the level of inebriation – progresses more and more people shed their inhibitions and their clothing.
Salsa and rock music fills the air, along with kites, flags, flying beads, and water balloons. The water is packed with boats, canoes, kayaks, inner-tubes, and swimmers. It is tradition to bring water gun – both large and small – as well as an endless supply of water balloons. Some ladies go topless while others choose to flash passing boaters.
The Finish Line, in particular, is not family friendly; however, parents do have options to enjoy the less hedonistic side of the Columbus Day Regatta festivities. Families tend to stick together out of range of the sights and sounds of the large, drunken crowd. As they band their boats together, they can still enjoy the fun of the different cultures and masses of boats, without exposing their children to the wild and crazy mischief at the Finish Line. Family friendly areas include near the shore on the leeward side of Elliott Key, Sands Key, and Boca Chita.
The party, ahem… I mean, race… lasts for miles and days. Come and join the fun on a Miami yacht charter.