originally in the Niagara Gazette —
The Youngstown Regatta has always been an iconic event for Ed McCormack.
The Torontonian has been to all but two of the last 39 sail boat races held annually at the Youngstown Yacht club. He still remembers with great clarity the unmistakable voice of “Granny,” the lady announcer, who woke everyone up early each morning with a loud “wakee wakee, hurry hurry.” There was also the late night when he was returning to his boat from one of the historically great parties thrown at the end of the racing day. He was negotiating the walk back to his boat over a string of boats tied to each other when he fell through the open hatch of one and into the bed of a sleeping couple. “I woke them up of course. They were shocked,” he recalled, but he added of the couple, “They were sweethearts.” McCormack, who has belonged to the National Yacht Club in Toronto for 50 years, has many happy memories of the regatta, which he calls “a wonderful event,” noting it’s well organized, and has great parties and entertainment. Sailing from National Yacht Club in Toronto, where he is a past commodore, he said he cannot help but reflect on how different things are today as the U.S. and Canada celebrate the War of 1812 and how the United States welcomes Canadian Sailors to the very place both countries fought over years ago. McCormack will be one of a couple hundred of Canadian and American sailboat racers participating in this year’s event. A winning captain, who has won at his club the last four weeks, McCormack noted that it’s always the crew that makes the difference, noting that he started as a crew member when he was about 21. “Most people start off crewing on somebody else’s boat,” he said. “You gain valuable experience…you learn the ropes, so to speak.” The Youngstown Level 1 Regatta will be held Saturday and Sunday. The races and the parties are open to the public, but the races can also be seen from shore around Lake Ontario. The Level Regatta bands include: Strictly Hip, New York Rockin Revue, and Livewire. Sailing enthusiasts who do not compete in the races will be allowed to purchase tickets for admission to the parties. For further information go to yyc.org.