2004: Regatta Begins!

We don’t have e-archives for newspapers before 2003, so I thought I’d go back to 2004, five years ago, and give you a look at that year’s Regatta coverage as a warmup for this year’s shindig.

Regatta gets under way
Forecast looks promising for fifth annual festival

June 11, 2004

WORTHINGTON — The stage is in place and the wind forecast looks promising for the fifth annual Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, beginning today at Sailboard Beach on the shores of Lake Okabena.

After hosting the National Windsurfing Championships last year, the Regatta this year is part of the United Windsurfing Association’s National Race Tour.

“This is a more definitive year than last year,” said Worthington Okabena Windsurfer Bill Keitel, one of the cofounders of the event. “If what we were doing last year met needs and surpassed needs, we should expect to see another good showing.”

The beer garden will open at noon today, and entertainment will get under way on the Sailboard Beach stage at about 3 p.m., beginning with Worthington native and renowned harmonica player Noah Hoehn. Opening ceremonies commence at 5 p.m., then there’ll be more music, including a brief set by weekend headliner Bob Brozman, and then the reggae stylings of Ipso Facto, from 8 to 10 p.m. The Shoreline Jam for all interested musicians follows. The beer garden closes at 11 p.m.

“I’m excited about the unvarnished aspect of the shoreline jam,” said Keitel. “People are beginning to understand what that’s all about. We’ll have many musicians participating, and not just the stage musicians.”

As far as on-water activities go, Friday will mostly be recreational sailing, according to Jeff Hegwer, the event’s other co-founder. Racing events will be on Saturday and Sunday, when the bulk of the windsurfers have arrived. For the first time, Worthington will have representation on the water with its own contingent of competitors, such as Jay Swanson, Ryan Swanson, Craig Bergh, Amanda Bergh, Jay Milbrandt, Kim Milbrandt and Lisa Kremer.

“Our windsurfing family here in Worthington is growing in skills,” said Hegwer, who teaches the sport. “Personally, I’ve been really excited about what’s happening with this new generation of windsurfers, the new people coming on board in the last two to three years.”

Throughout the Regatta, more people will have a chance to get a “taste” of windsurfing with beginning instruction provided by the U.S.W.’s former “Windsurfer of the Year,” Roger Jackson, along with several other certified trainers.

“That’s now evolved into start racing, and because of that we’re able to get people out on the water to compete,” Hegwer explained.

A lot of what happens, on and off the water, depends on cooperation from the weather.

“The only thing that really matters as far as the windsurfing goes is severe weather, lightning,” said Hegwer. “No wind is still a great Regatta, and it’s highly unlikely we’ll have too much wind for the skill level of the windsurfers who will be here. It’d be nice if it was sunny, hot and windy, but the event goes on no matter what.”

“We hope for a bad hair day,” added Keitel, who said contingency plans are in place for the musical aspects of the festival. “We have inclement weather plans at Memorial Auditorium. We’ve been quite grateful for their support, but hope we don’t have to use it.”