Regatta Sets Sail for Avow

Naples Pier Offers Prime View of Gulf Coast Sailing Club’s Premier Charity Regatta

GCSC FlameSpinnakers and mainsails will be lifted by the wind at the 40th annual Southwest Florida charity regatta of the Gulf Coast Sailing Club (GCSC) on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday April 3 with much of the race viewable between 11 am and 3 pm from the Naples Pier and surrounding beach area. The community is invited to enjoy the charity regatta from the land as racers in all classes of boats raise funds to benefit children in our community who are affected by the loss of loved ones through Avow’s children’s bereavement program as well as children who may find joy in learning how to sail including blind, special needs and disadvantaged youth through Collier County’s Adaptive Sailing Program and Blind Sailing Unlimited.

America’s Cup 35 TV Host Tucker Thompson is sponsored to sail in the April 2 race on Flame, a J-105 35 foot racer-cruiser with Skipper Jim Doane. During the regatta, the former professional racer from America’s True will be calling tactics onboard Flame and helping to trim the mainsail. Tucker Thompson will also be the celebrity speaker on April 2 at the regatta dinner and will present an exciting multimedia show of the dramatic comeback of AC34, an update from the ongoing Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series and an insider look of what to expect for AC35 in Bermuda (2017).

Jim Doane, an avid sail racer on Flame, has competed numerous regattas across the U.S.  and often takes the winning place for his crew of five or more. “We are very happy to have Tucker Thompson on board – he’s the voice of the new revolution in sailing with the foiling aspect that was initiated in America’s Cup racing bringing all to light for the public—and foiling on top of the water is trickling down to other classes of boats encouraging renewed interest in sailing by youth and other sailors,” said Jim Doane. “In addition to the honor of having a celebrity sailor to crew on Flame, we are privileged to provide support through the Gulf Coast Sailing Club charity regatta to the Avow program, through which hospice care was received by members of my family and also family members of fellow donors Cal and Robin Carter.”

Captain Chris Day, a racer for over 20 years, is not able to race on Flame this year though his history with Avow spans back to 2002 when he introduced Avow as a beneficiary of the charity regatta.  A longtime member of the Gulf Coast Sailing Club, Captain Day started the Joan R. Day Perpetual Trophy honoring his mother (also mother to Robin Carter), to award the overall winner of the regatta each year. “Avow is a great charity with an amazing group of people who are caring and dedicated and should be recognized for the work that they do.”

This is the 40th annual Southwest Florida charity regatta by GCSC and it will showcase some of Florida’s best sailors in a distinctive and colorful event offering competitive spirit with teamwork and execution matching the teamwork required to deliver hospice care or special needs sailing experience. All net proceeds from the Regatta will go to support Avow’s Children’s Bereavement Program and special needs sailing programs and youth sailing in Collier County and Blind Sailing Unlimited. Paul Carlson is the Regatta Chairman from GCSC.

Regatta, hospice, Naples FL, Collier County FL, sailing, Gulf Coast Sailing ClubGCSC announced the top sponsors of the 2016 Charity Regatta with Leinfelder Watches/Dr. Rohde Universal Sailing as Titanium level; Raymond James as Platinum level; Porsche of Naples at Gold level; and Bob and Lorelei Diamond of GCSC, D.C. Kerckhoff, The Naples Hansen Team at John R.Wood, Wasmer, Schroeder & Company, and Mark Muller at Silver level.

Tucker Thompson has been hosted to sail on Flame by Jim Doane (skipper), Welsh Companies Commercial Real Estate, Naples and Cal and Robin Carter, Hole-in-One Golf Carts of Naples and Cape Coral. In-kind donations were received from Pam and Pat Ladell (committee boat) and Offshore Sailing School.

Sponsors for Tucker Thompson’s presentation are the Bermuda Tourism Bureau, BMW and Bremont Watches.

Paul Carlson, Regatta Chairman, GCSC stated, “Sailing is fun, and that is our club motto. However, we are also the heart of sailing in Southwest Florida and we believe in giving back to the community and sharing the joy of sailing with those who may not be able to participate without some extra help.” Carlson added, “We are calling upon our community to make the event even more exciting by coming to view our regatta and cheering on the beautiful sailboats racing for a cause and a better community in Naples.”

Gulf Coast Sailing Club 2016 Charity Regatta

April 2-3, 2016 in the Gulf of Mexico off Naples Pier, Florida

Public viewing between 11am and 3pm

Sponsorships available starting at $100 booster

Regatta Chairman, Paul Carlson, GCSC

For Regatta boat registration or sponsorship information visit We encourage any direct donations to Avow’s children’s bereavement program at