World-class sailors, triathletes in Wrightsville Beach this weekend


From the Atlantic Ocean to Banks Channel to Lumina Avenue, world-class athletes of all types will display their skills in Wrightsville Beach this week, as the town hosts two events this weekend drawing competitors from around the world. While the 2017 Lightning North American Championships will showcase some of the world’s best sailing talent will have boats on the water throughout the weekend, the YMCA Sprint Triathlon, one of the oldest triathlons in the country, will showcase athletes swimming, biking and running through the town on Saturday morning.

Because of the triathlon, Wrightsville Beach officials are alerting drivers about traffic delays on Saturday morning from 6 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

The Carolina Yacht Club in Wrightsville Beach, NC will host the 2017 Lightning North American Championships on September 21-24. Competitors qualified for the North American Championships thru their respective District Championship. There will be 5 countries and more than 15 states represented at this year’s regatta.  The racing attracts some of the finest sailors in the World including, past Yachtsmen and Yachtswomen of the Year, World Champions, Olympic Medalists, America’s Cup, and Volvo Ocean Race sailors.

Founded in 1853, the Carolina Yacht Club (CYC) is the 2nd oldest continually operating yacht club in the United States. The regatta will be one of the premier events hosted by the CYC and Lightning Fleet 511 this year.

More than 80 boats have registered for the regatta and over 240 sailors in attendance. Sailing will take place in the Atlantic Ocean and there will be 8 races held over the four-day regatta.

The Lightning, a 19-foot trailerable centerboard sloop designed in 1938, is a 3-person sailboat with a mainsail, jib, and spinnaker. The class has evolved into one of the most popular and competitive one-design racing classes in the world. The International Lightning Class has fleets in more than 13 countries on 5 continents and participates in the Pan American Games.

The 39th Annual Wilmington Family YMCA Triathlon will take place Saturday Sept. 23 at Wrightsville Beach beginning at 7:00 AM.  The sprint triathlon begins with a 1,350 yard swim, followed by a 11.5 mile bike, and a 5k run. More than 600 athletes have registered for the event.

The race starts at the Blockade Runner hotel with a swim in Banks Channel. The swim of 1,350 yards is unusual for a sprint distance triathlon, because the swim is a point-to-point swim that always takes place with an incoming tide.

On bike, the course is flat as the race is at the coast. The one loop course takes participants over the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge and onto the mainland. Participants need to be very careful crossing the metal grading on the drawbridge – don’t make any sudden turns or movements (ride carefully!!).

The 5K run course is a one-loop design and also flat. The run takes place on the very popular “loop” at Wrightsville Beach with 90 percent of the run being on the sidewalk system – the other 10 percent is on a very quiet side street – used to get the necessary distance

Traffic delays will particularly affect the residents and businesses in the area of Causeway Drive (Highway 76), Old Causeway Drive, Dock Street, Seacrest Drive, Keel Street, Short Street, and Marina Street.  Vehicle traffic access to these areas will be open but delays should be expected.

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