The Stuart Sailfish Regatta continues to grow, boost local economy

Races start Saturday morning

STUART, Fla. -- Preparations are underway for one of the largest regattas in the world, right on the Treasure Coast.
The Stuart Sailfish Regatta gets going this weekend along the Indian River in Stuart.

Organizers say this year, the Stuart Sailfish Regatta became the largest in the country, and the second largest in the world.

About 70 boats will be racing over the weekend of May 17 and 18.

The race attracts people from all over the country, Canada and Europe.

Organizers expect upwards of 20,000 people to visit the regatta this year, bringing an estimated economic impact of about 2 million dollars to the area.

Organizers say all of the hotels near the regatta are fully booked. They say rooms are booked in hotels as far as 12 miles away.

For the first time this year, spectators will be able to watch not only from the Stuart Causeway Bridge, but also in the water. Organizers have set up a Floatella and expect about 300 people to bring their personal boats to the Indian River to watch the races.

"I mean it's not everyday that our boaters can come out and see the machinery that's here. These gentleman that are driving these, the ladies that are driving these are just absolute top of their game," said Organizer, Toby Overdorf.

Organizers also say they are careful not to harm the environment with all of the boats. Divers will be sent in to the water after the races to check the sea grass.

Races start around 9:30 Saturday morning.