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Steamboats aren't the only boats racing through history.

June 29 2020 | news

Last weekend a traditional sailboat race took place beginning at the Lakefront of New Orleans.  It has a surprisingly long history.



The Race to the Coast is the oldest running point-to-point distance race and the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere. The first race was held on July 4, 1850 with a course that started on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, Louisiana and finished in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Today it runs from New Orleans to Gulfport, Mississippi. The course has not changed any more since its the inception.

The event originated with the annual migration of New Orleans residents who sailed with their families to the Mississippi Coast to escape the heat and chronic yellow fever epidemics that would strike the city in the summer months.  On July 4, 1850, thirteen boats and crews took their start at Dan Hickock's Lake Hotel at New Orleans’ West End on Lake Pontchartrain and transited the Rigolets Pass through the marsh leading into Lake Borgne before finishing at a pier near the Montgomery Hotel along the Mississippi Sound. The sloop, the Roger Stewart, sailed the 55-mile run in almost exactly nine hours and won on corrected time.

The first all female skipper and crew to compete in the regatta was in 1928 on board the yawl schooner Doris and helmed by Doris Zemurray