8/25/2013 6:30 PM
by Joe Hellriegel
BECKLEY - Sailboats float across the water in Summersville Lake Sunday and it's all part of a good cause.
"We have over 30 boats on the water. They come from all over, Canada all over the country to sail in this race," said Josh Jones of the Hospice of Southern West Virginia.
It's the 2013 Mountain Mama Hospice Sailboat Regatta at Summersville Lake, which is in it's 3rd year.
"They all do it to support Hospice of Southern West Virginia and it's really great, it's wonderful. The Sewell Mountain Sailing Association does it every year, they do a wonderful job they organize it, get all the people together, set the rules, set the committee, they get the boats out on the water and its truly an amazing event as you can look out here and see," said Jones.
This event which turned into more than just a race, started with one man's dream.
"Bob Richards, it was his baby, it was his thought, he wanted to bring a southern regatta to Summersville to the hills of West Virginia, who would of thought you would see this many boats in the hills of West Virginia?" said Jones. "He thought it would be a wonderful thing to do and wanted to do it for a good cause and we're really lucky that they chose us because it is really an amazing. Last year they raised over $11,000 and we are looking to exceed that this year."
And families say they are enjoying listening to music, eating food and watching the races.
"We've been camping all week, just enjoying the beautiful weather, we had a little bit of wind and stuff put kind of a damper on things in the middle of the week but as you see it's beautiful out here and there are people everywhere," said Gerald Kincaid of Crab Orchard. "I've got a family staying over here in the campground and been here all week."
An event like this is a perfect day for families to come out and enjoy the day but park rangers are stressing the importance of boat safety, especially with so many boats on the water.
"The problem is the fact that there has not historically been a lot of sailboat activity at Summersville Lake so the pleasure boaters and high speed boaters, they don't quite understand the rules sometimes so we have to watch for conflicts between that make sure of the fact that everybody does understand the rules and we try and keep everybody safe," said Park Ranger Kevin Brown.