Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett continued its support for the annual Defenders’ Memorial Day Challenge Regatta held for members of the military at the Southern Yacht Club (SYC), the second oldest yacht club in the country. The event recognizes the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, for their devotion to duty and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we all may enjoy liberty.
While the day is full of fun, camaraderie and friendly inter-service rivalry on the water, the Flag Ceremony and 21-gun cannon salute remind us of the true significance of Memorial Day and what everyone is there to honor.
“MBLB has been a stalwart supporter of the Defenders Challenge since the beginning. Their contribution makes it possible for us to provide breakfast, barbeque and beer, as well as Defenders Challenge baseball caps, keepsake engraved medallions for all sailors and commanding officers, and a marker trophy for the Champion team. I sincerely appreciate their generous annual contribution, without which the Defenders Challenge would not be possible,” said Cherrie Felder, regatta chairman.
All five branches of the Armed Forces—Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy—are invited to crew Flying Scots owned by the SYC for the regatta. The club has 12 boats available and there are three people to a crew. Each branch is guaranteed two boats, and the first to request additional boats is accommodated. All teams sail in a series of five short elimination races around inflated markers. The winning skipper from each branch of service then chooses his crew from all of his teammates, and those five skippers and crew sail in a series of five more races to determine the championship.
This year, the Air Force team sailed double duty for the Space Force, the newest branch of the military under the Secretary of the Air Force. The Space Force was recognized and its flag was also hoisted in the morning flag ceremony.
For the first time, the Navy won the Defenders’ Memorial Day Challenge Regatta, out-sailing the long time winners of the Coast Guard.
THE FIRST ANNUAL DEFENDERS’ MEMORIAL DAY CHALLENGE REGATTA
In the fall of 2011, the Coast Guard Foundation held a meeting at Southern Yacht Club, introducing the Coast Guard’s program for building eight new Leadership 44 training sailboats to replace the aging Luders yawls the Coast Guard Academy had acquired from the U.S. Naval Academy a number of years ago. After the presentation, Vice Commodore, Julian Richards, was talking with Foundation board member, Cherrie Felder, and suggested that Southern should do something for the Coast Guard to show their appreciation of the Coast Guard always watching out for sailors on the water.
Julian mentioned a regatta tied to the Juby Wynne Memorial Day Weekend regatta, and, after agreeing with Julian, Cherrie was appointed Regatta Chairman. She contacted Capt. Peter Troedsson, an experienced sailor and then Chief of Staff for the Eighth Coast Guard District, who expressed his appreciation, but suggested that a challenge to all of the services might be more fun, and the die was cast for the first annual Defenders’ Memorial Day Challenge Regatta. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the regatta has been held every year, except for cancellation in 2018 due to Tropical Storm Alberto, and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.