Stede Bonnet Regatta – A Fall Tradition in Southport, NC

In late October, over 20 sailboats maneuver in tight quarters in the Intracoastal Waterway awaiting the start of the Stede Bonnet Regatta. The regatta, named after the 18th century Gentleman Pirate that moored vessels in the nearby Cape Fear River, is an annual event that celebrates the end of a busy tourist season with a sailboat race in the early afternoon followed by an evening awards ceremony and live music at Provision Company in the Old Yacht Basin of Southport.

The crews of each vessel dress in pirate regalia and pass the time before the start of the race by shooting streams of water from water cannons and water pistols at competing boats.

Head to the area around lunch time and you’ll have a great view from one of the Yacht Basin restaurants or bars. If there are not classes going on, the Southport Yoga Dock is a perfect place to grab pictures of the passing boats as they get under way. Hang around or come back in the evening for the party, where costumes are encouraged and you can raise a glass with the locals.