Gilich, Quave to meet on water Saturday

“It’s the ultimate Point Cadet showdown,” says race chairman Jeffrey Ellis of this weekend’s Biloxi schooner showdown between Mayors Andrew “FoFo” Gilich of Biloxi and Rusty Quave of D’Iberville. “It’s a jugga vs. a Frenchman. Who will claim the title of top skipper: Nort’ Biloxi or South D’Iberville?”

Ellis, who’s from a long line of local sailors, is in charge of overseeing and shilling for The Great Biloxi Schooner Mayors Cup, a nod to the days of yesteryear when schooner races drew throngs of spectators to watch the white-winged queens race off waters off the Biloxi peninsula.

This year’s affair, which begins Saturday at noon at the Schooner Pier and travels westward in the Biloxi channel past the Biloxi Lighthouse, is being sponsored by the Biloxi Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.

Gilich and Quave will captain the schooners Mike Sekul and Glenn L. Swetman, respectively, in a race that Robin David of the seafood museum notes “will follow the path of Biloxiā€™s fleet of working schooners took every summer from the late 1800s until the 1930s, when the introduction of the marine engines and the changes in oyster harvesting laws caused the extinction of these beautiful vessels.”

Each mayor will have a crew of about 30, made up of family, friends, and City Council members, Ellis said, and each vessel will also have expert sailors on board to help keep the skippers on course.

“It is only fitting,” Ellis said, “that our two competing mayors share such close family ties to the seafood industry of Biloxi, as well as cultural ties to our French and Croatian ancestors who made Biloxi the ‘Seafood Capital of the World.’ Mayor Gilich will skipper the Mike Sekul, whose transom bears the family name of his mother, and was built on Biloxi’s Point Cadet by Neil Covacevich and Paul Bodin. Mayor Quave will skipper the Glenn L. Swetman, a vessel named in honor of the longtime Peoples Bank president, where Rusty’s father, Russell, was a career vice president and lifelong friend of Mr. Swetman.  The Glenn L. Swetman was also built on the D’Iberville shores by master boatbuilder Bill Holland.”

Ellis is also aware of the historic significance of the schooner race.  “In the early 1900s, thousands of tourists and locals would crowd the piers and seawall in Biloxi to watch this nationally-renowned competition of captains and crews who made Biloxi the Seafood Capital of the World.  The museum is collaborating with the Biloxi Bay Area Chamber and the City of Biloxi to revive the Mayor’s Cup-style regatta, but instead of competing in BYC Fish Boats or Flying Scots, they will race aboard the Biloxi schooners.ā€¯

The Biloxi Schooner Project was kicked off when the Museum opened in March 1986 to build two replica Biloxi Schooners. The Schooner Project granted naming rights for the highest contributions.
See the flyer


News and notes: Council, R U Ready?, Fun Time USA

City Council:  The Biloxi City Council will hold its first meeting of the month tonight at 6 p.m. at Biloxi City Hall.  To see the agenda and supporting documents, click here

R U Ready?:  The City of Biloxi will host its annual hurricane preparedness outreach event, R U Ready?, on Wednesday evening from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Donal M. Sndyer Community Center.  To see the event flyer, click here

Funtime USA:  Funtime USA, the longtime Gulfport amusement park that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, is looking to rebuild, in Biloxi, on almost eight acres on U.S. 90 west of the International House of Pancakes restaurant.  In fact, the proposed operators of the proposed attraction will unveil plans before the city’s Development Review Committee  Wednesday at 9 a.m. To see the DRC agenda, click here.