Shell Point Beach Prepares for 50th Annual Stephen C. Smith Regatta

As the waves crash onto the sand of Shell Point Beach, it’s impossible to stand there and not be smitten.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 8:29 PM EST
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WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - As the waves crash onto the sand of Shell Point Beach, it’s impossible to stand there and not be smitten.

It’s special to Michael Getman. He grew up there, raised on one of the beach’s favorite traditions.

“I was born into it, believe it or not. I don’t think I’ve missed one for 37 years,” Getman says.

The Getman’s are avid sailors. And, like the water, the Stephen S. Smith Regatta is in their blood.

The annual weekend of boat racing and on-shore shenanigans in honor of a man who loved to sail and who cancer claimed too soon. Just like Michael’s mom, Ann, who lost her fight in 2017.

“Do you think she’d be proud of you that you’re carrying on the family tradition with all of this?” asked WCTV’s Ben Kaplan.

“It’s a good cause and meant a lot to her, so I’ve always enjoyed it and it’s one of my favorite events all year,” Michael says.

Now, the regatta is turning 50. And thanks to volunteers like Michael and Ann have raised more than $750,000 for the American Cancer Society.

This year’s event chair Angel Ganey says the goal for 2023 is huge.

“We have that goal, we have that goal. And even our longtime sponsors and donors, we’ve been asking them can you level up this year, just this year, just for the 50th? Help us raise that $50,000 goal,” Ganey says

Yes, $50,000. The regatta foundation’s president Wright Finney hopes the allure of a weekend of racing or watching, and draw enough folks to raise that much or more.

“There are a number of different classes of sailboats. There are windsurfers, there are Hobie Cats, there are larger boats, there are other types of dingy and so there is a lot to see and you can actually see the racing from the beach,” Finney says.

The magical setting sets the stage for a weekend to both remember and also celebrate.

“This isn’t just about people who have passed, this is also about survivors and thrivers,” Ganey says.

And Smith’s family has kept tabs on the regatta, even from out of state. Stephen’s brother Frederick posted this on the event’s Facebook page recently:

“It would be hard to express just how much this yearly event meant to our mother and Stephen’s wife Beverly. It helped immensely in the early years to temper our loss. But as the impetus for continued good that involves so many people is quite frankly impossible to imagine. 1974 to 2023 ... Thank you all.”

This year’s regatta is April 28th-30th at Shell Point Beach.

If you want to race, be a sponsor, or donate an item for the popular auction, Go to to find out more!