Skip to main content

Venue Views: The Saint Petersburg Sailing Center

Saint Petersburg Sailing Center

February 7-9 2020 visit

The venerable St. Petersburg Sailing Center is located on Demen's Landing (address 250 2nd Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701) and has served the city of St Petersburg since the 1940s. The St. Petersburg Sailing Center is one of the most active sailing facilities in the United States. Operated by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, the Center is host to numerous regional and national regattas, sailing classes, adaptive sailing, summer camps, youth racing teams, and community sailing memberships open to residents of the Tampa Bay area.

USODA Valentine's Day Regatta

Since its inception, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club has made optimist sailors a focus, hosting the USODA (United States Optimist Dinghy Association) Valentine's Day Regatta for more than 30 years. As one of the original regattas on the Opti circuit, the Valentine's Day Regatta attracts many sailors from all over the country and even North America as sailors from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean attend almost every year. In 2020 there were 281 competitors divided into a Gold and Silver Divisions, with Silver having a 15 knot upper wind limit and was reserved for kids with less experience. 

The Venue

The SPSC is admittedly very spartan, as many buildings dedicated to sailing and watercraft are, but is fully equipped to handle large regattas and facilitate keelboat and dinghy sailing. 

The building is situated in the middle of a large parking lot adjacent to the water on the western side of Demen's Landing with the Boat ramp and Marina nearby. 

There are one set of bathrooms, located on the bottom floor, with a large conference room on the eastern side of the building that is typically used for sailor/support boat check in and registration.


The Center features 5 dinghy launch ramps of floating design, as well as 2 sets of access cranes on either side of the building. There is ample space for support boats to dock during regattas but the SPSC has no fuel dock or capabilities - fuel is found at the end of the Landing at the Municipal Marina

Support Boat Logistics

The support boat situation is quite comfortable however space at the ramp can become quite tight - big trailers are definitely hard to get in and out of here during a busy Opti Regatta. 

The ramps are quite a comfortable and shallow angle so 99% of vehicles towing will be able to get in and out without a problem. However note that the tides in the Basin can vary greatly so you may encounter slight difficulties with launching/retrieval at low tide. 

The Municipal Marina has pumps for marine - grade gasoline and diesel so if you are bringing along a boat for following the races you'll be covered. The ships store on the second floor of the dockhouse is clean and well stocked with last minute "I forgot this thing" items for boating, and the staff very helpful. 

Trailering In And Out

The Sailing Center being situated on municipal property is subject to management of the city and as such boat trailers are tightly controlled by the regatta organizers in order to prevent chaos and road blockages. In past years they allowed trailers onto the grass at the Demen's Landing Park but at least as of 2020 trailers are loaded across the bridge on Bayshore Drive. 

In order to avoid the hassle of bringing a trailer into the landing and traffic of optis crossing the street, we recommend positioning your trailer as early as you can in order to be as near as possible to the venue. Please follow police and Regatta Organizers directions and move your trailers if needed!

If you are attending an Opti event at the Sailing Center, please take a look at where overnight trailer parking is as there is none at Demen's Landing. 

Where's the Nearest?

Supermarket: Publix - 0.3 miles 
250 3rd St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Gas Station: Sunoco - 1.1 miles
517 Central Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Boat Ramp: St. Pete Municipal Marina 0.3 miles
500 1st Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Coffee: Craft Koffee Downtown - 0.4 miles
200 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Overall Impressions

The St Petersburg Sailing Center is an institution for Optimist Sailing in the state of Florida and has fantastic staff and volunteers that ensure that every year, Opti sailors and their parents walk away satisfied with a great weekend of racing. 

Although the Sailing Center offers few amenities for parents staying at the venue, it is located at the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg with any kind of restaurant space you are looking for just a short walk away. You'll enjoy the level of organization and cleanliness of the sailing center, as well as all the great attractions nearby.

Thanks for reading, and see you out on the water


Popular posts from this blog

A Beginner's Guide to Layering Sailing Gear (Updated October 2023)

Purchasing Sailing Gear can be confusing and brings up a lot of questions. The ones we hear the most often are ● What do I need to buy? ● Where can I buy it? Is it at west marine? ● This is very expensive, can I find it somewhere cheaper? ● My sailor lost this thing, do they really need it? Not to worry! We've put together this general guide to sailing gear to hopefully help all of you answer these very important questions. As you read this keep in mind that the most important thing is feedback from your sailor, as they are the ones who will be wearing this stuff! The first and most important thing is Sailing is a sport where you are at the mercy of the elements and the proper equipment and clothing make a world of difference in enjoying your time out on the water, or in certain cases, being able to survive it! How to choose Sailing Gear  In order to choose the proper sailing gear what you need to understand are two main points – Where in the world are you, and what ki

A Guide To Your First International Orange Bowl Regatta (Optimist Class)

Never Been To the Orange Bowl Regatta? Read This Guide! In 2020 we covered the International Orange Bowl Youth Regatta in this video, and an accompanying article HERE . If you've never been to the regatta, and are attending for the first time this year we figured we'd put together a helpful guide to The Orange Bowl Regatta and the area with tips on parking, the format, racing and events surrounding the Orange Bowl. So take a seat and let's dive in! A Brief History Of The OBIYR Lester Johnson introduced the idea of a youth regatta on Biscayne Bay in Miami through the established name of the Orange Bowl Regatta in 1978. The purpose of the youth regatta was to organize a youth sporting event during a time when families were looking for a fun pastime during their winter break. The Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta has continued that tradition through today for the last 42 years. The regatta has grown from 450 youth sailors in 2002 to over 600 today. In the past five year

What Should Be In Your Dock Box/Ditty Bag

 Although the Optimist class is comprised of children, the fact of the matter is that serious racing happens in the Optimist class and that carries with it needs for equipment and replacement parts. Any sailor or coach worth their salt will tell you that you need a ditty bag or tackle box to carry spare parts and tools in order to keep your Opti up or in case of technicals - breakage - out on the race course.  The historical example of a ditty bag, complete with marlinspike So what should you keep in your ditty bag? At the bare minimum, your ditty bag needs to have tools to repair or adjust parts of your boat. A good set of screwdrivers, of medium length, pliers, and a crescent wrench are absolute musts Example contents of a ditty bag. Note the ample variety of tape, tools and spare line Next, you'd want to add a roll of sail tape, the thick kind, to patch up tears or holes that might happen. I cannot stress the importance of dealing with that sooner rather than later, because a sm