Skip to main content

Venue Views: The Upper Keys Sailing Club

The Upper Keys Sailing Club And The Buccaneer Blast

September 29th, 2020

The Upper Keys Sailing Club is located on Buttonwood Sound in Key Largo Florida and is the parent club of the Mark Sorensen Youth Sailing Program and host to the Buccaneer Blast, the largest Opti regatta south of Miami. It's an idyllic setting for a very well attended local regatta, hosting teams from around Florida and on occasion international sailors from the Caribbean and North America. 

The Buccaneer Blast

The Buccaneer Blast is typically held at the end of February every year, hosted by the UKSC with the race courses on Buttonwood Sound. Racing is normally local to national level, with teams from some of the top Opti programs in the country, mostly from South Florida. The Fleet consists of 100-150 Championship and Green Fleet sailors, and in different years has hosted other classes such as the Laser, 420 and O'Pen Skiffs. 

The Venue

The UKSC is located on N Ocean Drive in Key Largo, on a small peninsula on Buttonwood Sound. It is a central clubhouse on a wrap-around property with dock space for large sailboats, and beach launching for dinghies. There are only a few parking spots inside the property and during the Buccaneer Blast are not available for regatta participants.

Bathrooms are found outside the clubhouse by the boat ramp located inside the property, and the clubhouse itself is a simple but straightforward affair with amazing view of the sound, especially at sunset.


The Upper Keys Sailing Club has one main dock with slips for larger sailboats, and several smaller docks for dinghies and powerboats. The area all around the club is quite shallow so if you're approaching the club by boat mind your depth! Dinghy launching is all done off the two beaches and the boat ramp when necessary.

Support Boat Logistics

Coachboats and spectator vessels are usually kept in the water in the shallow area on the eastern side of the property, and there is not that much room for movement. In most years, coach boat trailers are kept offsite, across the US1 highway at the lot behind the Walgreens (map and address below)

Trailering In And Out

The UKSC luckily has a small boat ramp within the property so most coachboats can be launched there - but any double axle trailers will have extreme difficulty maneuvering into and out of that ramp - it is narrow and not reinforced for the weight.

Once you do launch you will have to take the trailer offsite, which most years is behind the Walgreens across US1.

Where's the Nearest?

Supermarket: Publix, 101437 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, 2.0 m from venue

Gas Station: Speedway, 99601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, 0.6 m from venue

Boat Ramp: Onsite

Pharmacy: Walgreens, 99501 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, 0.6 m from venue

Overall Impressions

It's a charming venue located in the middle of Key Largo, which is an amazing location for family visits. Within an hour and a half from Miami International Airport, it's easily reachable and the Florida Keys are a boater's paradise, with plenty of great seafood and seaside restaurants. For regatta goers, the competition does get fierce as some of the top opti teams from South Florida and the country make appearances, and the quality of racing has improved over the years. 


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