Orange Bowl sailing heads to Miami

▪ Biscayne Bay will be dotted with hundreds of sailboats when the 69th annual Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta opens Dec. 27 and continues through Dec. 30.

More than 675 racers ages 8 to 18 from 27 states and 23 countries have registered to compete in five classes — Optimist, Laser full, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, and Club 420.

The largest class is Optimist for sailors 8-15 divided among green, red, white and blue fleets. The other classes hold primarily high school students and college freshmen. Several courses will be set up around the bay, with the aim of holding 12 races over four days, according to regatta chairwoman Lori Harvey.

“The Opti sailors take it very seriously,” Harvey said. “The older kids know college sailing coaches are here and they want to get that exposure. Biscayne Bay is a wonderful place to sail and train.”

Regatta headquarters is Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, with support from the U.S. Sailing Center, Lauderdale Yacht Club, and Shake-A-Leg Miami.

▪ Scott Nichols of Lake Park has been recognized as the first angler in the world to score two Royal Billfish Slams in a year — catching all nine of the world’s billfish species twice. Nichols traveled to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Australia and his own South Florida backyard to catch Atlantic blue marlin, Pacific blue marlin, striped marlin, black marlin, white marlin, Atlantic sailfish, Pacific sailfish, swordfish and spearfish. He completed the double slam with a swordfish caught off Miami Beach on Sept.12.

▪ Charles “Anthony” Tucker of Albany, Georgia, has set the first official Florida record for shoal bass — 4 pounds, 2 ounces — in northwest Florida’s Chipola River. Tucker, 57, caught the fish using a Z-man chatterbait with a Paca-Craw trailer on Dec.6. Shoal bass have vertical “tiger” stripes above the midline of the body that distinguish them from other black bass caught in Florida. The catch was certified by biologists from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

▪ NOAA Fisheries is proposing management measures to end overfishing of blueline tilefish in the South Atlantic and wants to know what you think. Amendment 32 aims to end overfishing by December 2015. Proposals include: a recreational limit of one blueline tilefish per vessel per day from May through August, closure of the fishery from September through April, and a commercial trip limit of 100 pounds gutted weight. Comments will be accepted through Feb.17. Go to www.regulations.gov, then enter Amendment 32 in the search field and click on the “comment now” icon.

▪ The National Park Service will hold an additional South Florida public hearing on proposals to raise fees at Everglades, Dry Tortugas and Biscayne national parks. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Jan.15 at the Homestead Agricultural Center, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/ever.

▪ The December holidays are a great time for South Florida residents and their out-of-town guests to visit the two national parks in their backyard. Visitors can park free in downtown Homestead, ride a free trolley, and get free admission to Everglades and Biscayne national parks from Dec. 26-31. For more information, visit www.cityofhomestead.com/gateway or call 305-224-4457.