WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — On Saturday, there was a nice breeze on the Washington waterfront. The Little Washington Sailing School said that made for a perfect day for a regatta.
This year they’re honoring who they said was their number one fan, the late Washington Mayor Mac Hodges.
“Mac was our biggest supporter,” said David Norwood, Little Washington Sailing School president.
“He was always our number one supporter,” said Kelli Cooper, lead instructor at the school.
That’s why the school decided to name this year’s regatta in honor of Hodges. They named it the “Bear” Regatta because of Mac’s nickname, Bear. He died in August 2020 from COVID-19.
“Mac loved Washington,” said Lou Hodges, Mac’s wife. “He loved the water, he loved the little sailing club.”
Lou Hodges was at the regatta to show support for the kids sailing.
Caleb Thrift was one of those kids who sailed in the five-race regatta.
“It’s all about having fun really, whether you come in first, second, third or last,” Thrift said. “Seeing each other win, whether you win or not, it’s cool to see your friends win.”
Cooper, the instructor of the school, said she sees the transformation in the kids because of sailing.
“The kids that once were nervous, maybe even teary-eyed on their first day sailing and then come out here and over the week they are pros and move up into our advanced week,” Cooper said. “Just seeing how much courage and confidence that get on the water and even just as a person.”
At the end of the day, Lou Hodges was thankful for this legacy for her husband.
“It lets us know that Mac’s memory continues,” Hodges said.
“Forever it will be called the Bear Regatta,” Cooper said.
And Norwood knows one thing about Mac and the event.
“He’s smiling down from above,” Norwood said.