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Sanders returns to Cedar Key for small boat weekend

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By David Davis

The “small boat weekend” in Cedar Key was the second-time Roger Sanders attended the event that is not organization, there are no plans or no program for the annual get-together of trailer sailors in Cedar Key, but the weekend of May 6-7 marked 33 years that small boat sailors have trailered their boats to Cedar Key for a weekend of sailing on the Gulf.

The 70-year-old Tampa resident has a history with the island community dating back to 1968 as an undergraduate student in biology.

“I came up here then and have been here several times since,” he said. “You wouldn’t recognize the place now. The area out by the docks is somewhat similar, but none of those condos were there in ‘68.”

“There were tourists in Cedar Key back then, but nothing like there is now. I kind of liked the way things were then, but things change,” he said. “I used to come here in the ‘70s when I was doing art and photography. They have a big art show here.”

Sanders started off paddling canoes and still has the first canoe he bought in 1974. He uses the 90-pound canoe as a loaner when he has someone who wants to paddle with me.

“My equivalent to that is in 60s, but now you can get Kevlar canoes that weigh in the 40s,” he said.

But now that he’s gotten around to retiring from the Florida Department of Health as an epidemiologist, he enjoys hiking.

“Last year, my girlfriend and I — our big vacation was hiking the highlands in Scotland with some friends and the year before that, we went to the Himalayas, so we try to get around,” he said.

While he can’t take his canoe with him on foreign trips, he has taken it to Arkansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, about 100 miles of the Green River in Utah down to the Colorado, the Swannee River from Fargo, Georgia to Florida.

“We only went a couple of miles down the Colorado and got out before the rapids,” he said. “I get out and enjoy myself.”