At the end of September the Janeway Memorial Regatta at CSHBC finished off the season. With only seven boats, this year was not as well attended as usual, a victim of unlucky timing. Still the ever-hospitable host club members went out of their way to make all welcome.
It was breezy on Saturday, with a good 15-18 knots of wind, but by Sunday morning this had totally died away. The wind blew fitfully from almost every direction in the last race, never more than a couple of knots, and the final weather leg was completed running under spinnaker.
Overall winner was Guy Gurney sailing A16 Savvy, with 2 firsts and a second. Tom Carroll of CSHBC started well by winning the first race in A56 Tara, and ended up second on points. Third, and surely the most impressive, were Stephen Jay and Mark Feck who raced the series with only the two of them aboard A148 Alliance.
Steve Benjamin, representing Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, has won the 88th National Championship held by Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club at Blue Hill, Maine. With his crew of Chris Larson, Ian Liberty and Brooks Daley aboard A128 Cassidy, Benj posted scores of 6,1,5,4,4,9. Second was Mark Foster from Cedar Point YC in A140 Thistle; third A135 Rascal, Peter Smith of KYC.
It was a fine week for weather, though at times the wind was baffling for the visitors, and local knowledge played a part. Some likened it to lake sailing, with winds coming from directions that were hard to predict. Still, the cream soon came to the top as usual.
Maestro Race Officer Ken Legler set his usual accurate courses within the confines of picturesque Blue Hill Bay, and after two days several yachts were close on points, all with a chance of winning. These included those of Dave Peck, Scott Reichhelm and Mark Foster, members of three families that continue the great tradition of Atlantics being passed down through generations: each skipper’s father was a multiple previous class champion.
In fact, at least 10 of the 33 competing boats had more than one family member in the crew. And for the first time since 1996 a Nationals race was won by a female skipper: Lindsay Doyle, a member of the University of Vermont sailing team, steered A102 Rival with her father Jim crewing.
When it came down to the last championship race, Benj was the most consistent skipper, having finished no lower than sixth place so far. By winning Races 4 and 5 David Peck had a slightly better score after the discard, but had a 16th from the first race that he now needed to lose. No such luck. Benj hunted down Miss April from the start and pushed her down the fleet, the Pecks eventually finishing in 19th place, clinching the title for Cassidy. Mark Foster and Peter Smith followed very close on points, both having a strong last race.
KYC normally has a short midsummer club racing season offering little opportunity for experience in holding big events, but they did a magnificent job with this one. It was a very good week.
Click here for a message from Dick Morris, Rules Committee Chairman
Event Photos by Christine Guinness
Drone videos by Gordon Henderson
W. Starling Burgess Trophy race
To finish off the Nationals week at Blue Hill, a race around nearby Long Island was held on the Friday. With a running start into a dying wind, it took a while to get to the southern tip of the island where a light southerly appeared. By this time several boats had spent time in the lead, including A140 Thistle (Mark Foster), A16 Savvy (Dave Polsky), A49 Transit (Tim Britton), A101 Arete (Ganson Evans) and A58 Kürbis (Sam Vaughan). As the fleet slowly made its way north again, Steve Benjamin took A128 Cassidy inshore where he found a new westerly breeze. He led to the finish, repeating his result of five years ago.
Check out this drone video of the race. Many thanks to Gordon Henderson who produced it.
What Old Atlantic Sailors Do
The 12-Meter yacht Freedom has been purchased by Charles Robertson, the 1993 Atlantic national champion. Back then his Atlantic, A142, set a new trend with his introduction of the now familiar, modern and efficient layout, and with a highly-organized approach he dominated the 1993 Nationals.
Designed by Sparkmen and Stephens and built at Minneford's on City Island, NY, Freedom was the last yacht to successfully defend the America's Cup for New York Yacht Club, by defeating Australia in 1980 in four out of five races.
Charlie plans to race Freedom in her home waters of Newport, RI, starting in June. He will participate in the International 12-Meter Class's recently-announced "Road to the Worlds" series that will culminate in the 2019 World Championship in Newport.
Historical Film Footage
If you haven't already done so, check out the video of Atlantic sailing in 1948 which turned up recently. Some great action from Larchmont Race Week, plus junior sailing at Pequot Yacht Club. There's a link in our Gallery section above, or click here.
New Class Officers elected
At the class Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, held at the New Haven Lawn Club on January 26, Rob Coster was elevated to the position of Class Chairman. He replaces Tom Richardson who has worked faithfully for the good of the class for longer than anyone can remember. Stepping into Rob's shoes as Chairman of the Rules Committee is another familiar figure, that of Dick Morris from Niantic Bay Yacht Club. We're in good hands.
Bill Barton (pictured), 2016 National Champion, flew across from San Francisco to attend the dinner and receive his trophies. Photo by Caroline Gerry ("Gay Gay").
Our Book Is Available
The Great Atlantic: the First 85 Years is available for purchase. Third-generation Atlantic sailor, yachting historian and award-winning author John Rousmaniere has written a fascinating history of the Atlantic. Starting with the birth of the class and its immediate success, John takes us through the years as the boat develops into the efficient fiberglass-hulled racing machine that we now enjoy. Each fleet has its own chapter, with anecdotes about some of the colorful characters that have populated the class. Fully illustrated with great images, from rare early Levicks and Rosenfelds to the color action photos and fun portraits of today.
Order your copy here (or click on the book cover picture).