Write-UpMASSAPOAG YC 69th ANNUAL REGATTA, Boston, MA, USA - Sep 8/9th
Regatta report thanks to Chris and Derek Stow
After several weeks of brutally hot weather in southern New England, the temperatures plummeted just in time for the 69th Annual Regatta at Masspaoag YC in Sharon, Massachusetts on the weekend of September 8th and 9th. 15 hardy RS Aero sailors joined the crews of 63 other boats from somewhat more ancient classes for this annual gala of feasting, revelry and social intercourse interrupted occasionally by brief bouts of intense sailboat racing.
I am not saying the temperature was actually below freezing but at least three of the Sunfish sailors wore wetsuits and two of the Flying Scot sailors were spotted wearing socks. Not even a week after Labor Day! Oh the humanity!
On Saturday the breezes were chunky and sneaky ranging in strength from benign to vigorous. On Sunday the winds were even more boisterous and definitely more cranky. We sailed trapezoid courses alternating inner and outer loops which was a little too convoluted for some of our number who mistakenly tried to sail to the wrong windward mark on a couple of occasions. Words of wisdom: don’t follow M*** or K****. They may be in front of you but that doesn’t mean they know where they are going.
The hard-working race committee cracked off 12 races for the RS Aeros over the weekend - 7 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday - more than any other fleet. The Flying Scots only did 6 races (their choice) but I guess that did leave them more time for partying. And wearing dry socks. Sad!
All 3 RS Aero rigs raced together using PY. The huge start line designed to accommodate the 37 boat Sunfish fleet gave the RS Aeros plenty of space to get off cleanly in the gusty breeze (unlike the Sunfish, who often took several tries and even an occasional black flag to get started). Starting at the favored end of the long line and tacking in the shifts that accompanied the puffs rolling down the course gave the sailors a fighting chance of leading until near the windward mark, which the race committee had kindly placed close enough to the windward shore to challenge us with some delightfully soft, swirling winds. With the fleet sufficiently shuffled by the random winds at the mark, the downwind legs offered opportunities to catch up by riding the gusts to the next mark. Those who pushed a little too hard, or who let their attention wander, were punished with a swift death roll into the warm Massapoag water.
The 9 rigs enjoyed close racing at the front of the fleet with many lead changes. Eric Aker, Jim Myers and Chris Stow each led races and were sometimes able to hold off Marc Jacobi. Rounding a mark with the 2-time world champion just behind really encourages maximum effort. Eric and Jim were hard to beat. Jim was particularly fast in the lighter, shiftier wind in the afternoon on the first day. Eric found his stride in the lumpy breeze on the second day with four 3rd place finishes and a 1st. Marc, as usual, was in a league of his own, dominating the regatta while simultaneously sharing his RS Aero knowledge with the rest of the fleet. What a guy! Chris, Eric and Jim took the next three places in that order.
Tim Desmond and Bill Shaw in 9 rigs were breathing down the necks of the leading pack for most of the regatta, each scoring a few top 3 finishes. Tim comes from the Wadawanuck Club. Wadawanuck is an Algonquin word meaning “windy place by the water with loons and tennis courts.” Bill’s day job is something to do with driving ships and he is rapidly becoming annoyingly fast at driving his RS Aero.
Gary Orkney representing the Mascoma Sailing Club in New Hampshire has been a stalwart of the local Laser racing circuit for many years. Sailing a charter 9 rig he quickly adapted to the Aero and we look forward to seeing him at more Aero events in the future. Andrew McConnell, a regular on the New England Aero regatta circuit this year wins the prize for most original boat name, WAKINYAN, which is apparently the Lakota word for “Thunderbird,” a creature which throws lightning at underwater creatures and creates thunder by flapping its wings. Very appropriate!
Of course most of the 9 rigs were usually in the front of the fleet on the water but it was rewarding for those of us in 7 rigs to know that if we could just hang close to the leading pack of 9s, we could enjoy a moment of glory when the adjusted scores were published. Michael Gavin from Cedar Point YC in Connecticut was the first 7 rig and 5th overall, achieving three 2nd place finishes on handicap. Karen Binder from Bristol YC in Rhode Island was the second 7 rig and 8th overall, with race scores including a 1st and a 2nd on handicap. In fact, 13 of the 15 boats had a top 5 finish on handicap! Really close racing!
Sally Sharp, a former Laser district secretary, from Mascoma Sailing Club in New Hampshire, sailing a charter boat, was third 7 rig and ninth overall on handicap, but the big news about Sally is that she bought the boat after the regatta and took it home with her. That’s how the charter trailer is supposed to work. Try one. Buy one. Get with the program people. Be like Sally.
Liam Gavin, a high school sailor from Connecticut, sailed a very consistent regatta in a 7 rig. He managed to beat his father, Michael, in a few races and his performance was more than good enough to secure a convincing win for Team Gavin over Team Stow in the competition for bragging rights as top father-son duo in the regatta.
Kudos to Tony Corkell who made the trip all the way from North Carolina to sail in this regatta. For the geographically challenged, that’s about 700 miles each way. Regattas at Massapoag YC really are that good. Thanks to Tony for coming and thanks to all the volunteers on the land and on the water who made the regatta such a success. Someone really should give the club an award.
Antje Danielson from the home club was the only 5 rig sailor. She told me that this was the first time she had raced as a skipper in any kind of boat in 30 years. Clearly her racing skills have only been dormant, as she zipped around the course and managed to score a mid-fleet 7th place on handicap in one race.
15 RS Aeros blew away the previous record attendance for this event, and made this the third regatta in the north-east USA this year with an attendance of 15 or more RS Aeros. OK, I know that’s not a lot compared to the gazillion RS Aeros at the Worlds in Weymouth this year, but it is a sign of steady, continuing growth in the RS Aero Class in our neck of the woods. Next year we are shooting for 20+. Come and join us.
Full details of the North American RS Aero calendar can be found on the North American Events List
ResultsView Full Results File