Hard to believe, but spring is right around the corner. So far it’s been a mild winter (of course I bought a snow blower in the fall), but spring is always a welcome happening.
Time to start taking the tarps of boats and getting them ready for a full summer of sailing.
Time also to get your racing calendar in shape.
First up is one of my favorite events, albeit not on Long Island Sound. If you haven’t been to Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, you should plan on going this year. Held April 19-22, it offers everything you could want. Offshore and one-design racing; run by first class race committees (five circles); a great host site at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina; terrific parties every evening, including a Low Country boil; and of course the beautiful city of Charleston as a backdrop.
If you’re renting a house down there, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best place to buy fresh seafood down there is Wando Shrimp Market at 102 Haddrell St. in Mt. Pleasant. The shrimp boat is literally docked out back. They also have many kinds of fresh fish, and the prices are not to be believed.
Next on the agenda is the American Yacht Club Spring Series, April 28-29 and May 5-6. This is one of the best regattas on Long Island Sound and regularly draws a fleet of up to 100 boats on two courses. With the mild winter, there’s no excuse not to have your boat ready for the event. Great racing, shore side chow and Heineken beer provided to all entrants. Hard to get better than that. To enter, go to yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=581.
Another event not to miss is New York Yacht Club’s Race Week at Harbour Court in Newport, RI July 14-22. Featuring both offshore and one-design racing, it’s a good time not to be missed.
If you’d rather stay closer to home, be sure and attend the 114th running of Larchmont Race Week, running at the same time. Everyone’s included in this one, from Optis and Junior events to adult one-design and handicap racing. Of course there is the world-renowned Junior dance, something no attendee will ever forget. My generation is still talking about it years later. Exactly how many years I won’t reveal, but it’s more than a few.
And of course there’s the 78th running of the Vineyard Race on August 31. After a few years of diminishing fleets, the brain trust at Stamford Yacht Club got together and starting some heavy promotion, along with sponsorship from Thomson Reuters and vineyards vines. They even created the Buzzard’s Society, for those who have completed 10 Vineyard Races. I’m proud to be a member with 20 under my belt. For more information on becoming a Buzzard, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the same address to sign up for their annual dinner on March 10.
Another element of racing that is showing local growth is team racing. This is about as much fun as one could ask for. Multiple races, lots of starts, constant changing of finish combinations and often an adult beverage at the end with a chalk talk. Many Long Island Sound clubs are involved in the Summer Solstice series, organized by New York YC. Sign up if you can—both skippers and crews are needed.
Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, calling for a late spring, however, my money’s on Staten Island Chuck, who calls for an early one.
Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines, or at least your electric sanders.