By Andrea Watson
The 13th running of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound’s Championships Regatta nailed it on so many levels. A few days before the regatta, the weather forecast for Saturday, August 5, the first day of the two-day event, predicted heavy rain and lightning all day, but Saturday dawned with only some light rain. By the time of the first warning, skies were cloudy with no rain in sight. Sunday brought more of the same.
Laser winner Lawrence McGrath leads second place finisher Jean Fillion around a mark. ©Mary Alice Fisher Photo/maryalicefisher.com
Year after year the YRA cashes in favors to Mother Nature (don’t even ask), and she smiles on western Long Island Sound in the vicinity of Riverside Yacht Club and Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT and American Yacht Club in nearby Rye, NY.
Wind on Long Island Sound is seldom great, but during August it’s often almost non-existent. Why then do sailors keep coming back to the YRA Champs, knowing they might be floating around in blistering sunshine with high humidity the first weekend in August? But come they do…year after year. Entry for this year’s regatta hit 115 boats, the biggest scratch sheet since the regatta began 13 years ago. According to YRA President Steve Cain, “The YRA Regatta this year is the biggest regatta on Long Island Sound after Larchmont Race Week.”
Carolyn Driscoll’s Blue Flame (Greenwich, CT) finished 5th in the Soverel 33 National Championship. © Andrea Watson/Sailing Press
The strong turnout might be the result of the YRA not raising entry fees in many years, or possibly because YRA Champs is known for the great Race Committees at all three clubs and the great parties after racing, but the real story of why this regatta reached new heights this year is due to many people, and one in particular stands out. Bringing years of race management experience and meticulous attention to detail, Cynthia Parthemos, YRA Vice President and Regatta Chair, waved her magic wand and sprinkled stardust on the regatta.
YRA Champs are considered a regatta for everyone. With classes for Lasers, Ideal 18s, Viper 640s, J/70s, J/88s, J/105s, Etchells, IODs, Shields, Herreshoff S-Boats and PHRF boats, there are opportunities for all to shine. This year’s regatta also served as the Soverel 33 Nationals, and there were four boats competing in the YRA’s Youth Challenge Cup. In a very competitive Soverel 33 division, co-skippers midshipmen Ethan Neubelt and Brendan White and the crew of Sabotage from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy took third place. Under the leadership of YRA Board Member Peter Becker, the Young American Junior Big Boat Team from American YC sailed Young American to first place in the J/105 division. Congrats to both teams!
The winners for the most outstanding performance in their respective racing circle include Mark McCarthy’s Soverel 33 Sláinte (Westbrook, CT; Best One-Design Offshore Performance); Lawrence McGrath’s Laser Mighty Mouse (Stamford, CT; Small One-Design Best Performance); Megan Ploch’s J/70 AYCIWKC (Pelham, NY; Best Performance Sport Boat); and David Owen’s Viper 640 Ghost Panda (New York, NY; Best Performance In-Shore).
Many thanks to the YRALIS Regatta committee: Charles Powers (Lloyd Harbor YC), Mike Millard (Indian Harbor YC), Dana O’Brien (Riverside YC) and, of course, Regatta Chair Cynthia Parthemos (Larchmont YC). Additional thanks to Mary Savage (Larchmont YC) for running the Protest Committee and Bob Counihan (Sprite Island YC), Scorer.
Indian Harbor YC’s Michael Millard and Christine D’Amico sailed Whiskey to victory in the 14-boat Ideal 18 one-design class. © Mary Alice Fisher Photo/maryalicefisher.com
A very special thank you to Commodores, Flag Officers and Race Committees: Riverside YC and Commodore Pruett, Indian Harbor YC and Commodore Nye, and American YC and Commodore Giglia. Finally, a round of applause and thank you to our sponsors: Brooklyn Sailbags, Regatta Ginger Beer, Carlsberg Beer, Lemon and Line, North Sails, and UK Sailmakers. Complete results are posted at YachtScoring.com.