By Buttons Padin
Vying for the title of ILCA Atlantic Coast Champion, 153 sailors descended on Larchmont Yacht Club in Larchmont, NY July 9 & 10. Competitors came from up and down the Atlantic with many from Long Island Sound clubs, as well as major contingents from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and St. Petersburg, FL, Charleston, SC, Annapolis, MD, and more…including Bermudian and European entries. The host club, one of the first to adopt this single-hander in the 1970s, renewed its involvement with the ILCA dinghy during the pandemic when the popularity of single-person boats skyrocketed.
Event Chair Ned Roseberry commented, “Going into Covid, we saw a resurgence of ILCA sailing at Larchmont Yacht Club. Now that the Championship is in the books, I’m sure every sailor found this to be a very competitive and fun regatta, particularly with the challenging conditions Saturday. Hosting an event like this takes an incredible amount of planning, and our Club members came out in force to help in every way possible to execute a memorable ACC. Club Sailing Director and Co-Event Chair Doug Reynolds and I are grateful for the commitment of our volunteers and Club staff.”
LYC Commodore Rob Dailey continued, “Next week we will be hosting our 124th edition of Larchmont Race Week, and the Club takes pride in hosting major regional, national, and international level championships. In the past, we’ve run keelboat championships including the Etchells Worlds, the Star 100th Anniversary, the Viper 640, J/105, and J/109 North Americans, dinghy championships including the V-15 Nationals and last summer’s Opti ACCs, as well as annually hosting the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta with the Storm Trysail Club. Hosting the 2022 ILCA ACCs fit our Club’s mission perfectly.”
Saturday brought typical Long Island Sound July conditions: winds in the 5-6 knot range from the south/southeast. The Race Committee, led by PRO Jeff Borland (Annapolis, MD), squeezed the most out of the day delivering for each of the three ILCA divisions (4.7, 6, and 7) two races. On Sunday, however, local sailors were overheard saying, “These are near-perfect sailing conditions!”
Logistically, the ILCA 4.7s and ILCA 7s divisions had their own start, but the ILCA 6 division, with 97 entries, was divided into four groups with two racing against each other at one time…giving everyone the opportunity to sail against everyone else evenly. By 1500, four more races had been sailed for each making a total of six for the Championship with a range of conditions challenging all on the water.
In the end, three Champions were crowned: the ILCA 7 Champion is Campbell Patton from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (3-(8)-5-1-1-3) in a fleet of 22 competitors, the ILCA 6 Champion is Jake Homberger from Lauderdale (FL) Yacht Club (1-1-2-3-1 (5)) in a fleet of 97, and the ILCA 4.7 Champion is French sailor Gulda Dondona ((4)-1-4-2-1-1) in a fleet of 22, from the Yacht Club de Cannes.
When asked what he felt was his winning difference, ILCA 7 Champion Patton commented, “Definitely having had consistent starts. I executed that pretty well for most races and when I didn’t, I struggled, and it was a big catch-up game.” Asked about the need to shift gears as the wind speeds and directions varied throughout the weekend, ILCA 6 Champion from Jake Homberg shared, “It was about keeping your head out of the boat and being ready for whatever came your way. I was working mostly the Cunningham and sometimes the vang to keep the boat balanced and moving fast.” Sailing in the smallest division—both rig size and number of competitors, Gulda Dondona said, “My boat speed came from being comfortable with my boat, and having gotten to know it in many regattas. Add to that really wanting to win and that’s how one gains performance.”
This was not PRO Jeff Borland’s first time helping run a regatta at Larchmont Yacht Club, having been an umpire for two U.S. Team Racing Championships sailed at LYC. His take on the weekend’s sailing was, “Saturday was extremely challenging for the Race Committee with the breeze up and down and very streaky. It was relatively steady, but it was hard to get off fair races. Today, however, were champagne conditions with 10-12 knots coming right down the pipe so our job wasn’t that hard. We did have a few shifts to work with. And while it didn’t affect our race management that much, many competitors were having difficulty with the tide, so they were over early not having recognized that the tide existed. Otherwise, as I said, it was a champagne day of sailing and now, as we stand looking out over the water, we see the breeze has gone flat so it’s wonderful that we got in today’s four races for a six-race Championship.”
© Maureen C. Koeppel
Results are posted at theclubspot.com/regatta/fdnBqArAFH/results. ■