Sixty-seven 14-foot Sunfish crossed the starting line in Southold Bay at 11:30am Saturday, July 15 to begin the 52nd World’s Longest Sunfish Race, Around Shelter Island, NY. Sailors came from as far away as Florida to compete in this bucket-list event hosted by Southold Yacht Club, with sixty-two boats successfully completing this marathon sail. Peter Beardsley of Menantic Yacht Club on Shelter Island won the race, completing the course in 4 hours, 41 minutes and 57 seconds. This was the first time a Shelter Island sailor won the eponymous race. The winning skipper posted the following on social media:


The World’s Longest Sunfish Race, Around Shelter Island, NY has a course with an estimated sailing distance of approximately 26 miles. Just finishing is an accomplishment.  © James Gilmore


“So a crazy thing happened to me this summer. I won a race called The World’s Longest Sunfish Race (a circumnavigation of Shelter Island). I first did the race twenty-one years ago and finished 47th out of 50. I stopped sailing for three months afterwards, totally disgusted. I almost quit the sport entirely out of frustration. I’m glad I stuck with it! But after nearly 5 hours of racing and 6 hours total in the boat, I’m OK if I don’t sail a Sunfish around the Island again for another 50 weeks.”

Other sailors bringing home the silver include:

Dave Slavinsky, Lavallette Yacht Club, Lavallette, NJ: Heinl-Lyman First Master (over 50) 4:42:57 (elapsed); 2nd overall

Betsy Davis, Lavallette Yacht Club, Lavallette, NJ: Peggy Wagner Award (first female) 4:43:11 (elapsed); 3rd overall

Joyce McKenzie & Kathryn Campbell, Southold Yacht Club, Southold NY: (adult doubles winners) 5:03:44 (elapsed) 50th overall

Joe Sullivan, Southold Yacht Club, Southold, NY (founder of the WLSR in 1971): Heinl-Lyman Oldest Competitor at 86 years old; 5:11:35 (elapsed) 55th overall

Complete race results can be found at■


Representing Menantic Yacht Club, Peter Beardsley is the first Shelter Islander to win the WLSR.  © James Gilmore