The 42nd Around Long Island Regatta starts July 26, 2018

ALIRThe Sea Cliff Yacht in Sea Cliff, NY is happy to announce that the 2018 Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR), scheduled for July 26 through July 29, 2018 will once again start in New York Harbor. After decades of starting the race off The Rockaways, event co-chairs Doug Wefer and Jim Aikman decided last year to shake things up and moved the start to the epicenter of marine activity, New York Harbor.

Pre-start smiles from the rail on Mark DiSanti and Craig Albrecht’s Farr 395 Avalanche. Photo courtesy ALIR.

This move proved to be a spectacular success. Along with the competitors, spectators were able soak in the views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and all the activity of the lower harbor for the start of the 41st ALIR. Prior to the start, 70 competing sailboats were treated to an impressive water cannon salute by the FDNY Fire boat. Ten divisions crossed the start passing the Sea Cliff Yacht Club race committee aboard the Honorable William Wall, the Manhattan Yacht Club’s floating clubhouse.

“Twenty-seventeen was a new ALIR experience for both the sailors and the Regatta Committee,” said Wefer. “We got great sailor feedback about the challenge of getting out of New York Harbor. The sailors loved the tactics and the sights. The Regatta Committee made lots of new friends at Liberty Landing Marina and the Manhattan Yacht Club. At the same time, we figured out how to start the fleet in the varied conditions and harbor traffic that New York Harbor presents. This year will surely only be better and even more fun for everyone.”

ALIR Willie WallSpectators on the Willie Wall” have a great view of the start. Photo courtesy ALIR.

Being in New York Harbor allowed friends, family and other boaters to observe the fleet maneuvering around the harbor and heading out under the Verrazano Bridge. The reviews from the racers, race committee and spectators were unanimous: This new location was a great addition to the ALIR.

“Any time you can start where spectators are able to watch and cheer the sailors on really amplifies your senses as a sailor, and I think it pushes you a little harder,” said Mark DiSanti, skipper of the Farr 395 Avalanche. The excitement and challenges of sailing up the New York Harbor added a whole other dimension to the race. Where the ALIR used to be a three-legged strategy; ocean racing, the various choices of Gardiners Bay and Plum Gut, and the decisions of how to optimize the waters of Long Island Sound, the new start location now adds a fourth leg, navigating through New York Harbor’s traffic and currents to be the first to reach the ocean leg.”

“We were very excited to start the race in New York Harbor,” said Mike Emmert, co-skipper of the 1937 Rhodes yawl Golden-Eye. “The crew all wanted to win what we felt was the first race of the day – being the first boat upwind to the Verrazano Bridge. With an outgoing tide and building southerly, it made for lumpy waters until we cracked off and took off like a shot around the entrances to the Rockaways. Feeling the energy from New York City was exhilarating. We knew that we were very lucky to be starting the ALIR while so many people were in Manhattan watching us while at work. All in all, the experience was exceptional. The ALIR Chairmen Jimmy Aikman and Doug Wefer made this the biggest race in all of New York, bar none! My crew and I applaud them for their vision and hard work!!”

Photo courtesy ALIR.

Michael Sears, skipper of the Beneteau First 36.7 Dream Catcher, spoke about the special challenges of negotiating a busy shipping harbor. “The usual right of way issues in the first hour of a long race were compounded by the stone cold fact that repeated cries of ‘Starboard!’ would have absolutely no effect upon the course of that ferry, container ship, or tanker. Avoidance of the static obstructions like markers, jetties, or dry land was transformed into a three-dimensional whirlwind where literally every looming, unyielding, dangerous mass was in constant motion all around us. Then it started to rain. It was glorious.”

The Around Long Island Regatta is celebrating its 42nd year. The 205-nautical mile course will be a challenge from the Statue of Liberty, around Long Island and finishing at the Glen Cove breakwater, minutes from Sea Cliff Yacht Club. Based on the excitement of last year’s race, this year’s entries are trending above last year’s. Once again, spectators will be welcome to view the start from the decks of the “Willie Wall” (and enjoy a drink) as they cheer on the boats crossing the line. Pre-race overnight accommodations will be available at the Liberty Landing Marina, which has a fully stocked West Marine store. As always, the Awards Ceremony and Beach Party at Sea Cliff Yacht Club on Sunday, July 29 will celebrate the achievements of all the sailors. For more information, visit Skippers can enter the race on the website or through


Photo courtesy ALIR.

The Around Long Island Regatta acknowledges all the sponsors that helped to make this year’s race a success; Brewer Yacht Yards, Goslings Rum, Samuel Adams Brewery, Golden-Eye Construction, Harken, Fairview-Licht LLC, New York Community Bank, Baker Air, WBAB, North Sails, Ocean Navigator Magazine, News 12, and VP Events.