By Greg Phipps
The friendly rivalry between the Sachem’s Head Frostbite Fleet (Guilford, CT) and Wickford Frostbite Association (Wickford, RI) has been held annually around Thanksgiving, since the early 1960s, alternating between the two host clubs. Informally known as the Sea Dog Worlds, the tradition continued on Saturday, December 8 at Wickford Yacht Club. Thirty-six Sea Dogs were on the start line, a result of renewed enthusiasm and fleet growth, including nine new boats.
Conditions were cold, low 30s air temp, with bright and glorious sunshine. The WNW wind challenged even the most experienced frostbiters, with frequent 5- to 15-degree shifts and 12-14 knots with higher gusts and the occasional lull. Very challenging, but so much fun! Chuck Allen was the PRO, running mostly windward leeward and triangle courses. Skippers were warned not be over the start line early and also to be careful on the north side of the course, given the strong ebbing current. Only one general recall, but many racers strayed too far north going upwind and touched bottom (not fast). The long distance race into the inner harbor included rounding a mark set near the dock in the inner harbor behind Brown Street.
Seeing three-dozen Sea Dogs sail up and down the narrow inner channel was a sight appreciated by spectators. A record of Sachem’s Head racers (19 in total) came to WYC this year, charged with confidence. Having dominated most of the recent Worlds, WFA was ready and equally confident. In the team competition (sum of the top ten finishers from each fleet), Wickford prevailed, scoring 650 to Sachem’s Head’s 1052. Maybe local knowledge was a slight factor! Tables may turn next year, with Sachem’s Head as host!
But, the fun story was the top two finishers. After seven races, only three points separated Sea Dog Champion Brett Nazareth (experience; earning the low 25 points for first place) and Kyle Nannig (youth; 28 points for second place). Sailing one of his father Paul Nannig’s Sea Dogs, Kyle won the first two races. Paul (ninth place) and Kyle were one of two pairs of father and sons competing Representing SH, Harcourt Schutz (tenth) and his 12-year-old son Ike were the others.
Wickford took the top five places (Brett Nazareth, Kyle Nannig, Alex Bowen, Neil McDermott, and Peter Greene). Alex (more youth) placed third, with Neil sailing his yellow and green machine with consistency to fourth. Peter, one of the most experienced frostbiters, is still very competitive and took fifth. Cutter Smith and Whitney Peterson of Sachem’s Head placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
Special thanks to event sponsors North Sails, Pleasant Street Wharf, and Development Associates. Inc. The Sea Dog Worlds are the final event of the season for the Sachem’s Head Frostbite Fleet, while the Wickford Frostbite Association season continues every Sunday afternoon through the end of April. Come join the racing and the fun!