The Around Long Island Regatta celebrates a milestone

ALIR Golden EyeThe Sea Cliff Yacht Club in Sea Cliff, New York celebrated the 40th annual Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR) this year, and this historic milestone was marked with many great successes. This year’s ALIR, held July 28 – 31, 2016 encompassed several firsts while remaining true to its longstanding traditions. The regatta attracted a large number of newcomers to experience their first circumnavigation of Long Island.

Mike Emmert’s classic Rhodes yawl Golden-Eye (Hempstead Harbour Club/Sea Cliff YC) was victorious in PHRF Non-Spinnaker Division 1.

This was the most successful ALIR in years, with every one of the boats expected at the start crossing the starting line off Rockaway Point. This was the first time, but hopefully not the last, in the history of the ALIR! The 10-minute rolling starts took off in the best conditions in years, in calm seas with winds of 10-15 knots. The wind built through the afternoon and evening, and the boats could be seen at night from the house decks of Davis Park, the easternmost community on Fire Island. Mother Nature threw nearly every weather pattern at the hearty sailors throughout the race, from gusty, wet and stormy to becalmed and hot.

Chris Sheehan, skipper of the Xp44 Warrior Won (Larchmont, NY), commented, “This race is really three races in one: Ocean racing, shifty conditions through the Gut, and then Long Island Sound racing. This race should be done by every sailor – sailing in the ALIR will make you better for every other race.” Together with skill, strategy, tenacity, some good luck, strong winds (at times), and, for some especially, perseverance, sailors made their way around the island, with over 65 boats completing the 190-nautical mile course.

The 2016 ALIR had the highest number of participants in recent history, welcoming back boats from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Oakcliff Sailing, numerous area yacht clubs, up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and beyond. One new crew traveled from the United Kingdom for this year’s race. Many new participants experienced a great night at the Skippers and Crews Meeting and Dinner at Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club the evening before the start.

“We couldn’t do it without the tremendous support and friendship of the folks at Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club,” said Race Chair Effie Marie Smith. “There are many stories about how they went above and beyond, helping crews with every possible need including help securing equipment, providing beds for a few nights before the regatta, and shelter from the storm.”

“The Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound is an incredible partner in this event,” Smith continued. “The support and effort put forth by their team is overwhelming! We are so grateful for all they do in support of racing, and for this regatta specifically. We also want to thank and acknowledge the help and collaboration of our neighbor, Hempstead Harbor Yacht Club in all they do to support us!”

All ten divisions were well represented. Hardy, brave, and sleep-deprived sailors greatly increased the ranks of the Double Handed Division. Junior sailors came out in record numbers, too. These young teams performed exceedingly well, with the First to Finish Monohull Trophy earned by the Young American Junior Big Boat Team from American Yacht Club aboard the Tripp 41 High Noon. It seems that young sailors are starting a trend, as a Junior Division boat was first over the finish line last year as well. It appears the future of sailing may be here now. Junior Division participation in the ALIR is a qualifier for the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound Junior Trophy.

By early Sunday, most of the boats had crossed the finish line and the results were tabulated. The Awards Ceremony and Party on Sunday afternoon had a decidedly tropical flair, with a live band, a dance floor, tiki bar, lounges, and cabanas gracing the beach at Sea Cliff YC.

ALIR UDACHAThe Russail Yacht Club once again garnered the trophy for the yacht club with the most participants. Their competition is gaining on them, so stay tuned for next year’s winner.

Representing the Russian Sailing Yacht Club, Vladimir Koulik’s Tripp 33 UDACHA (Brooklyn, NY) finished 8th in PHRF Spinnaker Division 7.

With ten divisions and six fleets, along with other specially designated trophies, there was plenty of silver and crystal awarded to the skippers and their crews. The Around Long Island Regatta Trophy PHRF Fleet winner was Alistair Duke’s Beneteau 36.7 Frequent Flyer (Wilton, CT). Congratulations to Alistair and his crew, and to all of the sailors in this year’s event. You are now part of the fabric and history of the Around Long Island Regatta!

At the ceremony, Race Chair Smith acknowledged the great commitment of the many members of the Sea Cliff Yacht Club and the Race Committee on the wonderful effort put forth to make this race happen every year. “There’s nothing like teamwork!” she exclaimed. “From registration, through welcoming you home, the team worked to ensure everyone has had a terrific experience. The ALIR Race Committee has been working together for years, and we hope it shows in every facet of the race and beyond. Being able to host this regatta for 40 years has been a great honor.”

As the awards party was winding down the last remaining boat, Shane Haas’ Hunter 40.5 Nomad (New York, NY) crossed the finish line just in time for the crew to make last call. When announced from the podium, their finish was heralded inside the Clubhouse with bells and thunderous applause from everyone.

Sponsors of this year’s ALIR included Brewer Yacht Yards & Marinas, Fairview-Licht Company, Golden Eye Construction, VP Events, Samuel Adams, North Shore Farms, Harken, Oyster Bay Boat Shop, Gosling’s Rum, and vineyard vines. Work on the next Around Long Island Regatta is already underway, and Smith and her crew are looking forward to having all the racers and even more join the 41st!

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