Story & photos by Buttons Padin

Anne & Kurt Locher’s J/42 Atalanta won the Edlu Trophy for the best performance in the 31-boat PHRF fleet.

Larchmont Yacht Club’s annual distance race, the Edlu Race, was sailed without a hitch on Saturday, May 11, compared to last year when this venerable event was abandoned after an extended postponement due to lack of wind.

This 32-mile annual event saw forty-six boats crossing the line ranging from flat-out ORC racers to PHRF club racers, J/88s sailing as one-designs, and doublehanders. With a nearly east/west racetrack on western Long Island Sound, sailors started their first leg with the wind on the nose against a foul current. The easterly wind was predicted to be in the 8-knot range, then die only to fill in again from the south for an upwind return leg with the current having turned against the sailors by then. As it turned out, the wind at the start was a few knots above forecast as the boats split to the Connecticut and Long Island shores to beat out to the Eaton’s Neck turning mark.

Halfway down the outbound leg, the wind had clocked to 125o and then 135o with boats lifting up on starboard to fetch the mark. The bigger boats rounded Eaton’s around 1300 with 11 knots of breeze from the 150o direction allowing them to sail a downwind rhumbline course back to the finish. They knew there would be a shift as they all waited for the southerly to fill in bringing with it new wind conditions. Two thirds of the way back, the wind fell to 2 knots for a short period before the southerly filled in as forecast with 12+ knots of pressure. Chutes were doused and it was a close, port tack fetch back to the finish line off the Larchmont breakwater. Spectators in nearby high-rises were treated to a show as the fleet approached the finish like an armada.

In the end, it was two Larchmont Yacht Club boats taking the top prizes. Kurt and Anne Locher’s J/42 Atalanta won the 31-boat PHRF fleet, beating Macrae Sykes’ (Riverside Yacht Club) J/125 Good News in second by over seven minutes on corrected time. For this performance, the Lochers received The Edlu Trophy and Sykes won the Black Watch Trophy for best elapsed time.

In the keenly competitive, 11-boat ORC division, Andrew and Linda Weiss’ Italia 11.98 Christopher Dragon XII took top honors and The Nyala Trophy, beating David Fass’ (Beach Point Yacht Club/NYYC) Swan 42 Zammermoos by less than a minute in a closely fought contest.

Linda & Andrew Weiss’ Italia 11.98 Christopher Dragon XII topped the 11-boat ORC division to claim the Nyala Trophy.

As LYC’s Rear Commodore, Weiss took particular pride in this win noting, “I’ve raced in The Edlu for many years and even won it a few times; but it’s not the straightforward out-and-back race it would appear to be. I spent a lot of time talking with Butch Ulmer about The Edlu and the complexities it can present. It was a challenge getting to Eaton’s in a good position given the shifty winds and having been well down the return leg before the southerly filled-in. One thing that made the difference for use was, as the wind was dying before the southerly filled-in, we saw breeze filling-in on the Long Island shore as everyone else was peeling off to Connecticut. We dropped our spinnaker and actually sailed away from the finish under jib to get into the new wind first. That one move made the race for us against bigger, faster boats that were ahead of us. Also, winning ORC as a Flag Officer of the host Club made this win special.”

At the top of the 9-boat PHRF Double Handed division were Todd Aven and Gerad Girstl aboard the J/99 Thin Man. Aven and Girstl have been doing all the regional doublehanded regattas and were encouraged that their preparation and practice led to this win. Complete results are posted at ■