Strict protocols and grateful sailors

Larchmont Yacht Club Mainsheet


Despite a quarantine, Larchmont YC hosted 114 sailors for the Opti ACCs.   © Maureen C. Koeppel


Larchmont Yacht Club in Larchmont, NY hosted the Optimist Atlantic Coast Championship October 2-4, the first USODA championship regatta of this size since March. Regatta chairs, Ned and Dorsey Roseberry and Senet Bischoff, began their thoughtful preparations three years ago and adapted those plans with each shifting wind of the COVID storm.

Normally drawing hundreds of Optis from across the country, this year’s ACC was capped at 150 sailors from states not on New York’s quarantine list. With 114 sailors, LYC received support from American Yacht Club and Beach Point Club to distribute the sailors. Space assignments and launch sequences were designed to enable social distancing while rigging and launching. There was also an army of volunteers at the front gate checking temperatures, verifying health screening forms, gently reminding guests to wear their masks, and helping sailors pull their boats up and down the ramps. While all social elements were canceled, behind the buffs there were a lot of unseen smiles and enthusiastic “Thank Yous!”


Representing LYC in his final Opti event, Liam Farrel finished fourth in the Red fleet.   © Maureen C. Koeppel


Race Committee members, Mark Dailey, Johnny May and Cynthia Parthemos, along with PRO Jay Kehoe, ran six races over two crisp autumn days. Despite light, shifty breezes Saturday, the RC ran two races for each of the two flights. Sunday brought a consistent northeasterly allowing for four races for each flight. The overall regatta winner was Richard Sykes of LISOT/Riverside Yacht Club with an impressive five first place finishes with one drop. There were 17 sailors from Larchmont, nearly a dozen of whom experienced their first national level regatta against stiff competition. Liam Farrel and Callie Hammond were recognized as LYC’s top male and female finishers. Farrel, in his final Opti event, finished fourth in the Red fleet, tenth overall. Other top LYC finishers were Harrison Gandy, who finished fourth in the White fleet and Ellie Millar, tenth in the White fleet.

“The conditions on Saturday were tough; light breeze with big shifts but the RC did a great job running two races,” Liam shared. “Going into Sunday the forecast called for light breeze again, but I was excited to see it coming out of the east and knew that meant there would be stronger consistent breeze making for a good day of racing. The regatta was certainly unlike any I’ve been to with all of the COVID protocols in place, but everyone was so happy to be there and willing to follow the guidelines. It was laid back, and though we definitely missed the togetherness regattas usually bring, with everyone rigging together, laughing and talking over the noise of flapping sails, I still believe it was a positive experience for all of us! As for me, I got a bullet in the first race, which was great. The event was a phenomenal way to finish my Opti career: at a USODA regatta at my home club!”

“One of the best things about our club is its community of people that get things done,” said Dorsey Roseberry. “We roll up our sleeves, problem solve, call friends and get the help we need. We accomplished the unimaginable seven months ago and just had 114 junior sailors plus 27 adults on the water for a regatta! The magic of membership is in saying ‘Yes’ and volunteering.” ■

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