By Coco Solsvig

The Second Annual Sunfish Adventure Raid, presented by LaserPerformance, took place on the Connecticut River on June 1 & 2. Sunfish – including one Super Sunfish – were filled with single- and double-handed crews hailing from as far as Rochester, NY (a 5-hour drive!) and as young as 10. Everyone had a blast!


There’s no entry fee for the Sunfish Adventure Raid and all sailors are welcome. © Ryan Malle Media

In preparation for an early start Saturday, Sunfish were unloaded Friday night at the start point at Ferry Park in Rocky Hill, CT. The Raiders loaded themselves and gear on a bus at 0800 Saturday at the finish point, Pettipaug Yacht Club in Essex, where they left vehicles and trailers. Once they arrived, Sunfish were rigged, gear was strapped down and everyone was ready to start the 35-mile journey downriver to the overnight campground at Hurd State Park, with all their camping gear and supplies for the next two days on the river.

Pushing off the banks at Ferry Park, Raiders didn’t find much breeze and some of those without paddles found use of their hands for propulsion – points for…innovation. After a quick stop for lunch and a much-needed stretch just past the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, the wind filled, and the group was able to charge forward.


Father and daughter Scott & Avia Crichett were victorious on Day 1 of the Raid. © Ryan Malle Media

Rolling up to Hurd State Park Saturday around 1700, everyone found a safe place to pull up and a strong tree to anchor their boat for the night. As tents and hammocks were set up, the campfire crackled and the younger participants enjoyed lawn games while the 21+ crowd cracked coolers and started grilling.

The cookout dinner (and breakfast) were supplied by the LaserPerformance crew, so sailors had no worries with leaky hamburger meat or cracked eggs! Plus! Mother Nature kindly held the rain off, treating campers to a brilliant sunset while s’mores roasted. Bacon and eggs sizzled on Sunday morning as Raiders broke camp and secured gear to Sunfish. Everyone was on the water by 0900 with a steady breeze welcoming a beautiful day of sailing for the remaining 14 miles to Pettipaug YC.


Raiding the River and having some fun are Sunfish Thing 2 and Sunfish Thing 1. © Ryan Malle Media

Spectators at the East Haddam Swing Bridge (halfway point of Sunday’s leg) spotted he first ‘fish by 1130, and the leaders had rounded the final bend in the river by 1400 on their approach to the finish line off the dock at Pettipaug. By 1500 all Sunfish and safety boats were hauled out, burgers and dogs hit the grill at 1530, awards were underway 1600 and by 1630 the Raid was over and everyone was heading home.

Taking home prizes were the father and daughter team of Scott & Avia Crichett for winning Day 1, and Andrew Costanzo for winning Day 2. Two Spirit Award were presented: One to David Costanzo, for bringing his family and making a special Sunfish Raid 2019 battle flag; and another to Dave Hartshorne, for jumping in with grilling Saturday night and helping on safety boats! Special thanks to the following people and groups. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Paul Hayes & Denise Ruzicka-Hayes for sponsoring us at Pettipaug Yacht Club, providing Saturday’s firewood, and most importantly keeping the Coco sane…?

Pettipaug Yacht Club for providing weekend parking for Raiders’ cars and trailers and hosting Sunday’s finish and terrific post-Raid awards party and BBQ

Sailors for the Sea for providing reusable stainless steel straws and stickers, and helping create ‘Clean Regatta’ solutions throughout the event planning process…We hope to achieve Bronze Status this year!

UK Sailmakers New York for sweet swag: koozies and drybags!

Rocky Hill Ferry Park for allowing boat drop-off Friday and launching Saturday morning

Hurd State Park for their beautiful campground (even if it’s a schlep from the cars…but that’s the beauty of water-access only camping!)

Ryan Malle Media for ace photos, videos and drone-age

David Costanzo for crafting a rockin’ Raid Battle Flag!

LaserPerformance employees Brent Richards and Suzy Bradford, our fearless on-water crew that gave their weekend to make the Sunfish Adventure Raid 2019 a smashing success!

Stay tuned for June 2020 dates for the Sunfish Adventure Raid – we’re looking forward to having you! ■

A Technical Engineer at LaserPerformance, Coco Solsvig has organized the Sunfish Adventure Raid for the second year in a row.