By Sam Crichton
The sixth Clagett/Oakcliff Match Race Clinegatta for sailors with disabilitieswas hosted by Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club over the weekend of August 25-27, with twelve sailors from across the U.S. traveling to Oyster Bay, NY to participate.
Friday’s clinic had great conditions for the sailors, who were coached by The Daves: America’s Cup helmsman Dave Dellenbaugh (Easton, CT) and five-time U.S. Match Racing Champion Dave Perry (Southport, CT). The two coaches worked with the sailors for all three days of the event.
Day one of racing contrasted Friday’s beautiful conditions and the sailors didn’t manage to get on the water due to lack of wind. However, this allowed more classroom time and swapping of stories onshore. On Sunday, the northerly breeze filled in early so the teams headed out to Cold Spring Harbor where they managed to complete a full round robin before the breeze died. “We managed to get a full round robin in,” Perry observed, “with great match racing, passes, penalties, penalties killed, and no contact with spirited competition.”
First place went to Charlie Rosenfield (Woodstock, CT), who has sailed at all six Clagett/Oakcliff regattas. His crew Stu Caplan (Larchmont, NY) has sailed five of those regattas with Rosenfield and they were joined this year by Dan Andrews (Wethersfield, CT) for his first ever Clagett. “This is such a great event which I’ve been to every year it’s been held,” said Rosenfield It would be great to see more teams sign up next year, and I will definitely be back!”
Duane Farrar (Watertown, MA) sailed with fellow visually impaired sailor Kris Scheppe (Naples, Fl.) and sighted sailor Dana Robinson (Cambridge, MA) who sails with Farrar in Boston. Scheppe sailed at the recent C. Thomas Clagett Jr., Memorial Clinic and Regatta in Newport in the Martin 16 class with Dawn Hart, but this was his first Clagett/Oakcliff. Farrar previously sailed at the Clagett Newport when Clagett Sailing hosted the Blind Sailing Championships. “I’ve had a wonderful time at my first Clagett/Oakcliff,” said Farrar after his team finished in second place. “The Daves were great, and we learned so much information that my brain was overloaded in a good way. I’d definitely like to be back next year.”
This was the second Clagett/Oakcliff for Eli Workman (Southfield, MI), who sailed in 2022 with Charlie Rosenfield and returned this year to sail with his father Dan Workman (Acton, MA) and James Windsor (Bozrah, CT). Workman grew up sailing with his father in Laser 28s and Express 37s out of their home club, Jubilee Yacht Club in Beverly, MA. He started adaptive sailing at the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta less than a month out of rehab after a skiing accident in 2017. “My first match racing experience was at the 2022 Clagett/Oakcliff and I was crewing for Charlie Rosenfield, which isn’t my usual position on the boat,” said Workman. I was able to learn the rules and tactics without the pressure of the skipper or tactician, and this year I’m back to where I’m comfortable – at the helm.”
Competing in their first match racing regatta and first Clagett/Oakcliff was the husband and wife team of Luke and Jennifer Scheinhorn (Riverdale, NY), who sail out of Hudson River Community Sailing and were joined for this regatta by Pascale Agnone (Deer Park, NY). Both Luke and Pascale are visually impaired, with Jennifer being the sighted crewmember. “We 100% will be back,” Luke enthused. “It’s the most I’ve ever learned about sailing in a weekend.”
Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club provided the Sonars used by the teams, which were fitted with adaptive equipment for sailors to utilize, and hosted competitors onsite at the club. Race management was provided by Oakcliff Sailing staff and Clagett Sailing, along with a team of very helpful volunteers who ensured another successful regatta.
“We are so very grateful for all the support our sailors received from Oakcliff Sailing and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club,” said Clagett Sailing President Judy Clagett McLennan (Portsmouth, RI). “This weekend of instruction from Dave Perry and Dave Dellenbaugh was invaluable to our sailors. It has been wonderful to see new sailors racing and learning alongside veteran Clagett sailors. The volunteers have delivered a flawless weekend enjoyed by all. As our sixth year of sailing in Oyster Bay comes to an end, we want to give special recognition to Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club and their flag officers and staff who have been overly generous with their time and assets. We look forward to the continued partnership with Oakcliff Sailing and Seawanhaka Corinthian in the years to come.”
“The Clagett/Oakcliff is one of those regattas that pulls at your heartstrings and fills you with unbridled joy,” remarked Oakcliff Regatta Director Patrice Rachlin (Oyster Bay). “It is always an honor to give a platform to different ability sailors. You never know exactly who will rise to the top, but it’s not about who wins. It’s about the experience.”
Dates for the 2024 Clagett/Oakcliff Match Race Clinic and Regatta will be announced once calendars are finalized. For more information about Clagett Sailing, please visit clagettsailing.org or follow Clagett Sailing on Instagram @clagett_sailing or Facebook @ClagettSailing. ■