Over 150 sailors from around the USA and USVI converged on the Goddard Park Carousel in East Greenwich, RI on July 29 & 30 for the 17th running of the CJ Buckley Regatta for the Club 420 National Junior Team Racing Championship. The regatta was hosted by the Greenwich Bay Sailing Association and East Greenwich Yacht Club.
This event began in 2003 as a token of friendship to honor the memory of CJ Buckley. As a teammate and competitor, CJ embodied the Corinthian values of the sport: friendship, integrity, honor, and competition. His skill was undeniable, what made him special was the way in which he engaged others. His love of sailing, and team racing in particular, would prove to be the thing that would power him through 16 months of chemotherapy. So as the teams launched their boats off the beach, we continued to honor a sailor, a competitor, and most of all a friend who continues to make an impression on sailors.
Buttressed by the usual army of more than 70 volunteers, the 2019 edition continued the tradition with full umpiring, made possible by the generous support from Freedom Boat Club, Christchurch Sailing Team, and parents and friends who provided umpire boats. This again allowed race committee to implement a Swiss League format. New England Ropes continued to be instrumental in arranging for donations for this event, including water stations on the water for sailors to refill their water bottles in between races.
Principal Race Officer Justin Assad got sailing started on time Monday, completing 10 flights (128 races) in conditions ranging from 4-14 mph shifting from W to SSW. Sailors were quick to adjust as conditions changed, and classic “Flying Lunches” powered the group through the day. Teams hit the beach at 4:30pm due to threatening storms. They enjoyed a classic Italian dinner, followed by College Night. Fifteen coaches and sailors from top-ranked college sailing programs around the country met and spoke with competitors and parents.
Day 2 brought more of the same! Perfect team racing conditions saw races get started in 4 mph ESE and build to 10-12 mph SSE for the Gold Cup Championship Races. Four more flights were completed, followed by knockout rounds for every position on the board. Racing was fast and furious, yet the judges led by Chief Umpire Clinton Hayes kept tempers cool by dispensing justice. Outfit Sailing 1 steamrolled their way to the final four knockout with only one loss. Chip Tech Officer and scoring
official Kyle Assad provide near-instantaneous results throughout the event.
Outfit Sailing 1’s dominance continued through the knockout round and they won the 2019 CJ Buckley Regatta for the Club 420 Association National Junior Team Racing Championship. Second place went to Ship Happens (the punniest team name of the event), and Revenge of the Sith rounded out the podium. Winners took home the coveted awards belts by Doyle Sails. Zim Sailing provided fourth place awards to Clark Sailing, whose excellent record squeezed them in as a top-four team after 14 flights.
This year was notable in that both the Sportsmanship award and Team Spirit awards were presented to the same team as voted by their peers. Revenge of the Sith, perhaps joining the Light Side, won the Team 1 Newport/Ronstan Sportsmanship Award and the Team 1 Newport Spirit Award, dressed in full Star Wars uniforms. A Jedi was seen sailing with a Storm Trooper! Dynamic Dollies provided a gift certificate that was won at the raffle. Harken also provided gear that was raffled to competitors.
Thank you to the Club 420 Class, our volunteers, sponsors, and, most importantly, the competitors who made the 2019 event so successful! Call your parents and tell them you love them!
For more information including results and an excellent article about CJ and this amazing event by WindCheck Contributing
Editor Joe Cooper, and to view “The CJ Movie,” log onto cjbuckleyregatta.net. ■