By Rob Jerry from CatamaranRacing.net and Cate Brown
Photos by Cate Brown
The Wickford Regatta, hosted by Wickford Yacht Club on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay on June 7 & 8, 2014 is the premiere early season one-design event on the East Coast. With roots reaching back to 1972, the Wickford Regatta was one of the first Laser events in the world and hosted classes of 470s, 5O5s and Flying Dutchmen throughout the ‘70s, but fell into a long hiatus in recent decades. The event was revitalized by Skip Whyte in 2009, and has successfully hosted one-design racing for the past several years.
NENSA sailors Chris Titcomb (helm) and Lindsay Smith raced Lil’ Evil in the 19-boat F18 fleet. © Cate Brown Photography/catebrownphoto.com
This year’s Wickford Regatta was open to Lasers, Laser Radials, International 420s, 5O5s, Viper 640s and F18 catamarans. There were sixteen F18s and three F16s all scored as one fleet, which was double the attendance from last year. The majority of the 11-boat 5O5 fleet came directly to Wickford from the National Championship in California the previous weekend, and nearly the entire I420 fleet were from LISOT (Long Island Sound Youth Sailing Team). The regatta was sailed out of Cold Spring Beach, a few blocks from the yacht club and a perfect venue with plenty of room for boats and easy launching.
The regatta started off at a leisurely pace on Saturday, with a 10 am skippers meeting and noon first start time. There was a postponement due to lack of wind as a light easterly teased the race committee, but the southerly seabreeze filled in by 12:30. Once racing started, the committee ran back-to-back races in 10-15 knots. Five races were scored on the Bravo Circle for the 5O5s, Vipers and F18s, and four races on Alpha Circle for the Lasers, Laser Radials and I-420s. The weather was perfect with bright sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s. On Bravo Circle, the F18 team of Mike Easton and Tripp Burd quickly recovered their championship form on their new Falcon with three first place finishes and two seconds to finish Saturday in the lead. On Alpha Circle Mark Bear was in the lead for the Laser fleet after the first day of racing, with 7 points for only four races.
Wickford Yacht Club hosted a cocktail hour and dinner Saturday night. The organizers provided beer, wine, soft drinks and live music throughout the night. The barbecue chicken, vegetable lasagna, vegetables, salad and cornbread were very good, as was the homemade dessert: bite-size chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches.
Sunday morning brought very light winds and another postponement on the beach. With faith in the seabreeze, the race committee called the sailors off the beach around 11:30 am and they sailed / drifted out to the course in a very light wind. The seabreeze rewarded the committee’s faith and filled in around 12:30, although not as strong as the day before. There were three more races on Bravo Circle in an inconsistent 5-10 knots, and another three on Alpha Circle. Easton and Burd continued their F18 dominance with another first and second in the first two races, securing the overall F18 win with 10 points.
James and Matthew Barry of Riverside Yacht Club sailed The Bassmaster to victory in the 5O5 class with 16 points for eight races. Moise Solomon’s 3Grins from the Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association won the Viper class handily with bullets across the board (and a second place throwout from race 7). LISOT sailors Russell Clarida and Forrest Thomas from Pequot Yacht Club won the competitive I-420 class with nine points, with the second place boat only one point behind. The Laser Radials also had tight racing, with Carly Broussard of Lakewood Yacht Club coming out on top with 12 points. Mark Bear held onto his lead to win the Laser class with 11 points. Visit wickford.sailspace.net for the full results, and catebrownphoto.com to view more photos.