By Sam Crichton
Newport, Rhode Island dialed up chamber of commerce weather for the final day of racing at the 17th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta, hosted by Sail Newport June 18 – 23. The day started out with the predicted Northwest breeze, which was steady at around 10 knots until it dropped out causing the race committee to abandon the very last race.
Sailors from across North America, as afar afield as Alberta, Canada and California, have enjoyed two days of coaching clinic and three days of racing during the week. Going in to the last day of racing, class leaders knew that it was theirs to lose, so it was a case of watching where the competition was and defending their position for the last races of the series for each of the 2.4mR, Martin 16 and Sonar classes.
Carwile LeRoy (Fresno, CA), representing the BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailing) program from San Francisco, dominated the five-boat Martin 16 class, leading from start to finish over the three days of racing. For the nine races that were conducted LeRoy won six, after a eight-year hiatus from racing on the Martin 16s. “This is a really great regatta, incredibly well run,” commented LeRoy. “I would definitely love to come back to race again in the future.”
Sonar sailors enjoyed some healthy competition between the four teams racing, with a 10-race series determining the winning team of Rick Doerr (Clifton, NJ), Dawn Hart (Tampa, FL) and Charles McClure (Brookline, MA). Doerr, who last raced with Hart at the 2018 Clagett, will line up against her as a fellow skipper at the Sonar National Championships in Chicago. “This is an outstanding group of sailors and sportspeople,” said Doerr. “We play hard on the water and at the end of the day we share notes and are friends. Every year we come back with new skills and on the water we are just sailors. My crew are accelerating upwards – this time last year Dawn was a novice and now she can run the boat as boat captain. Charles has a new role on the boat, and today he nailed it.”
The eight Canadian and three American sailors competing in the 2.4mR class enjoyed very close racing for their 10-race series. Eventual class winner, Peter Eager (Toronto, ON), has been to five Clagett Regattas in the 2.4mR class and remarked after racing wrapped up, “This is an incredible regatta. Today was outstanding racing. We had a bit of everything with the weather here in Newport. I started sailing as a nine-year-old in a Sabot and have sailed in Sharks, Martin 16s and started sailing the 2.4mR in 2014. This is my first win at The Clagett and I think it’s a case of perseverance pays off.” Representing the National Yacht Club, Eager was also awarded the overall C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Trophy and commented after receiving the award, “I can’t thank everyone enough. It is such a pleasure to be here. This regatta is the highlight of my year.”
Martin 16 sailors Pauline Dowell and Cindy Walker (Community Boating Inc., Boston, MA) won the Susan B. Johnson Sportsmanship Award as well as the Robie Pierce and Gene Hinkle Seamanship Award. Representing the Nepean Sailing Club, 2.4mR sailor Peter Wood received the Nick Scandone Spirit Award. Receiving the Larry Gadsby Most Improved Award were Siobhan MacDonald (Sail Mabou; third in 2.4mR), Allan Fiske (Shake-A-Leg Miami; third in Martin 16), and Duane Smith, Donoray Bickham and Guy Siegel (Coconut Grove Sailing Club; fourth in Sonar).
The Clagett organization would like to thank sponsors Fiduciary Trust International at the Platinum level; Newman’s Own Foundation at the Gold level; American International Group, Inc. (AIG) at the Silver level; Innovative Construction; and The Horance A. Kimball & S. Ella Kimball Foundation and Alice & Bruce Whelihan at the Bronze level.
“We are so thrilled that we have had another successful Clagett Regatta, the 17th, with sailors from across the US and Canada joining us in here in Newport,” remarked Clagett President and Co-Founder Judy Clagett McLennan (Portsmouth, RI). “We have the support of an amazing group of volunteers, sponsors, supporters, coaches and race officials who come back year after year to put this clinic and regatta on for the sailors. I want to thank everyone who gives so much time and energy. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in 2020 and will be announcing the dates for the 18th Clagett Regatta very soon.”
Top three in each class
1. Peter Eager
2. Ted Green
3. Siobhan MacDonald
1. Carwile LeRoy
2. Pauline Dowell and Cindy Walker
3. Allen Fiske
1. Rick Doerr, Dawn Hart, Charles McClure
2. Gary Pierce, Patrick LoDuca, Jeff Long
3. Spencer Raggio, Sarah Everhart Skeels, Dan Kennedy
Founded in 2003, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), a U.S. Navy World War II veteran who learned to sail on Chesapeake Bay. As a youngster, Tom suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis; an experience that left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities. The Clagett’s stated mission is “to develop a program that will enable sailors with adaptive needs to reach their personal levels of achievement.” Tom Clagett’s motto was “Reach for Success,” which resonates with every Clagett participant. Clagett competitors have seen medal success at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. Competitors often comment that The Clagett has improved their quality of life as they apply what is achieved on the water to everyday situations. To learn more, visit clagettregatta.org. ■