PETE BETHGE PHOTO | Sunfish race in West Neck Harbor last year.
The Menantic Yacht Club (MYC) held its first and only practice Sunfish race on Sunday, June 26 in West Neck Harbor. The winds were light, variable and squirrely, from the west southwest at between 4 and 8 knots. The Race Committee held five races. Three were around a triangular course, a shorter race was a windward-leeward finish and a longer race included the triangle plus windward-leeward finish.
Only seven sailors participated in the races but they were the true MYC regulars: Dave Olsen, Penny Pilkington, Melanie Coronetz (who only misses races if there is a good tennis match on TV), Daniel McCafferty (only 11 years old but an up-and-coming racer), Bill Martens, Linda Gibbs (her other half, Tom McMahon, claiming a sore knee from surgery, conveniently loaned his boat to Daniel who put it to great use), and, of course, yours truly.
Where were Mary Vetri, Charlie Modica, Andy Belford and the rest of our regulars?
Prior to racing, Commodore Bethge held a captains’ meeting at his home to discuss the current racing season. There will be a change in the way race courses are determined. A preprinted laminated card depicting a total of six different courses will be handed out. Every sailor will need to keep this card on his or her boat. The committee will call out a letter, A through F; just look at your card to see what the course will be. For those of us who wear glasses, remember to bring them. For newcomers, pick up your course card from the committee boat.
Everyone had a great time practice racing, but Danny really outshone us all. He took three first-place finishes and in one race he led by at least 2 or 3 minutes. He is obviously taking lessons at the Shelter Island Yacht Club from Victor Diaz. Maybe Victor will join us one of these weeks and impart some knowledge to those of us that could use it.
The races were basically uneventful but Dave Olsen did spice things up a bit when he slid off the stern of his boat just before crossing the finish line, almost causing Linda Gibbs to hit the committee boat. She was coming up on Dave to windward and had to quickly adjust course, sliding between both Dave and the committee boat with just inches to spare. I really wonder if Dave just needed to cool off; it was a hot afternoon.
For landlubbers, the time after a sailboat race seems impossible. Boats are all over the course. However, the first mark, the windward mark, is the mark that every sailor wants to round first. Rounding first does not mean that a sailor will finish first but it does help and for people watching the race, one gets an idea of who is leading. However, a good start is the most important part of racing, especially during shorter courses. On Sunday, the lead changed hands many times and finishes were very close, by no more then half-boat lengths in some instances.
Many thanks to the Race Committee consisting of Commodore Bethge and his new bride, Sallie. They did a superb job as usual.
Sailors, remember to come up alongside the committee boat and give them your sail number and full name before the start of racing each week. Also, pick up a laminated course card if needed.
Sunday, July 3 will mark the official start of the MYC Sunfish racing season. There will be a captains’ meeting starting at 1 p.m. at Commodore Bethge’s home, 1 East Brander Parkway. The races will start promptly at 2 p.m. in West Neck Harbor. The entire Bethge crew will be there, including world class sailors Steve and Melissa Shepstone. Get there early and you may pick up some valuable tips on racing from some of the experts.
Day prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes and the Windels Memorial Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the first race of the season. Victor Diaz won the trophy last year.
There will be a cookout at the Bethges’ after the racing on July 3. Please call Pete or Sallie if you plan on attending. A donation of $5 per person to defray the cost of the food would be appreciated. Bring your own drinks.
The MYC is a very friendly club. Whether you are a novice or expert sailor, come join in the fun and camaraderie. The club has extra Sunfish available on a first-to-reserve basis. Call either Pete Bethge at 749-1297 or Bob Harris at 749-0524 to reserve your boat. See you on the water.
Practice Race Results
1. Daniel McCafferty 7 3
2. Bill Martens 15 1
3. Dave Olsen 16 1
4. Bob Harris 19
5. Penny Pilkington 22
6. Linda Gibbs 30
7. Melanie Coronetz 30
1 point for first place, 2 for second, etc.