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Practice racing at Menantic Yacht Club

The Menantic Yacht Club (MYC) is back and held its first and only practice race of the 2020 season this past Sunday, June 27, in West Neck Harbor in hot, humid conditions.

The south/southwest wind kept building all afternoon from 6 knots at the start to about 12 knots during the last race, perfect for a practice series. Even though scoring for the day was secondary to practicing, the person who placed second may disagree. Unfortunately, I am writing this missive long distance from my home in New Mexico and everything you read is pure hearsay — but from reliable sources.

Prior to racing, Dave Olsen, Peter Beardsley, Paul Zinger and Ellen Leonforte set up the loaner boats and generally prepared for the day. A real team effort. Tom McMahon and Linda Gibbs did a fantastic job as co-captains.

Several sailors came from off-Island, including Suzanne Hulme who drove in from West Hampton, and regular Joe Sullivan from Southhold. Ellen bicycled over from North Haven.

I always knew that we were a fair weather sailing club. The turnout for a practice race was phenomenal, 15 sailors, including six women, one of whom, Linda Gibbs, placed first in the last race and second overall with a total of 18 points. Mary Vetri had one of her best races ever, placing sixth in the first race. Way to go, Mary.

I expect high performance from you this summer. Chris Lane didn’t sail on Sunday, but flew a drone taking pictures, and plans to start sailing soon. Watch out when he does, other sailors, Chris is one of the best.

The turnout would have been better if regulars Charlie and John Modica, Jim Kohler and Lee Montes had showed. Where were they? Not that I really have standing to say anything given that I’m writing this from Albuquerque.

Overall the fleet performed very well on Sunday. A number of different sailors kept trading places at the top of the fleet, and in a few races, 90% of the fleet rounded the third mark on the course within 20 seconds of each other. Commodore Bethge would have been proud. He and Sallie are still sheltering in Florida.

Besides competitive sailing, there was plenty of activity on the water, not all as planned. George Zinger flipped through no fault of his own. A speeding power boat’s wake did him in just before he was ready to gibe. Please, power boaters, stay clear of the Sunfish fleet. Bill Martens, who was sailing quite well, lost his rudder bracket and was helped from the course by Paul Zinger, who was then late for the start of the next race. It didn’t seem to hurt his overall standing, however. He placed first overall with a score of 7.5. He also traded places with Peter on Race Committee for one race.

The Race Committee consisting of Peter Beardsley and Betsy Colby, who maintained social distance on the committee boat, ran three practice starts and five races, mixing up the race courses. Peter gave sailing tips to several sailors, including Will Lehr. Thanks for a superb job. Remember sailors, come up alongside the committee boat prior to racing and give them your sail number and full name, and bring your life preserver, face mask and be sure to maintain proper distancing.

Billy Sulahian came in all the way from New York City to captain the chase boat, but unfortunately there wasn’t one available for him, so he had to keep an eye on things from shore. Never one to stand idle, Billy took the initiative to locate a lawn mower and mowed a path down to the dock where the commodore keeps all the racing gear. Billy, along with Dave Olsen, plans to get the chase boat that sank last year up and running, hopefully in time for next week’s official start.

Due to COVID-19, the after-race barbecues that are popular with the fleet are on hold. Marian Thomson reminded me that she will miss reading about the fare at the barbecues, such as Judy Hole’s deviled eggs and Betsy Colby’s key lime pie, my favorite. Won’t we all!

We are a very congenial club, open to all, with no dues, no fees and no clubhouse. The sailing is great, the camaraderie is superb, and we just have tremendous fun. Normally, all sailors, novice to expert, are welcome, but, due to COVID-19, for the time being the club is only allowing experienced Sunfishers who are physically capable of righting their own boats to avoid unnecessary contact with the chase boat crew.

Peter Beardsley, a member of the MYC, but outside of the auspices of the MYC, is offering to hold sailing classes for sailors who have some experience and their own boat. Call him for information at 917-696-8229, or email [email protected] Peter is also the person to call if you want to reserve a loaner boat for the Sunday races, on a first-to-reserve basis and, unfortunately, only to experienced Sunfishers this season. If a sailor plans on joining the fleet every Sunday, we will try to reserve a boat for you for the season.

See you on the water?

Practice Results:

1.    Paul Zinger                     7.5

2.   Linda Gibbs                  18

3.    George Zinger            25

4.   Pete Saladino              27

5.   Rachael Beardsley      28

6.   Denise Fenchel           29

7.   Joe Sullivan                    31

8.   Suzanne Hulme           35

9.   Ellen Leonforte           46

10. Mary Vetri                    51

11.   Bill Martens                  53

12. Jonathan Brush            56

13. Will Lehr                        58

14. Tom McMahon          61

15.  Dave Olsen             66