Featured Story

Windless day and a welcome back for the Menantic Yacht Club

Last Sunday was a special day for the Menantic Yacht Club. 

Commodore Pete and Sallie Bethge, who had been AWOL for the last year-and-a-half, appeared on the Race Committee boat, which we in the MYC view as the official start of summer. Seventeen sailors turned out to welcome Pete and Sallie, and the usual joking and bantering were present. Absent was the wind.

The week before, the MYC had more rain than wind; on Sunday we had drier weather and almost no wind. Many sailors voluntarily went swimming, out of boredom and to cool off, not involuntarily because they were knocked over by the wind. The wind on Sunday was blowing from the northwest at between zero and maybe 3 or 4 knots and only intermittently, until the last race. Due to the lack of wind, the Race Committee postponed racing from our usual 2 p.m. start to about 2:30, when some ripples appeared on the water. That first race was torturous. The course was up to the windward mark, downwind to the finish, and it took 30 minutes to finish that very short course. 

I wish I could say the competition was strong, but I can’t. Normally it is fierce. On Sunday everyone tried their best, but when every sailor winds up drifting backwards, or you are abreast of three or four other boats and they’re all moving in different directions, including backwards, one does feel almost helpless, and definitely out of control. After rounding the windward mark in one race and heading downwind toward the finish, Ellen Leonforte got turned around. Her bow was pointed away from the finish; her boat, however, was moving stern first toward the finish. That’s the kind of day we all experienced on Sunday.

Commodore Pete ran the races and it was terrific having him back on board the Race Committee, ably assisted by Betsy Colby, Marian Thomsen and, of course, Sallie Bethge. Despite the windless conditions, the RC was able to run four short races. Thank you all for doing a superb job in trying conditions. Remember sailors, come up alongside the committee boat and give them your full name and wear a life jacket.

There was one newcomer, Stephanie Stahl, who has not sailed a Sunfish since her college days. She placed third in one race and will be returning. Peter Lane, who sails with the club occasionally, made an appearance on Sunday.

Denise Fenchel captained the chase boat in Betty Bishope’s absence, along with Rita Gates.  They had an uneventful afternoon and Denise spent more than a little time in the water cooling off. According to Denise, Betty will be leaving her vacation on Martha’s Vineyard early this coming Sunday morning in order to be back in time for the races. That’s knowing your priorities.

Marian and Larry Thomsen graciously hosted the after-race party. There was way too much food to describe and it was all delicious. It was a perfect night to welcome Commodore Pete and Sallie back to Shelter Island. Even the unseasonably cool, dry weather cooperated. Jonathan Brush presented Pete with a little gift that had washed up on his beach — Pete’s winter stake with the name Bethge in very legible letters, which left Pete to wonder how it had managed to break free from its mooring. Commodore Pete also presented MYC glass trophies to the first and second place winners, Paul Zinger and Lee Montes. 

We are a 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. All sailors, novice to expert, are welcome. Just show up in West Neck Harbor at 2 p.m. on any Sunday through Labor Day. Commodore Bethge has a fleet of loaner boats available on a first to reserve basis. Call Bob Harris at 631-749-0524 (email [email protected]) or Peter Beardsley at 917-696-8229 ([email protected]) to reserve your boat or just to ask about our incredible club.

Results:                                  Pts.    Place

Paul Zinger                            7             1

Lee Montes                           23           2

Peter Lane                             23           3

Charlie Modica                    25           4

Bob Harris                             25           5

Will Lehr                                28           6

Jonathan Brush                   31           7

John Colby                            35           8

John Modica                         37           9

Ellen Leonforte                    39           10

Susanne Hulme                   41           11

Kate Duff                               44           12

Stephanie Stahl                   46           13

Mary Vetri                             47           14

Jodi Sisley                              48           15

Rachel Beardsley                57           16

Peter Beardsley                   68           17