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MYCE, LYCE and wild

As a sailor, I’m always looking at weather and wind forecasts. All last week, the wind forecast for West Neck Harbor on Sunday ranged from 17 to 25 knots at 2 p.m., the start time for the Menantic Yacht Club’s Sunfish races.

I know my limitations and chose chase boat duty instead of a grueling day on a Sunfish. At the end of the day, it was a wise decision. I didn’t need pain pills or a massage therapist, but many of the sailors did, especially as the activities continued on shore after racing with the Men’s Yacht Club Event (MYCE) and Ladies’ Yacht Club Event (LYCE).

Rob Bethge and I manned one chase boat; the other was captained by Matt Fox, with Rita Gates and Betty Bishop as crew. From the start, we knew it was going to be a busy day. Of the 19 boats that started, only 14 made it to the last race. There were a number of flips, crashes and broken parts. During the first race, Betty jumped overboard to help Ellen Leonforte, and I jumped over to help Mary Vetri, who went over and wound up having the sheet wrapped around her.

She was in no danger, but prudently decided the wind was too strong and climbed aboard the chase boat as Rob Bethge sailed her boat to shore.

Then Matt and crew towed Alicia Rojas to shore at Wades Beach. Dave Olsen also left after the first race because of the strong winds. George Zinger is one of only two MYC sailors who always wears a helmet, and it came in handy when his own boom struck him in the head.

He was fine, but sailed to shore. Denise Fenchel got stuck in the Committee Boat’s anchor line, was blown into the boat, punctured her sail in two places, and still managed to complete all six races. Kate Duff went over and her bottom spar broke, yet she managed to sail back to Wades Beach. Paul Zinger had to repair his rudder on shore and just made the second race. And all this was only the first race.

The above mishaps didn’t impede the competition in the least, and the worst of the mishaps ended with the first race. Viewing from the chase boat, I could see the leaders continually changing position. Peter Beardsley had a stellar day, placing 1st in five races. Lee Montes was a close 2nd, with one 1st place finish. Doug Rose placed 3rd, and John Modica 4th. Again, where’s Charlie — oh, in 7th place?

I’m really impressed by how much Will Lehr has improved; on a really tough day he placed 5th. Congrats, all.

Commodore Pete Bethge was the Principal Race Officer (PRO) on Sunday. Also aboard the Committee Boat were Betsy Colby, Marian Thomsen and Sallie Bethge. The Race Committee ran six races, mixing up the courses, finishing around 4 p.m. Thank you all for doing a superb job, as always.

After the races, Pete and Sallie were back to shore in time to host the LYCE and MYCE, followed by the after-race party. The commodore looks forward to judging these shore events every year, which included golf putting over terrain with many obstacles such tree roots and rocks, basketball hoops, bean bag and frisbee throwing.

Not only did Peter and Lee finish 1st and 2nd in actual racing, but they tied in the MYCE. Peter persevered after three intense playoff rounds to much applause. Kate Duff won the LYCE. Congrats.

Ruth Hakansen and her daughter, Chloe, shared a boat, completed two races and then sailed around for fun. For the sailors who ended the day early, kudos on knowing your limits.

Many thanks to the Bethge Clan for throwing a great party with gourmet fare. Also thanks to all participants for the delicious desserts and sides. Everyone had a terrific time and probably a sound sleep Sunday might.

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. All sailors, novice to expert, are welcome. Just show up in West Neck Harbor at 2 p.m. on any Sunday through Labor Day, check in with the Race Committee, giving them your full name and sail number, be sure to bring your life jacket, and for the protection of the chase boat crew, be fully vaccinated.

Also bring a signed waiver if sailing for the first time. Commodore Bethge has a fleet of loaner boats available on a first to reserve basis. Call Bob Harris at 505-235-5844 (email: [email protected]) or Ellen Leonforte at 914-450-1450 (email: [email protected]) to reserve your boat or just to ask about our incredible club.

See you on the water.

Results:                                             Pts             Place

Peter Beardsley                                 7                                  1

Lee Montes                                         15                               2

Doug Rose                                           24                               3

John Modica                                       30                               4

Will Lehr                                               36                               5

Paul Zinger                                          38                               6

Charlie Modica                                 45                               7

Jake Siewert                                        46                               8

Rich Prieto                                           54                               9

Denise Fenchel                                 58                            10

Steve Shepstone                               61                             11

Ellen Leonforte                                 77                            12

John Colby                                           79                            13

Jonathan Brush                                 79                            14

Ruth &K Chloe Hakansen           110                         15

George Zinger                                    112                         16

Kate Duff                                              114          17

Mary Vetri                                            120          18

Alicia Rojas                                           120          19