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