Featured Story

A spectacular Race Week for the Shelter Island Yacht Club

The winds came through a little later in the day on Friday, Aug, 6, but when they did, they enabled some excellent sailing. Saturday saw even more wind as a full day of racing was held in Gardiners Bay.

Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) Race Week (RW) is a four-day event. Thursday, Aug. 4, saw interclub junior sailing Laser’s and 420’s on the water west of the club. Friday was PHRF rated race around the Island. Reminder: PHRF races are open to all with a rating certificate.

The Friday race started at the Greenport jetty and the Saturday races, also PHRF, are around buoys in the bay. Sunday was the H12’s and the Etchells race in Orient Harbor. All together, some 490 competitors and 167 boats were expected to participate. Eleven different races were scheduled.

Friday had five divisions including one labeled “sport boat.” This new division carried over to Saturday, but the number of divisions was reduced to four.

An excellent turnout saw 37 boats start Friday and 31 on Saturday. As Commodore Lisa Reich observed, “We are a vibrant club with many opportunities for exceptional racing. I am thankful for so many dedicated staff and volunteers that make these events a success. A good time was had by all.” 

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of RW is the range of boats participating. Some very serious top-of-the-line racers like Larry Landry and Paul McDowell’s TP 52 and Jim Madden’s Carkeek 47 are at the world class regatta level.

These two boats sail with crews in the double digits. Then there are one design racers like the Viper 640, J 80 and the RS 21 that are designed for small crew club racing. In the middle are cruising boats like mine, drafted for the event into performing racing duties.

Bottom line, there is a division for everyone and PHRF rating in hand there is no reason not to be out on the water racing. Of course the one design Laser and 420 class are the boats that serve as vehicles to a lifelong love of the sport.

Another of the innovative features this year was SIYC Director of Sailing and Junior Sailing Director Jeff Bresnahan’s directive to have some of the junior sailors and their instructors participate in RW aboard SIYC members’ boats. This turned out to be an excellent opportunity for the students and the race participants to sail together and learn from each other.

Aboard Sachem for the Round the Island race we had William Bateman, James Bergstrom, Dylan Braner and their instructor Benjamin Stevens aboard. This added crew allowed Sachem to enter a different division than normally and these talented sailors added significantly to the boat’s performance. Saturday saw some of the junior sailors get an opportunity to sail on the TP 52 … an experience not to be forgotten.

As the sailor who has participated in more club races than anyone, Andrew Ward of J111 Bravo put it, “Day two was epic, we had great wind and the Race Committee ran a well-organized event.”

Vice Commodore John Sommi added an interesting perspective, “Not only was it great fun, but almost everyone was back at the club at the same time, it seemed like magic. If that was the goal of the Race Committee, they accomplished it. The fact that Larry Landry came in with the Vipers says it all.”

Friday’s Round the Island racers division three, four and five saw a shortened course with the turning mark off Coecles Harbor. Division one and two completed their circumnavigation.

However, the shortened course did not diminish the enthusiasm for the day. As Beth Van der Eems on her Alerion 38 Osprey said, “We went from 0 to 17 knots of wind in the space of a few hours and we had a great crew.” Peter Dinkel sailing one of the club’s Sonar boats commented, “We had a blast.”

Said veteran offshore sailor Mike Rouzee: “Everyone involved did a great job and we had two days of good winds.”

For day one and two official results go to yachtscoring.com