Thank you, Charlie Modica, for filling in for me last week — you did a yeoman’s job writing about the antics of the Menantic Yacht Club Sunfish races as I was off in the Catskills. Watch out Charlie, my priorities may go askew again and I have your number.
Two weeks ago I chose chase boat duty because of the strong winds. This past Sunday, Matt Fox, captain of one chase boat, sent me a message hinting that he needed chase boat crew, so I volunteered. It had nothing to do with the fact that the wind was predicted to howl at 18 to 26 knots, and, along with Ellen Leonforte, I’m one of the lightest sailors in the fleet.
It was the right decision on several fronts. There were a number of broken parts, MacGyver-style fixes, and flips requiring in-water rescues.
Susanne Hulme joined the fleet for the first time this season, broke her outhaul, beached her boat, somehow fixed it and only missed one race. Denise Fenchel broke her cunningham, just happened to have a pair of pliers on board and repaired the problem without missing any races. Will Lehr wasn’t so lucky, however.
During the last race, his goose neck broke and he needed a tow to shore. He also slipped off his boat, and not because he wanted to swim, right at the finish line when a heavy gust subsided and he had been hiking out. In the very strong winds I actually expected more sailors to flip, but only seven or eight did so and only four needed rescuing.
All continued racing, demonstrating the quality of the fleet’s sailing and boat handling. In fact, Susanne commented that she had not seen Ellen sailing in a while and was pleasantly surprised at her fortitude and “amazing improvement.”
Getting back to chase boat duty, I hit the water twice to help Alicia Rojas right her boat and we both commented we had to stop meeting like this. Actually, the swim felt really good on a hot humid day. Kudos for being out there in that wind, Alicia. Rob Bethge captained the second chase boat, along with Steve and Melissa Shepstone, who also took turns sailing.
Rob jumped overboard twice also, once to help George Zinger and then someone I didn’t recognize.
There were a number of new faces sailing on Sunday. This past Saturday the Shelter Island Yacht Club hosted a PHRF race including Viper 640’s. MYC member Peter Beardsley, who races both Vipers and Sunfish, invited the other Viper sailors to join the MYC racing on Sunday.
I’m sure they, along with all the regulars, had a great time, and more than likely asked directions to the Pharmacy for muscle relaxers after the intense racing. Where is the massage boat when you need it?
Some of the Viper racers were quite good on Sunfish also. The racing was competitive and three Viper racers finished in the top six places. Viper Jay Rhame beat Peter by 1 point to finish first on the day, followed by Viper Colin Santangelo, Lee Montes and Paul Zinger.
When Jay lost his hat during one race, I picked it up and frisbeed it back to him in a championship style throw witnessed by Lee Montes.
I saw a number of sailors do their penalty turns, including John Modica when he hit the windward mark, dragging it a short distance, which helped out all the sailors behind him. Charlie must have been feeling generous Sunday because he let his younger brother beat him again.
Commodore Pete Bethge was the principal race officer on Sunday. Also aboard the committee boat were Betsy Colby, Marian Thomsen and Sallie Bethge. The Race Committee ran six longer-than-usual races, mixing up the courses.
The wind was steady and no marks needed to be moved, freeing up the chase boats for rescues. Thank you all for doing a superb job.
Many thanks to Marian and Larry Thomsen for hosting the after-race party, which featured delicious food and much laughter. It was the perfect way to top off a full, hard day of sailing.
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.
See you on the water.
Results: Pts. Place
Jay Rhame 14 1
Peter Beardsley 15 2
Colin Santangelo 21 3
Lee Montes 23 4
Paul Zinger 33 5
Cole Constantineau 34 6
Doug Rose 49 7
John Modica 51 8
Ryan Dempsey 62 9
Rich Prieto 67 10
Charlie Modica 69 11
Rachel Beardsley 81 12
Will Lehr 84 13
Ruth Hakansen 98 14
Denise Fenchel 99 15
Eric Ryan 107 16
Melissa Shepstone 115 17
Tom Pickett 124 18
Steve Shepstone 126 19
Gabe Pereira 129 20
John Colby 131 21
Ellen Leonforte 133 22
Susanne Hulme 134 23
Kate Duff 134 24
Brian Johansen 141 25
Alicia Rojas 147 26
Rachel Rhame 162 27
George Zinger 163 28
Allyson Schultz 180 29