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Shelter Island’s Menantic Yacht Club says: ‘All aboard the Honey Fitz’

Last week, the Menantic Yacht Club was able to hold only four Sunfish races due to high winds and a fast-moving thunderstorm.

This past Sunday, we had opposite conditions, with the wind gusting to a howling 5 knots at best, and we were only able to hold three races. Despite the windless conditions, everyone on the water was in good spirits and having fun. I am optimistic for the rest of the season.

A number of sailors stayed home because of the light wind, but 23 brave sailors did participate, including Ruth Hakanson, who drove in from up-island, and John Modica who traveled from Connecticut. There were several newcomers including sisters Caitlin and Elizabeth Cummings. Elizabeth shared a boat with her friend Vincent Gatto.

The light to non-existent wind didn’t hinder the competition in the slightest, with newcomer Caitlin placing second overall just behind Derek Webster. Caitlin, who had never sailed a Sunfish before and had just gotten her boat from Peter Beardsley, placed first in the first race and says she will be back every week. Watch out, Derek. And in third place was Eric Ryan, followed by Paul Zinger. Last week I forgot to mention that Peter won the Windels trophy by winning the first race of the season. Congrats.

Betsy Colby ran three short races along with her very capable Race Committee crew of Amy Cococcia, Marian Thomsen, Debra Mintz and Cole Colby’s friend Lily Abrams.  They ran three shorter courses because of the light wind, calling it a day a little before 4 p.m., just as the wind died completely. Some of us were seen paddling back to shore. The Committee used the new sequencing horn that replaced the Ollie used for the past 10 years. They were grateful they didn’t have to use a stop watch and handheld horn as they did last week. 

Betsy also took some boating lessons this past week from Denise Fenchel and Jonathan Brush and is now capable of driving the RC boat. Denise was also seen making a repair to Mary Vetri’s boat. Thank you all for your good will on a very trying day. 

Betty Bishop captained the safety boat, crewed by Dave Daly and Ben Gonzalez. With not much to do, they enjoyed the tasty treats that Dave usually brings along. Matt Fox captained the mark boat, crewed by Rita Gates and Rob Bethge. They also enjoyed a slow afternoon on the water. Thanks, all. Also, thanks to Tom McMahon, Jonathan and Charlie Modica for the use of your boats.

The after-race party was a special event hosted by Charlie and Lisa Modica. Charlie loves historical yachts, and several years ago he acquired the Honey Fitz, the former U.S. Presidential yacht best known for its most famous occupant, President  John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy named the boat the Honey Fitz after his grandfather, former Boston Mayor John H. Fitzgerald, who was nicknamed “Honey Fitz” for being a smooth talker.

President Truman was its first presidential occupant and President Nixon the last. Over the last several years, Charlie had the Honey Fitz completely refurbished to resemble the way Jacqueline Kennedy had decorated it; the restoration was overseen by designer Jack Fhillips. For the extremely well-attended after-race party, Charlie docked the Honey Fitz at Piccozzi’s dock, where we feasted on Commander Cody’s superb fried chicken and sides, as well as sides and desserts from MYC members.

Then we were treated to a cruise, during which Captain Greg Albritton  and First Mate Katelyn Kiefer gave us a first-class tour. By the time we went out on the cruise, about 52 party goers were at the dock and Captain Greg allowed everyone on board. What an amazing experience to go back in time and history and imagine JFK being on board. Thanks Charlie and Lisa for a thrill we will never forget.

We are a very congenial family-friendly club, open to all. We may not have a clubhouse, but 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, and be sure to bring your life jacket. Non-sailors are also welcome to assist with the Race Committee boat and the stake boat.

You can get more information about the MYC at the MYC Facebook page: Menantic Yacht Club, or from Bob Harris at [email protected]. Steve and Melissa Shepstone  have a fleet of loaner boats available on a first to reserve basis. Contact Ellen Leonforte at 914-450-1450 or [email protected] to reserve your boat.

See you on the water

Results                       Pts    Place     

Derek Webster           13             1

Caitlin Cummings         11           2

Eric Ryan                        14        3

Paul Zinger                     15          4

John Modica                   17           5

Bob Harris                         17         6

Joan Butler                       26          7

Charlie Modica                  27        8

Linda Gibbs                        30       9

Denise Fenchel                   32        10

Will Lehr                               35        11

Tom McMahon                   35        12            

Eugene Van Rynbach       36        13

Jodi Sisley                          44           14

Cole Colby                          45         15

John Colby                          48         16

Jonathan Brush                   49        17

Ellen Leonforte                   49         18

Mary Vetri                             52         19

Brett Mintz                          58         20

Ruth Hakeansen                58         21

Stu Homer                            60        22

Elizabeth Cummings

And Vincent Gatto           68        23