SALLIE BETHGE PHOTO
Racing underway on Sunday on West Neck Harbor by the Sunfish fleet on the Menantic Yacht Club.
The Menantic Yacht Club (MYC) held its first Sunfish race of the season on Sunday July 1 in West Neck Harbor (WNH). Not only did we have great sailing but the 10 to 18 knot winds caused lots of excitement. The MYC broke a first day of season record with 27 boats and 30 sailors participating.
At 1 p.m., Commodore Bethge held a skippers’ meeting. Not much was discussed but we did make one change for the season. This year we will have a protest committee. If you cause an infraction, please do your 360 turn. It is always better to come in a few boats behind instead of dead last plus one. There were no protests this week.
One sailor, Cristina Roig-Morris, who was sailing with her son, Luke, left the races after only one race. Luke wanted to watch the European soccer finals and we all know that kids “rule.” You missed a very hard day of sailing, Cristina.
The Race Committee held five races. Three were around the usual triangular course and two were the triangle plus windward with a downwind finish. The races were held in the middle of WNH instead of off to the side, which provided better wind and longer courses.
During the first race, a power boat hit one of our big neon orange buoys — how is beyond me — sank it and then took off. Shame, shame on you. It was a good thing for the operator of that boat that the bay constable was elsewhere at the time. For the remainder of the races, the committee used the reaching mark for the pin end of the starting line.
With the wind gusting to 18, we had a number of sailors flip, several more than once. I hate to pick on any one sailor but Michael Becker flipped five times. At one point, Melanie Coronetz lost control of her boat rounding a mark. Tom McMahon was right behind her and could not avoid a collision. Melanie slipped off her boat and the sheet wrapped around her neck. Being the Good Samaritan that he is, and realizing that he was not going to win that race anyway, Tom promptly took action that saved Melanie’s life. At one point, I was sailing on starboard tack and minding my own business when I was whacked on my head by Jim Kohler’s boom. Luckily my head is filled with concrete. On a side note, Mary Vetri did not flip once, much to the amazement of her niece, Isabel, who was watching from shore.
With stronger winds, the boats need to be rigged differently than in lighter winds. The main adjustment is to the gooseneck, which needs to be moved back to the 21- or 22-inch mark, giving the boat better helm and allowing it to point higher. The second adjustment is tightening the cunningham. Lighter sailors, including yours truly, should rig a “Jens Rig” in stronger winds in order to keep the boat flatter but no one did so.
During the races, several paddle boarders and kayakers came onto the course. One of the kayaks was struck and flipped over but no one was injured. It is very difficult to see kayaks on the water when sailboats are all around.
As I mentioned earlier, we had a record first day turnout and that was without some regulars, Dave Olsen, Charlie and John Modica and Andy Belford. By the way Andy, I have your red hat from last year.
Welcome back Debbie and Brant Davison, who arrived in style on their 46-foot Grand Banks along with daughters Amy and Megan, who is an officer in the Coast Guard. Taking a first place in a dinghy race with stiff competition has been on Brant’s lifetime bucket list and he succeeded on Sunday. Way to go Grant! Also, welcome back John Marler, Kristina Lange, Hadley Robertson and John Woodward, who had as crew his son John.
Welcome newcomers, Jeffrey Feingold, Hadley’s father, and Amy and Megan Davison.
The top finishers, Steve Shepstone, Chris Lane, Brant Davison, Melissa Shepstone, Richard Smith and Jim Kohler kept trading places during the races. At one point, Steve threaded his way between two starboard boats. Richard, who was very close behind, could not follow and Steve took a wide lead. As you can see from the results, Steve won the day with three first-place finishes. Steve, Melissa and Jim are world class sailors winning worldwide competitions. As usual, I was not close enough to the leaders to really see what was going on. I was dueling it out with 12-year-old Danny McCafferty and cohort Tom O’Shea, and Peter Martini. In the heat of battle, one sailor who shall remain nameless yelled “starboard” when she was on port tack but a collision was avoided anyway.
Many thanks to the Race Committee consisting of Commodore and Sallie Bethge, James Wittaker and Debbie Davidson. Debbie operated the chase boat until the outboard gave out. They did a superb job, considering some of the boats did not have numbers and sails look alike. Sailors, remember to come alongside the committee boat and give them your full name and sail number before the start of racing each week.
An awards banquet was held at Commodore and Sallie Bethge’s after racing. The Bethge clan did a wonderful job. The Windels Memorial Trophy was awarded to Jim Kohler for winning the first race of the season. Jim owns the Dinghy Shop and since he is the MYC member who normally engraves the winner’s name on the Windels Trophy, this year he gets to engrave his own name on it. After the awards presentation, we all enjoyed a great barbeque and tall stories of the day’s events.
We all have a great time at the races. Come one and all, novice to expert, at 2 p.m. every Sunday through Labor Day in West Neck Harbor. Pete Bethge has several boats to lend out on a first to reserve basis. Call Bob Harris at 749-0524 or Pete Bethge at 749-1297. See you on the water.
1. Steve Shepstone 8 ptw. 3 1st
2 Chris Lane 20
3. Brant Davison 21 1 1st
4. Melissa Shepstone 23
5. Jim Kohler 34 1 1st and 1 dns
6. Richard Smith 34
7. Bob Harris 46
8. Danny McCafferty and Tom O’Shea 56
9. Bill Martens 58 1 dns
10. John ? 63
11. Peter Martini 69
12. Linda Gibbs 70
13. Rob Bethge 74
14. Tom McMahon 75
15. Kristina Lange 78
16. Penny Pilkington 86
17. John Woodward and John, Jr. 93
18. Hadley Roberstson 95
19. Michael Becker 97
20. Amy Davison 99
21. Melanie Coronetz 102
22. Megan Davison 102
23. Tom McGurk 102
24. John Marler 111
25. Mary Vetri 113
26. Jeffrey Feingold 125
27. Cristina Roir-Morris and Luke 126