Sailing Season Underway

NEWPORT, RI (June 11, 2013) – The threat of Tropical Storm Andrea did not deter the sailing community this weekend as Newport geared up for the summer with a big boat regatta, a record-breaking youth event and the finish and start of two ocean races in Newport.

Weather predictions for Tropical Storm Andrea cast doubt for ideal sailing conditions in the area but initial concerns gave way to a brisk, slightly shifty, but sailable breeze for local racers. Andrea did leave choppy seas in her wake for both days but on Sunday, a brilliant sunny sky and steady 15-18 knot breeze gave sailors a challenging but thrilling racing weekend.

The Leukemia Cup Regatta

On Saturday, 60 captains and their crews from Rhode Island and other New England States participated in a multi-race regatta and raised a Rhode Island record of more than $240,000 to help cure blood cancers.

The New York Yacht Club ran races for four classes of PHRF handicap boats and several One-Design classes including 12 Metre, New York Yacht Club Swan 42, Herreshoff “S” Class, VX One  and the J/70 Class.

Newport sailor Scott Murray, who has raced and won the regatta multiple times, said his joy now comes from earning the top fundraising trophy.

“When I first did the race, it was about winning rather than the cause. Then I realized how much Leukemia and Lymphoma has affected children and many of my friends,” he says.

As in several other renditions of the race, Murray again won top honors for most funds raised and this year rallied over $20,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Murray raced with other local crew on Portsmouth skipper Tom Rich’s Settler and placed fourth in their division.

Gunther Buerman of Newport, won the 12 Metre Division on New Zealand and another Newport sailor, Cynthia Alten-DeLotto on American Eagle won her PHRF division.
For full Leukemia Cup results: www.nyyc.org

Sail Newport Youth Challenge

A record number of youth sailors on 98 boats competed for trophies in the first of the season’s big youth regattas over the weekend.  Three classes of Optis raced along with a Club 420 and Laser Division at Sail Newport’s annual Youth Challenge.

Overall, 71 Opti skippers raced in Blue, White and Red divisions. Ten year-old Justin Callahan (Newport) won the first place trophy in the Opti White Fleet.  His twin brother Mitchell finished fifth in the same 20-boat fleet.  

“It was hard work preparing for the regatta.” Callahan said, “My brother Mitchell and I have been practicing with coach Joakim (Karlsen of Newport) in the same wind and big waves. I just did my best and stayed on the same side of the course as the leader and ended up winning,” Callahan added.

Rebecca Read, 13 years old of Middletown, was the top local girl overall in the Opti Division.

Other local sailors did well in the regatta including the Club 420 Middletown team of skipper Brendan Read (15 years old) and crew Johnny Gieseke (17 years old).  Read and Gieseke captured the top trophy in the double-handed fleet after winning three of nine races in the series.  For full Youth Challenge information: www.sailnewport.org.

Annapolis-to-Newport Race

Newport skipper George David on his 90’ water-ballasted racing machine Rambler sailed ahead of the entire fleet and crossed the finish line on Sunday at 3:59 P.M. in the Annapolis to Newport  475-natutical mile Race.

The crew on Rambler was poised to break the course record as they sailed fast at the start and into the Atlantic Ocean towards Newport on Friday and into Saturday.

By Saturday afternoon, however, wind conditions dropped significantly and brought the sprint to a slow crawl.

“It was a real struggle to get through the light stuff,” he says as the Rambler slowed and crept through Saturday night up the coast of New Jersey.

Harvey reports that just before Noon on Sunday, however, a strong southwest 18-knot breeze filled in and propelled Rambler to an average boat speed of about 10 knots over the last 70 miles to cross the finish line at the Castle Hill Lighthouse.

Rambler finished with an elapsed time of 46 hours, 54 minutes and 29 seconds, four hours shy of the 2001 course record. Rambler will likely win first place in the IRC Division after corrected time and the remainder of the fleet finishes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yesterday, the winds diminished again but Privateer, Ron O’Hanley’s (Newport, RI) Cookson 50’ slipped over the finish line third ahead of the majority of the fleet at 12:30 p.m.

Onboard Privateer was Newport sailor and tactician Brad Read who said, “It was an unusual and hard race,” noting that the race start was delayed in Annapolis for four hours because of too much wind - then nearly stalled at the end with merely enough wind to propel the boat forward.

“When the wind died, “ Read said. “It was definitely a challenge,” he added. Nevertheless,  The Privateer crew out maneuvered the majority of the race and finished third over the line.

To follow the racers finish on Tuesday and Wednesday, visit. www.race.annapolisyc.org.

The sailing report is furnished by Sail Newport. For more information or submissions, email: kim.cooper@sailnewport.org.

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