25 August 2006

22 AUGUST 2006Article courtesy of Ed Furry • The end of the Summer on Long Island Sound concludes with two big JSA Big Boat Regattas. On Monday August 14th and Tuesday August 15th the junior sailing programs borrow members boats and race to see who is the best junior team on Long Island Sound. This year IHYC was lucky enough to be able to borrow Simon Williams’ new Melges 32 for these two fun events.

The boat arrived a little late due to an extended stay in customs so the Indian Harbor Juniors had to cram in their practice time the weekend before the event.

Monday was the first test to see how the new Melges 32 would stack up against the rest of the teams. This event was a one day series called the Dorade. Three races would be attempted with one to make it official. The day started out a little slow with light air and a postponed start. Indian Harbor’s Melges 32 would enjoy these conditions as the boat likes to go faster than the wind. They would work the breeze up the left side of the course and rounded the windward mark with a big lead. A quick gybe and they extended their lead to the shortened finish line and a twelve minute win over the second place boat. Only two boats would finish within the 20 minute time allowance. A good start to the event.

Race two would be a lot different as the breeze shifted and built to over 20 knots. The Melges 32 would perform just as well as they lead each mark. With only 5 juniors on the boat this made for a lot of work to get the sails up and down but they managed to do it flawlessly in this race. They won by well over a minute. The almost 15 knots of boat speed helped secure a large lead.

The third race wouldn’t be as good as the breeze built and the call to look at the code 4 was a bad move as it still up when the five minute gun went off and the breeze would drop before the start. Slugging upwind underpowered was tough and not being able to break through another boat downwind hurt but a jib change downwind helped the team make some gains and the final downwind IHYC was able to pass a boat to finish second over the line and correct to a 5th place and take the victory for the day.

Tuesday August 15th brought a new race and much anticipation of some more success. The Beach Point Yacht Club Overnight Race would draw more junior teams from around Long Island Sound. A luncheon and briefing would end final preparations for the teams as they would anxiously anticipate the course decision before the afternoon start.

Once on the water in the light winds the teams would show their team pride with flags and team shirts circling before the postponed start. Once underway their were many decisions to be made. The course was set for a 57 mile race around Stratford Shoals and back to Bell 42. Division B would start 15 minutes before Division A so IHYC would get a good view of the wind and sail choices. The spinnaker set right after the start was the call but that wouldn’t last long as it would keep the boat closer to Connecticut and away from the stronger following current that was in the middle of the Sound. The ligh jib would go up about 20 minutes into the race for about a half hour before going back to the VMG Spinnaker to once again work back to Connecticut and the stronger breeze. IHYC was the first and maybe only team to gybe towards Connecticut and it seemed to be a good decision. As they gybed back the rest of the fleet would disappear and were out of site when they rounded the Stratford Shoal Lighthouse just before 8:30pm. The handheld VHF was a little weak to get back to the radio boat but once the 9:00pm call in came around IHYC was back a little closer to the fleet. As the night drew on the fleet once again disappeared and a Midnight finish looked possible. Unfortunately the breeze would die but a few late wind shifts that were successfully navigated allowed the IHYC Juniors to finish just after 2:00am for a big victory. The 3:00am call brought a little frustration for the rest of the fleet as IHYC was able to radio in and let the rest of the fleet that they were finished with racing and almost home.

IHYC Juniors consisted of the following Driver: Alex Gestal, Main: Stephanie Hart, Jib: Rachel Nichols, Pit: Ryan Giannotto, Bow: Alaxandra "Cille" Meberg with Instructor: Morgan Kellogg and Owners rep: Ed Furry. Unable to sail but a big part of the team was Ed Williams. For results for both events and other JSA information please click on the links here:

JSA of Long Island Sound