L.I. cat sailors re-form weekend race club

Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Though the association disbanded in 2002, two former members believe it’s time to get sailing again

Though the association disbanded in 2002, two former members believe it’s time to get sailing again

A Long Island sailor with a love for catamarans and friendly racing has revived a sailing club after five years of dormancy.

“I started doing a little research last year, online mostly, to see if anyone besides me wanted to get the club up again. I found there was a groundswell of interest,” says Greg Gove, of Greenport, N.Y.

Now, Gove is the new commodore of the Long Island Catamaran Sailors Association, which disbanded in 2002.

“I got e-mails from guys all over Long Island, so I called a meeting on Nov. 19 and about 20 people showed up,” explains Gove, who is 49 and owns a Prindle 19. “A third of those people weren’t members before. With that turnout I figured, ‘Hey, I better run with this.’ ”

The club, first called the Long Island Catamaran Association, was originally formed in 1989 as an easy way to organize races for catamaran owners on the west end of Long Island, says Gove, who joined in 1990. Most of the races were held in Great South Bay and around ShelterIsland.

In 1994 the association merged with two local Hobie fleets and changed its name to the Long Island Catamaran Sailors Association.

“We had about 50 members and about 12 boats or so after the merger. There wasn’t anything better than racing with your friends,” Gove says.

“My fondest memories go back to racing at HeckscherState Park, where everyone would meet and sail all day,” says Steve Bellavia, 46, one of the original founding members. “I especially remember fond memories of sailing with [member] Joseph Seluga and his children. [Seluga] tragically passed away while racing a catamaran with his wife in September 1999.”

Seluga was “the glue of the club,” Bellavia and Gove say — the person who always organized the races. “There was no giving Joe excuses,” Gove says. “He’d call everyone up and say, ‘Just come out and sail, dammit.’ ”

Bellavia and Gove agree the loss of Seluga was the most significant reason the club fell apart.

Despite the five-year hiatus, the spirit of catamaran sailing has lived on in Bellavia and Gove.

“Steve and I got tired of racing all these years against each other,” says Gove. “We need some fresh blood. You don’t get better as a sailor unless you compete against different people. Now, we’re thinking up new ways of getting more people out on the water.”

As of early January, LICSA had about 25 members. Ideally, Gove says, there will be at least 50.

“[This] season I hope to hold two-day races out of OrientState Park,” Gove says. “Maybe we’ll do some around-the-cans racing in Gardener’s Bay, or distance races west to Riverhead [N.Y.]. I don’t know. We’ll see.

“And there are going to be picnic get-togethers, too,” adds Gove. “We have some members who like to sail, but aren’t into racing, so we’d like to make this as all inclusive as possible. It all should be a lot of fun.”

For information about the Long Island Catamaran Sailors Association, call (516) 790-6175, or visit www.licsa.org.