Memories of summer
Justin Gellar, 11, of Old Lyme, Conn., practices the skills he learned this year at the Pettipaug (Conn.) Yacht Club's Sailing Academy.
Upset marks 12 Metre world title race
While history didn’t quite repeat itself, it came pretty close. The final races of the New York Yacht Club’s 2009 12 Metre World Championships were sailed on a sparkling Rhode Island Sound as helicopters buzzed and spectator boats jockeyed for front-row seats to the action — evoking memories of 26 years to the day when the longest winning streak — 132 years — in sporting history ended with the loss of the “Auld Mug” to Australia.
On this day, however, there were 17 of the venerable 12 Meters making their way around the old America’s Cup stomping grounds off Newport, R.I.’s Brenton Point.
For the final act of the world championships, two races were sailed in all four divisions — Grand Prix, Modern, Traditional and Vintage — before The Candy Store Cup was rerun after being abandoned on Day 2 of racing. Bill Koch of Palm Beach, Fla./Osterville, Mass., on Kiwi Magic-KZ7, won the Grand Prix division after adding finishes of 1-3 for a net total of seven points. Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, Del., driving Wright on White-KZ3, finished 3-2 to place second overall in the division standings, one point back.
The Traditional Division saw the only real upset of the championship as Charlie Millikin and Carol Swift, both of Newport, on American Eagle-US21, fought back from a three-point deficit with a 1-2 to tie Weatherly’s Clay Deutsch of Newport who finished 2-3. With eight points apiece, the tiebreaker went in favor of American Eagle, earning Swift a surprise swim off the dock at Bannister’s Wharf courtesy of the crew.
In the Vintage division, Einar Sissener of Norway, on Gleam-US11, was a point out of first when the day began and placed first in both races to win by three points over Kip Curren of Middletown, R.I., on Northern Light-US14.
“In the Modern fleet, on any given day any boat can win, they’re all that close,” says Dennis Williams of Hobe Sound, Fla./Mashpee, Mass. after winning that division on Victory ’83-K22.
Rolex sail program graduates 2009 class
Twenty-five young female sailors trained at the Rochester (N.Y.) Yacht Club in the Next Step to Rolex Program. The sailors, ranging in age from 14-17 and representing junior programs from throughout the United States, were selected to participate in the once-of-a-lifetime keelboat clinic, the core outreach program of US Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship.
Organized by 1988 U.S. Olympian and two-time winner of the Rolex IWKC Cory Sertl of Rochester, the program ran Oct. 7-10 and featured all-day clinics with the focus on making the transition from dinghies to keelboats.
The program used International J/22s, the same keelboat used in the Rolex IWKC, with four sailors on each and accompanied by a coach.
In addition to Sertl, a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, coaches included Sertl’s Rolex IWKC crew Amy Moran, along with 2008 Olympic gold medalist and US Sailing’s 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe, Justin DaMore, RYC’s sailing director Jon Faudree and RYC’s junior sailing director Liz Bower.
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This article originally appeared in the Connecticut & New York Home Waters Section of the December 2009 issue.