For the first time in years, young sailors had to endure overcast skies, periods of rain and choppy waters in the 2013 version of the Southampton Invitational Youth Sailing Regatta, held last Thursday and Friday, July 11 and 12, on Shinnecock Bay out of the Southampton Yacht Club.
The poor weather led to one of the lowest turnouts for the regatta, which had enjoyed perfect conditions and a record turnout of more than 160 sailors just one year ago. Only 110 sailors competed in this year’s two-day event, according to organizers.
“Haven’t seen weather like that for this regatta in years,” Peconic-Gardiners Junior Sailing Association (PGJSA) Past President Mark Caldwell said. “I would say that had something to do with the low numbers.”
The Southampton Invitational is the first of a handful of regattas in the PGJSA Championship Series, which concludes at the Devon Yacht Club in Amagansett on Wednesday, August 14. To qualify for the championships, sailors must compete in at least three invitationals and be members of the PGJSA through their respective clubs.
Seven clubs were represented in last week’s race: Devon, Mattituck, Old Cove (New Suffolk), Orient, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold.
Sunfish, Lasers and 420s all raced on Thursday, while the Optimists took to the waters on Friday. Optis are split into four fleets—green, white, blue and red, according to age and skill. The youngest green fleet sailors compete amongst one another within the safety of the harbor, while the rest of the boats followed courses on Shinnecock Bay. The races were monitored by Southampton Yacht Club junior sailor co-chairs Melanie Cirillo and Nancy Warren, as well as Southampton Yacht Club Sailing Director Chris Weicks.
Rachel Webb and Scott McKinney of the Orient Yacht Club just edged Noelle Crough and Sarah Warren of the Southampton Yacht Club by a point to win the 420 division. Webb and McKinney had a low score of seven points while Warren and Crough had eight. Christopher Davies and Paige Dunlevy of the Devon Yacht Club placed third with 21 points.
There was another close race for first and second in the Laser Radial division, which had 18 entrants. Niamh Hodkinson of the Shelter Island Yacht Club edged Charlie Zaloom of the Old Cove Yacht Club 15-16 to win the division. Sydney Mandelbaum of the Southold Yacht Club placed third with 20 points.
Mason Mackall of the Devon Yacht Club won the Sunfish division with nine points. James Orioli and Henry Potdevin, both of the Mattituck Yacht Club, placed second and third, respectively, with 12 and 18 points. Mike and Jillian Preston of the Southold Yacht Club won the Sunfish Double division with five points. Will Potdevin and Jason Scalia (Mattituck) placed second with 10 points while Robbie Booth and George Hodgson (Southold) placed third with 17 points.
Nathaniel Winters of the Shelter Island Yacht Club was the overall champion of the opti races. He won the red fleet races with a low score of 17 points. Mike Preston (Southold) won the blue fleet and was second overall with 19 points. Charlotte Keil (Old Cove) won the white fleet, and was 15th overall, with 68 points.
For more information on the PGJSA, visit www.pgjsa.org.