Southport sailors Ella Beauregard and Hamilton Barclay raced the Youth Challenge Regatta in Newport Rhode Island June 8-9. The young sailors tested their preparation against six teams from New England, New Jersey, and Florida in the northeast’s first trapeze and spinnaker regatta in the C420 class. Sail Newport at Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island hosted the regatta and will host the C420 National Championships in July. Sail Newport is a favored venue with a big grass lawn for set up with a beach launch.
The regatta saw sunny skies and mild temperatures near 70F both days with water temperature at 58F. Most sailors favored layers of spray gear over dry-suits. A north wind of 10-14 knots blew at the 1000 harbor start and through the first start for both the Optimist and C420 class. However, a convergence zone appeared near the start/finish line on the first spinnaker run of the C420 class with the northerly battling a southeasterly. Race Committee abandoned the race with Barclay and Beauregard substantially ahead. Race Committee hoisted the postponement flag and a lengthy delay ensued.
As the breeze oscillated from east to south the wind also built from 6 to 16 knots forcing mark changes and start line adjustments. When racing resumed, Barclay and Beauregard were on the course side (OCS) or “over early” at the start. Seeing the “X” flag they returned to restart, well behind competitors. They sailed up the left center of the course forcing a port tack approach from the Goat Island shore while others sought favored current in the center and right. They tacked and rounded just ahead of the 4th place boat and hot on the stern of the 2nd place boat. Setting the spinnaker they jumped into 2nd while chasing the lead boat. Establishing an inside overlap at the jibe mark, Beauregard executed a quick jibe for so early in the season. They took off to lead by twenty seconds at the leeward mark, eventually finishing more than a minute ahead.
Two more races were completed Saturday with Beauregard and Barclay winning again. Subsequent races replayed this pattern though with less starting drama as Barclay and Beauregard lead at every mark with substantial leads at the finish until the final race. As the flooding tide changed to ebb with Barclay and Beauregard positioned at the committee boat they edged across the line with just seconds to go. Dipping in time to start correctly the pair accelerated into a locked in position just on the weather quarter of Sail Newport’s Macken brothers. For nearly a quarter mile they were pinned, unable to break through nor tack, with boats slightly ahead to leeward and slightly behind to windward. As boats gained and passed the three boats, finally the weather boat tacked away, Barclay and Beauregard tacked to clear away now behind five boats. Barclay headed left again to the Goat Island shore to find a port tack lane inside a 30 boat train of Opti sailors now on their first reaching leg. They hooked into puffs and flat water rounding the weather mark 1st and extended their lead to the finish ending the series with 7 first place finishes in 7 races. John Wood and Audrey Foley from Miami Beach, FL finished 10 points behind in 2nd.
Summer Southport Yacht Club sailors Oliver and Elinor Grant placed 23rd and 46th in the 53 boat Opti fleet.
Barclay and Beauregard attend the Brooke Gonzalez clinic this week in Newport with two dozen of the best collegiate coaches in the country.