Boothbay sailors tie winners in Newport

Posted:  Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 7:45am

Boothbay Region Sailing Club (BRSC) traveled to Newport, Rhode Island last weekend to compete in the Halloween Howl. This has become a popular weekend for the sailors to sail in legendary Newport waters, while the parents tend to enjoy the weekend trip almost as much.

Team members and families arrived in Newport Friday to unload boats and get settled in. Saturday’s forecast was for pleasant 12-14 knots of southerly breeze, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. The sailors rigged their boats and either attended the skipper’s meeting or got in an early practice.

Toby Clarkson launched his Opti in 12 knots of breeze and headed to the race course. Racing in the Blue Fleet for sailors 12-13 year old, Clarkson had difficulty getting a good start with clean air. Rounding the first weather mark in 33rd, he pushed west to take advantage of strong favorable current and wind. All competitors did likewise yet the gambit failed for Clarkson dropping several boats on the longer route to the leeward mark. He finished 45th. Clarkson learned quickly and went left after the start to avoid current, sailed along Goat Island in race 2 and finished 35th. Improving steadily, he won both starts at the pin end of the line on Sunday in heavy air of 18-20 knots, scoring a regatta best 17th in race 6. After seven races, Clarkson finished 27th overall among the 54 Opti sailors.

Co-captain Nolan Conlin and 8th grader Henry Currier raced Lasers for the first time on Sunday. The windy conditions proved challenging with boats capsizing up and downwind. Conlin took advantage of capsizes in both races. He took second in the first race after a leader capsized downwind, and was in second at the leeward mark of the second race after another leader capsized, but Conlin’s larger teammate Henry Currier was able to sail flatter and passed him on the way to a 3rd place finish in race 2. Conlin and Currier’s good natured competition saw them finish the regatta in 3rd and 4th place respectively.

Nate Rideout and co-captain Nate Graves sailed consistently finishing 18th in the first and 12th in the second race for a 16th overall finish in the C420 Fleet. In the second race, they hoisted the spinnaker and began passing boats as they kept it full and drawing. This was 10 places better than last year. Rideout switched from crew to skipper in April and has demonstrated the ability to work towards the top of the fleet with a good start. Graves, a senior, has been a steady force on the team providing competent crew work that keep skippers out of trouble, and organizational skills on shore.

Ella Beauregard and Hamilton Barclay won the pin in Race 1. Tacking three times along the Goat Island shore they tacked to port and then began tacking and covering the fleet up the middle. Never ducking, they held a three-boat lead at the weather mark extending further on each leg. Beauregard spent most of her time on the trapeze trimming the jib or chute. The pair won the first race by over 45 seconds. They went for the same start in Race 2 but a boat close to weather impeded their initial progress. They rounded the weather mark in 2nd, close behind recently crowned Mid-Atlantic Under 17 champions Seth Rzilka and Natalie Elder who went to the right after the start. Boothbay’s boom touched the mark and they immediately performed a 360-degree penalty turn. When their chute opened they took off on a plane and were able to catch the lead boat by the jibe mark. Two boats got between them and 1st place Rzilka on the jibe which neither did cleanly. Beauregard and Barclay passed one and closed on the top two boats when they crossed the line in third. Tied with Rzilka and Elder on points the Boothbay pair took second place overall.

The Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club and the BHYC Junior Program Foundation support the sailing team. The BRSC team ends its season with the Last Blast Regatta Saturday, Nov. 4 at Boothbay.