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Aug 20, 2019 5:15 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Yacht Squadron Hosts Mid-Atlantic Midget Championships

Young sailors get ready for the GSBYRA Mid-Atlantic Midget Championships hosted by the Westampton Yacht Squadron in Remsenburg this past weekend. DREW BUDD
Aug 20, 2019 5:31 PM

The title of the regatta may suggest differently, but sailors stood tall for this past weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Midget Championships hosted by the Great South Bay Yacht Racing Association via the Westhampton Yacht Squadron in Remsenburg.

The two-day event brought in the region’s top sailors, from as far south as Virginia to as far north as Connecticut, and each day provided different racing conditions. On Saturday, 10- to 12-knot winds made for five optimist races and six 420 races — and in those 420 races, there were five different first-place finishers. Many of the sailors returned to Remsenburg on Sunday to find no wind whatsoever. In fact, Moriches Bay was about as flat as a lake, with not only no wind, but no tides, either. Eventually, as the day got closer to noon, winds picked up to 8- to 12-knots and the 420s enjoyed four more races while the optis had five more.

Only qualifying members who have been selected by the participating yacht racing associations, done so through their own qualifiers, were eligible for this championship. Participating YRAs included Chesapeake Bay YRA, YRA of Long Island Sound, Eastern Long Island Sailing Association, Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association, Middle Atlantic YRA, Great South Bay YRA, North Jersey YRA, and Barnegat Bay YRA. Within those YRAs are 15 to 100 clubs in each, with a total of 350 sailing clubs to choose from. Entries were limited to two boats per YRA for the singlehanded championship in the optis, and double-handed championship in the 420s.

It was the first time that GSBYRA hosted the event, according to its president, Dave Hale. While there are 17 clubs within the confines of GSBYRA, Hale said that realistically, five of them could have hosted such an event, and he chose Westhampton Yacht Squadron.

“I knew the facility could accommodate all of the sailors, and I knew the hospitality of that particular club is tremendous,” he said.

As expected, many of the Long Island sailors had the upper hand, and Old Cove Yacht Club in New Suffolk, representing the Peconic Gardiners Junior Sailing Association, competed well, with winners from both races hailing from the club.

“I think they were probably more accustomed to the wind, the currents, the situation in general,” Hale said. “I did have a couple of kids who I spoke to on the 420 course who said they’ve never seen current like we had.”

Julian Dahiya of Old Cove finished well ahead the rest of the opti pack with nine points. Cole Meyer of Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay placed a distant second with 35 points, followed by Willem DeSimone (38) of Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford, Maryland, Kyle Reinecke (43) of Annapolis Yacht Club and Benjamin Lindo (51) of Watch Hill Yacht Club.

The 420s had a bit more of a competitive finish. Ben Honig and Connor Fischetti of Old Cove took first place with 16 points, followed by Dylan and Christopher Devine of Groton Long Point Yacht Club who placed second with 27 points. Zachary Klusky and Erickson Rankin of Seawanhaka Corinthian placed third with 29 points, Walker Angus and Eleanor Patterson of Fishing Bay Yacht Club of Deltaville, Virginia, placed fourth with 32 points and Skylor Sweet and Audrey Commerford of North East River Yacht Club in North East, Maryland, rounded out the top five with 33 points.

Full results can be found at regattanetwork.com/event/19128.

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