The IC Dinghy MidWinter Championship Regatta travelled from its home in Annapolis for the first time this year, but little was lost by the change of locale. Fleet racing in three fleets, instead of the A/B format, took place at the Larchmont YC in Larchmont, NY on Long Island Sound, home to an active Interclub fleet since the boat was originally commissioned in 1946.
Forty teams braved small craft warnings and forecasts of near southern ocean wind conditions for the event. Saturday was sunny and cold with a westerly breeze of 15-18 knots with stronger gusts and much higher winds forecast with a coming frontal line in the afternoon. Stanley Bell’s Larchmont Race Committee determined that an effort should be made to get in some racing while conditions still allowed it and the fleet set out in the shifty, puffy conditions.
The Committee set a windward leeward course with a wide offset that had the effect of reducing the number of jibes downwind. A strong contrary tide on the beat made for additional tactical challenges. The first two races were completed without serious mishap and resulted in a trade of 1st and 3rd places between 1998 National Champion Neal Fowler of Hyannis and Jim Bowers of the Winthrop (MA) Fleet. Bill Tripp of Larchmont held third at this point.
In the third race, chaos began to break loose. A strong puff on the run set many of the boats as close to a plane as the venerable design will come, however several of the boats which had held high on port jibe found themselves in trouble and several capsizes ensured, including a spectacular crash jibe flip by Larchmont skipper Anthony Law during which his boom snapped in half. Neal Fowler put another bullet on the board in this race and began to put a stranglehold on the regatta.
The fourth and fifth races saw a slight decrease in the chaos. Former Sunfish Class Champion Paul-Jon Patin won the fourth with Fowler second, however Patin was never able to become a factor in the regatta because he found himself rendering assistance to swimmers in several races. Ed Adams of Newport won the fifth race (Fowler’s only double digit performance) to press Bowers in second. The top three were closely followed by Tripp, Kerry Klingler of Larchmont and Bill Lynn of Marblehead who had seconds in race two and three.
The sixth race once again saw the fleet pummelled by some spectacular puffs. Bill Lynn was one of the victims when an out of control competitor caused him to capsize at the leeward mark. Two other boats had already flipped on the run and several others escaped from close shaves. Bill Tripp won the race, but with Adams in second and Fowler in fourth there was no room to move up. With all of the crashboats occupied and fully 25% fleet retired due either to capsize or breakdown, the Race Committee elected to call it a day and try to save something for Sunday’s predicted lighter winds.
Many of the sailors enjoyed the fine party at Larchmont that evening with beer provided by sponsor Sam Adams (no relation to Ed!) and raffle prizes donated by Harken, Douglas Gill, Guck and The Layline.
Unfortunately, forecasts are notoriously innacurate, and Sunday, far from bringing more sailable conditions brought – in addition to frigid temperatures – a gusty northerly with puffs in the mid-30’s and shifts all over. The Race Committee postponed for an hour, but with no sign of a decrease in the wind, packed it in and called it a regatta, giving Neal Fowler an additional feather to add to last spring’s National Championship.
— Andrew Besheer
(all fleets on same start)
|A-Fleet (18 boats)|
|755||Neal Fowler||Mike Collins||Hyannis||11|
|717||Jim Bowers||Myrna Fong Macrae||Winthrop||20|
|693||Ed Adams||Carol Newman Cronin||Newport||22|
|B-Fleet (16 boats)|
|801||Matt Cotrell||Cicily Natunewicz||Annapolis||78|
|675||Alex Pline||Sherry Eldridge||Annapolis||84|
|C-Fleet (5 boats)|
|270||Ross Dierdorff||Ian Mutnick||Annapolis||120|
|88||Peter Daniels||Mike Marrero||Larchmont||163|