60 boats descended on Duxbury Bay Maritime School and Duxbury Yacht Club for this year’s Interclub Dinghy National Championships, held mid season on December 1-2, 2001. The event was hosted by the Scituate Frostbite Association, and competitors included over a dozen past and current collegiate All-Americans, National and World Champions and Olympic Medalists. After 12 very tight races, MIT sailing coach Mike Kalin and Ariya Dararutana, a member of the MIT sailing team emerged victorious.
Saturday’s 70 degree weather and 12 to 20 knot southwesterly featured six windward leeward races. Olympic Silver Medalist and past IC National Champion Steve Benjamin and crew Adam Walsh came out on top of Saturday’s racing, yet were closely tailed by a pack of eight boats, all within 15 points of the lead. The competitors knew that with the expert race management of Fran Charles, MIT’s sailing master and past Interclub National Champion, the regatta would feature a full day on Sunday if the weather permitted.
Sunday’s racing began in a 6 to 12 knot northwesterly with Kalin and Dararutana jumping out to to win the first. Steve Kirkpatrick and Craig Fagan displayed good starts and solid speed to win both the second and third races of the day and to slide past Benjamin and Adams into second. In race four Kalin and Dararutana popped off another bullet, while Benjamin, Kirkpatrick and three time National Champions Jim Bowers and crew Myrna Chen MacCrae were slightly further back. In race five, Benjamin and Adams battled back with a second just ahead of the Bowers/MacRae team followed by Kalin and Dararutana in fourth. At this point Kalin and Dararutana had the regatta won, however there was still debate as to the rest of the positions.
The final race featured the largest windshifts and velocity changes of the 12 race series. At the first mark all the players vying for the top five spots were doing well. Downwind a pack of boats including contenders Ed Adams, Steve Benjamin, Geoff Moore and Neal Fowler all gybed and headed left while Steve Kirkpatrick, Chad Demarest and Jim Bowers continued on starboard. As the breeze gradually shut down, the boats on the right maintained better breeze with Kirkpatrick, Demarest and Bowers hanging on to finish first through third.
A great time was had by all the competitors, who will continue to frostbite throughout the winter.