Danny Pletsch and Kari Sachs turned in a virtuoso performance to win the 2009 Interclub Nationals, Presented by ACE Recreational Marine Insurance on April 18-19, 2009, by 49 points over two-time defending champions John and Molly Baxter. Conditions were picture perfect for the 14-race series with a warm, puffy westerly gusting to 18 knots on Saturday followed by a lighter, lumpier easterly on Sunday. A 55-boat fleet made this the largest Interclub Nationals since the regatta was last held at LYC in 2003.
Principal Race Officer Charlie Ulmer was all business and got the talented fleet off in a light southwester to start the regatta. Three-time national champion Steve Benjamin started with a bang, winning the first race while Pletsch/Sachs showed good early form coming a close second. The wind then abandoned the south and made a gradual right turn, finally settling in out of the WNW with some big puffs coming off the land. Positioning in the puffs was very tough and most of the top teams found themselves caught on the wrong side of the course at least once. Pletsch/Sachs were one of the few teams to avoid these pitfalls and rattled off four firsts and two seconds in eight races to take a commanding lead after day one.
The sailors enjoyed a great regatta dinner party in the junior clubhouse where regatta sponsor Heineken’s product helped to soothe achy bodies from a full day’s racing. Regatta chair Peter Beardsley presided over the regatta raffle where lucky sailors took home loot from regatta sponsors North Sails, Quantum Sails, Kinder Industries, Annapolis Performance Sailing, Burgeestar, Phil’s Foils, Doyle Sails and the Dinghy Locker.
Sunday’s racing brought light and lumpy conditions as a strong outgoing tide flowed against the easterly breeze. Keeping the boat powered up and moving was absolutely essential, as was not over standing the starboard layline in the strong current. Though they would not win another race, Pletsch/Sachs finished in the top 10 in all but one of the day’s heats to take the title. The nationals win also netted Pletsch/Sachs the Wharf Rat Challenge Trophy, which rewards the best score in a series of Interclub regattas in Annapolis, Massachusetts, Long Island and Larchmont.
Class stalwarts Pedro Lorson and Mimi Berry from Manhasset had a strong Sunday to move from seventh to third overall in the final standings. David Dowd/Trisha Leicht were fourth and Paul-Jon and Anne Patin finished fifth to give LYC four of the top five placings in the event. In B division, Larchmont’s Peter Strothman and Kendra Emhiser took top honors, followed by Ward Young/Julia Werb and Andrew Davis/Sarah Henley.
National champion Danny Pletsch attributed his success to getting off the starting line cleanly. “We felt very comfortable with our bow down speed and were able put our self in that mode by starting near the pin.”
Overall, regatta chairman Peter Beardsley was pleased with the event. “It’s easy to have a good time when there’s a large fleet of Interclubs and ‘frostbiting’ weather warm enough to sail in shorts. It was a great way to end the winter sailing season.”