Testing conditions for the start of the 12th Clagett regatta
Published on June 13th, 2014
Newport, RI (June 13, 2014) – Fifty sailors in the 2.4mR, SKUD 18 and Sonar classes headed out to the course today to take part in day one of racing at the 12th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Regatta in Newport RI. The Clagett fleet were dwarfed by the big boats waiting to start the NYYC Around the Island Race and had to weave their way amongst them as they made their way to the Clagett course.
Low fog hung over the course hiding the iconic Pell Bridge from view as the race committee set up the course off the western side of Goat Island.
The 2.4mR class were the first class to cross the start line and the 19 boats racing in this class hit the line with gusto as first start nerves quickly disappeared. Racing in a south easterly breeze of about five knots, Peter Wood from Ottawa, Ontario took the first gun for the regatta. Charlie Rosenfield from Woodstock, CT, improved on his first race result to win the second race for the 2.4mR class. After the two races for day one Peter Wood is leading the class on a count-back from Ted Green III (Newport, RI).
“We were looking for wind all day and the current made it very interesting and challenging. You really had to keep your head out of the boat and concentrate. It’s always a lot of fun to sail the 2.4mR and against Ted, he’s a really good sailor,” commented Wood after coming off the water.
Next to get their turn at the start line was the SKUD 18 class and the five boats racing were very evenly matched as they made their way around the trapezoid course. John McRoberts and his crew Jackie Gay, both from Victoria, British Columbia, who are sailing as part of the Canadian Sailing team, won the first race for the day and Ryan Porteous (San Diego, CA) and Cindy Walker (Middletown, RI) won the second race.
“Today was a really good lesson in team work and keeping your cool, not getting frustrated with the conditions and working together. We are using this regatta for training for the upcoming Worlds in Halifax, it’s a great opportunity to race against international teams at a local US regatta and to size up the competition,” said Porteous after the team finished the day in the leader position. Crew for Porteous, Cindy Walker remarked, “It’s so great to see the same volunteers at the Clagett year after year. They help make this regatta why people want to come. 2013 Clagett was my first time sailing with Ryan in the SKUD 18 and one of the things I really remember is the volunteers.”
Waiting their turn in the start rotation, the Sonars crossed the line as the breeze decided to drop right off and become very shifty. Ricky Doerr from Clifton NJ and his crew Hugh Freund (Brookline, MA) and Tim Angle (Reading, MA) won the first race of the event for the Sonar class. Racing under the red maple leaf flag, the Canadian team of Paul Tingley (Halifax, Nova Scotia) along with his crew of Scott Lutes (Montreal, Quebec) and Logan Campbell (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) took the second gun for the seven boat Sonar fleet.
Doerr, skipper of the Sonar currently leading the class, commented “This is my 10th Clagett and I love that it is a relaxed event, it makes people sail better when they are relaxed. We are aiming for Rio games but we are having to fight off the other US contenders. Tim and I sailed together in 2008 at Beijing and have just started sailing together again after a bit of a break. I really enjoy sailing in Newport, it’s a Mecca for sailing and you get fantastic coaches and help when you sail here. I think we did well today because of our team communication, you have to be willing to work together, identify roles and execute a game plan.” He continued, ” We intend to keep the gold leader flag but it’s going to be a tall order to defend it.”
The race committee had a challenging day on the water having to adjust the course for a change in breeze as it moved about and in the end having to call the last race off due to a lack of breeze.
Racing continues tomorrow with the 31 boats taking part racing again on the course between Goat and Rose Islands on Narragansett Bay. Racing is currently planned to start at 11am and spectators can watch the racing from the shore of Goat Island.
About the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic & Regatta: Founded in 2002, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), a U.S. Navy World War II veteran who learned to sail on Chesapeake Bay. As a young man he suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis; an experience that left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities. The Clagett’s stated mission is to assist sailors in realizing their potential on the water by providing them both the knowledge and tools to improve their skills and the opportunity to use these skills in competition. Tom Clagett’s motto was “Reach for Success” and it is these words the Clagett strives towards every year it is held.
The event includes all three boats that have been chosen as the equipment of the Paralympic classes: the three-person Sonar, the two-person SKUD-18 and the singlehanded 2.4 Metre (mR). Clagett competitors have seen medal success at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. Competitors often comment that, The Clagett, has improved their quality of life as they apply what is achieved on the water to everyday situations.
Report by Sam Crichton.