Growing the Sport with the Sunfish
Published on September 18th, 2016
A record turnout came for the Sunfish Women’s North American Championship, held September 17-18 at Shelter Island, NY. Hosted by Menantic Yacht Club, 39 competitors from all corners raised the bar for an event launched back in the late ‘70s.
Sailing was excellent with a variety of conditions from a light 4-7mph on Saturday, when seven races were completed, to puffy/shifty hiking in 10-14 on Sunday. Gail Heausler of Florida’s Davis Island YC showed great speed to out-duel Anne Cottrell Patin of NY’s Old Cove YC to win her fourth Women’s North Americans.
“The boat I am borrowing is really fast, I don’t even know why,” shared Heausler. A group from the University of Connecticut’s sailing program was led by Lyndsay Stockwell in 3rd and Marta Chlus in 4th, with Long Island’s Marguerite Koehler in 5th. The age range of the top 5 spanned from 20s to 50s.
Some of the sailors were sailing in their first large regatta, enjoying it to the end. Much of the credit goes to Menantic YC, an all-volunteer club with no facilities except a launch ramp. After three practice races on Friday, the Menatic group provided appetizers and homemade dinner, hosted in a club member’s barn.
The club provided racers and their supporters with every convenience. They housed 65+ people, provided 15+ charter boats at no charge and had spectator boats available. The venue offered flat water inside the harbor with very little current or boat traffic, and the race management kept it moving.
Special awards were presented to the youngest (13) and oldest (75), with everyone being excited about the number of young ladies sailing. Full results here.
Source: Lee Montes and Lee Parks