Disabled Regattas Draw Record Entries
Published on June 3rd, 2018
The 10th annual Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta welcomed a record 23 entries at this year’s event held June 1-3 at Larchmont Yacht Club (Larchmont, NY). An additional 7 boats competed in the Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational, also a record, on May 31. All racing was conducted in Ideal 18s provided by the organizers with appropriate adaptations.
During the course of the events, Western Long Island Sound threw its entire bag of weather tricks at the participants—pea soup fog to sunny, hot days, and winds ranging from 0-30 knots, but the sailors survived everything thrown at them.
In the women’s event, the only all women’s adaptive regatta in the word, Canadian Brenda Hopkin (Fairmont, BC) and crew Lin Wei-Lee (Mt Vernon, NY) tied for the lead with Julia Dorset (Kennett Square, PA) and crew Pat Brust (Larchmont, NY) with the tie breaker going to Hopkin/Wei-Lee. Also finishing on the podium were Tracy Schmidt (Toronto, ON) and crew Kelly Rey (Farmington, CT).
The regatta also featured the helming debut of 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, MA), who with crew Katherine Kern (Boston. MA) finished in fourth. The Gowrie Group Sportsmanship award went to Joanne Stead (White Plains, NY).
The Robie Pierce One-Design, the country’s largest disabled regatta in a single class, had entries from three countries and 15 states. Four races were completed the first day, but the weather gods decided to enter into the fray, with no wind on day two and 15-30 knots on the final day.
The results were close, but when the smoke (or was it fog?) cleared, Will Fontanez (Boston, MA) and crew Katherine Kern led the way with 14 points. One point back were Gerry Tiernan (Falmouth, ME) and crew Dennis Moran (Framingham. MA). An additional point back in third were Craig Wilson and crew Charles McClure (Madison, CT).
The Gowrie Sportsmanship Award went to Ellie Pierce (Bellingham, WA).
The regatta was named for the late Robie Pierce (Newport, RI) a leader in the development of adaptive sailing in the US and a major force in adding it to the Paralympic Games. Robie sadly passed away last summer, but not before creating friends around the world in sailing.
To honor the first event since his passing, wife Barbara, daughter Ellie, stepson Dudley Nostrand and brother Al Pierce were in attendance. Ellie Pierce spoke eloquently and emotionally to the crowd, saying how much the event meant to her father, and the fact that attending the regatta were the best days of Robie’s year.
Next year’s events will be May 30-June 2 at American Yacht Club (Rye, NY).