Course racing is so yesterday

Published on June 5th, 2019

The Second Annual Sunfish Adventure Raid, hosted by LaserPerformance, took place down the Connecticut River on June 1-2. Filled with single and double handed crews, hailing from as far as Rochester, NY (5 hour drive!) and as young as 10, this was going to be unlike any typical dinghy regatta.

In preparation for an early Saturday start, Sunfish were unloaded Friday night at the start point at Ferry Park in Rocky Hill, CT. The Raiders loaded themselves and gear on a bus at 0800 Saturday at the end point, Pettipaug Yacht Club, where they left their vehicles and trailers.

Once they arrived, Sunfish were rigged, gear was strapped down and everyone was ready to start the 35-mile journey down the Connecticut River to the camping ground at Hurd State Park, with all their camping gear and supplies for the next two days on the river.

Pushing off the banks at Ferry Park, the Sunfish didn’t find much breeze and some without ores found use of their hands for propulsion – points for …innovation. After a quick stop for lunch and a much-needed stretch just past the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, the wind filled, and the group was able to charge forward.

Rolling up to Hurd State Park on Saturday around 1700, everyone found a safe place to pull up and a strong tree to anchor their boat for the night. As tents and hammocks were setup, the campfire crackled and lawn games were found by the younger participants, while the 21+ crowd cracked coolers and started grilling.

The cookout dinner (and breakfast) were supplied by the LaserPerformance crew, so sailors had no need to bother with leaky hamburger meat or cracked eggs! Plus Mother Nature was kind enough to hold the rain off and treated the campers to a brilliant sunset while s’mores roasted.

Sunday morning, bacon and eggs sizzled while camp was broken down and gear was loaded and secured to Sunfish. By 0900 everyone was on the water with a steady breeze welcoming a beautiful day of sailing for the remaining 14 miles to Pettipaug Yacht Club in Essex, CT.

By 1130, the first Sunfish were spotted by spectators at the East Haddam Swing Bridge (half way point for Sunday’s leg), and by 1400 the leaders had rounded the final bend in the river on their approach to the finish line off the dock at Pettipaug Yacht Club.

By 1500 all Sunfish and safety boats were out of the water and accounted for, and at 1530 the burgers and dogs hit the grill, with awards underway at 1600 and by 1630 the Raid was done and dusted.

Taking home prizes were Scott & Avia Crichett for winning Day 1, Andrew Costanzo for winning Day 2, and one spirit award to David Costanzo, for bringing his family and making a special Sunfish Raid 2019 battle flag and a second spirit award to Dave Hartshorne, for jumping in with grilling Saturday night and helping on safety boats!

Special thanks to the following people and groups:
• Paul Hayes & Denise Ruzicka-Hayes for sponsoring us at Pettipaug YC, Saturday’s firewood and most importantly keeping the Coco sane for many reasons 😉
• Pettipaug Yacht Club for hosting the end point, allowing cars & trailers over the weekend and the awards party and BBQ Sunday after sailing.
• Sailors for the Sea for the metal straws & stickers and helping create ‘Clean Regatta’ solutions through the event planning process! We hope to achieve Bronze Status this year!
• UK Sailmakers New York for the sweet drybags & koozies.
• Rocky Hill Ferry Park for allowing boat drop off Friday and launching & starting Saturday morning.
• Hurd State Park for their beautiful camp ground (even if it’s a schlep from the car – but this is the beauty of the water-access camping only!)
• Ryan Malle Media for photos, videos and drone-age – we’re looking forward to seeing his creations!
• David Costanzo for creating the Battle Flag – totally unprompted!
• LaserPerformance employees Brent Richards and Suzy Bradford for being the fearless on-water crew and giving their weekend to make the Sunfish Adventure Raid 2019 a smashing success!
• Last but most certainly not least, Coco Solsvig for organizing this whole event for the second year in a row and working tirelessly behind the scenes as shore crew to make this awesome event possible.

Stay tuned for June 2020 dates for the Sunfish Adventure Raid.

Source: LaserPerformance

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