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Drifty-shifty at Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta

Published on October 13th, 2019

The 2019 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR), co-hosted by Storm Trysail Club and Larchmont Yacht Club, attracted 42 schools and 48 keelboats to compete October 12-13 in Larchmont, NY. Light winds allowed for only three races on Long Island Sound.

Jacksonville University – a “rookie entry”, having never sent a team to the IOR before – surprised with a win in the very competitive J/109 class. Team Captain Telmo Basterra, from Bilbao, Spain, has a fair amount of experience on a Farr 40 in his home country, but most of the team was relatively new to keel boats.

Ian Hunter, their tactician, said their key to victory was “All boatspeed. We looked smart because we were fast. This was our school’s first offshore event EVER!” Basterra explains the effort it took to get to the event, “At first it was hard to convince our coach, but we had an advocate – Gary Van Tassel – who loaned us his Carrera 290 and pushed us and the school to make it happen.”

Hunter continued, “We even had to raise some of our own money; the school contributed some, and Mr. Van Tassel also pitched in to make this happen. We hope we can come back next year and build on this win.”

The J/44 class is traditionally sailed by Academy teams. This year the winner of the class, the United States Naval Academy, was awarded the ‘James D. Bishop Trophy’, named after the longtime STC member and supporter of the J/44 class who passed away last year. This is the second year in a row that Navy took home the impressively large trophy.

Skipper Hayden Kuzemchak had never sailed at all before coming to the Naval Academy, but has gotten plenty of experience on the Academy’s Navy 44s. “The J/44s are a lot like the Navy 44s. It’s great to have that baseline experience. There is not a better platform than a big boat to learn how to perform under stress, working through the personnel and equipment issues. Communication and management are really the big thing you learn.”

Tactician Katie Boyle took a tour of a Navy 44 when she was a younger kid and she admits that the boats were one of the reasons that she applied to the Naval Academy. “One of the lessons I’ve learned on big boats is dealing with the unexpected, being flexible and able to change plans; taking all of the factors in consideration.” Both Kuzemchak and Boyle hope to serve in submarines after graduation.

University of Michigan took home First Place in Class One – the PHRF class sailing the largest boats. U of M was sailing one of Oakcliff’s Farr 40s. Captain August Sturm, regarding the key to their performance, “You had to have a good start, so you could sail clean and stay out of dirty air. We had great starts in the two races we won, but the third one we were over early and had to battle back to take third.”

Kyle Doyle, the tactician, felt that “Crew movement and weight positioning were also critical. In that light air, you can’t shake the rig.” As both are seniors, Kyle added “This was a great way to go out!”

Fordham University took the ‘Paul Hoffman’ prize for Best Overall Performance and was presented the trophy by Paul’s son Binky Hoffman. Fordham had won their class last year but were edged out for the Hoffman. This year, they outdid their previous year’s performance to take the biggest trophy of the regatta with three straight bullets – the only team with a 1,1,1 scoreline.

Fordham raced on Will Ingraham’s J/124 Tenebrae, and he was awarded the ‘Ed du Moulin’ Trophy which goes to the owner of the top boat. “I was impressed by how well the Fordham team worked together, their adapting quickly to unfamiliar roles in a big boat, how few mistakes they made, and most of all by their unflinching determination to win. It was fun to watch them in action.”

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