Newport Regatta: Back on the water

Published on July 27th, 2020

After a spring and early summer of non-starters, cancellations, and postponement of many sailing events due to COVID-19 concerns, Sail Newport is back in gear for the regatta season with the Newport Regatta, kicking off with the Etchells fleet, July 25-26, 2020.

Ordinarily, the regatta is held on one weekend in early July. With safety protocols as guidelines to hold a safe event, Sail Newport has reduced the number of classes and will stretch it out over a total of three weekends. Holding the sailing event this year keeps alive a 36-year tradition of hosting Newport’s keynote one-design regatta.

“We just wanted to get people out on the water and racing, more so this summer than any other year,” says Matt Duggan, Sail Newport’s Regatta Director.

Stephen “Benj” Benjamin and his crew on “Stella Blue” (sail number 1427) were out front most of the regatta and captured first place with a low score of 13 points. The “Stella Blue” winning crew included sailors Joseph Morris, Ian Liberty and Michael Menniger.

Close on his stern throughout the regatta was Judd “Juddy” Smith (Gloucester, MA) finishing in second place only two points behind “Stella Blue” (sail number AUS 1472) with 15 points overall. His crew included sailors Tomas Hornos, Will Felder and Carrie Marshall. Scores are final after one throw-out race.

The weekend was so tight at the top of the pack that Benjamin and Smith were actually tied with 13 points after five races. After Sunday’s last two races were posted, Benjamin locked in the regatta trophy after another first place win in Race 6.

The weather was a “sailor’s pick” with steady breezes and brilliant skies. On Saturday, sailors enjoyed a steady 12-knot South-Westerly. Sunday was even better when Newport delivered a solid 15-knots to the racecourse located about two miles off Brenton Point.

Duggan worked with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and within the Governor’s guidelines to create a regatta that would be allowable.

“While we can’t have a Newport Regatta where we traditionally have 600 people on site, we scheduled the regatta into three events over three different weekends,” Duggan added.

The new plan omits shore side gatherings, socials, and meetings. All race documents and information is hosted online, and sailors only can have contact with other sailors on their own boat within their stable crew.

All in all, one-design keelboat classes Etchells, Melges 20 and dinghy classes, including VX One, Thistle, Laser, 505, F-18 and will populate the scoreboard for this year’s Newport Regatta final results.

The next event up for the Newport Regatta will be held August 1-2 for Melges sailors. On August 29-30, racing will be held for the five classes of dinghies.

Event details: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=11759

Source: Sail Newport, Kim Cooper

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