Regattas aren’t only about racing
Published on August 17th, 2020
Wind and clouds could not stop the 25 boats from competing in the 31st New England 100 held August 15-16 in Newport, RI. While the plan to complete one distance race per day for a total of 100 miles for the weekend fell short, there was a grander mission that hit the mark.
With the 2020 edition being one year after the fatal accident that took the life of passionate race organizer and sailor, Sandra Tartaglino, and among strict health and safety regulations of operating a regatta during a global pandemic, a letter from the Tartaglino family shows how regattas aren’t only about racing:
It was a wild and windy Saturday and a very wet Sunday, but nothing could dampen the spirits of all who were there to honor the memory of our daughter Sandra.
It was an amazing weekend for us to spend time with you, hear your stories, and learn even more about how many of you knew Sandra for many years. Your willingness to come out, in the most challenging public health crisis in modern history, and willingly comply with all the restrictions and safety recommendations in place, not to mention less than optimal weather conditions, in order to make this event happen this year is inspirational.
We regret not being able to provide you with a nice hot bowl of R.I. clam chowder and a few spicy “stuffies” after racing Saturday. Also, we wish we’d had more time to visit with each team and thank you personally for making the trip. We know some of you traveled long distances, and for some of you, we learned, it had been a long time since you had raced.
We want you all to know how much your presence, especially during this week, (the anniversary of the accident), lifts our hearts. Our family is extremely grateful and honored. We know Sandra would never have imagined how much she meant to so many. We wish you safe travels, good health and fair winds!
2020 Event Recap
While racing 100nm over the weekend is the goal of the New England 100, the small craft advisory kept the beach cats onshore Saturday with a delay for the NEMA Multihull division until 1400. Andrew Houlding’s Corsair 28R, Skedaddle, took the top spot of the four trimarans that raced on a smaller modified 19NM course up Narragansett Bay and back to Newport.
On Sunday, clouds and rain could not stop beach cats from getting out on the Bay. Sailors and race committee were patient with a delayed start so the beach cats could stagger the launches to allow for appropriate social distancing from Sail Newport.
When the racing finally began, the winds were 7-8 knots from the northeast from the starting line near the Rose Island. The beach cats divided into two divisions, with eight non-spinnaker boats sent on an 18 NM course and 13 spinnaker boats on a 35 NM course, joined the NEMA fleet. One F-18, Ben and Daniel Setareh, capsized prior to the downwind start, and started the race on their side, but then righted the boat to complete the race.
The most challenging conditions of the day were at Beavertail at the southern tip of Jamestown, the first mark of the course for all boats, where the seas were 3-5 feet with winds in the lower teens, with some higher gusts.
Capsizes continued throughout the day with two F-18s, organizer Chris and his son, Max Bulger, and the defending champion team John and Peter Giuliani, flipping their hulls at Beavertail. One Hobie 16, Dave Heroux and Barbara Powers, also capsized at Beavertail, while running in a close second place. They struggled to right the boat, and were passed by Chris and Kasey Dutton.
In the Nacra Inter 20, Dave, Jamie, and Mackenzie White, put their boat on a beach near the northern end of the course to make a repair and were able to complete the race.
Merlin, one of the three NEMA trimarans who competed Sunday, had to drop out near the northern end of the course, after leading the class for much of the race. They hit a rock near Prudence Island and sustained some damage, but were able to get to shore and haul the boat safely.
While it might not have been smooth sailing, Mark and Grace Modderman, aboard their Hobie 16 Meerkat, were the first to finish with an elapsed time of 2 hours 16 minutes and 28 seconds and held onto to the top of the podium even on corrected time in the non-spinnaker position.
Joe Valante and Jim Zellmer received line-honors in the spinnaker class with their C20, but it was Michael Easton and Tripp Burd with Joe’s Boat who won the class on corrected time by less than a minute over second pace Todd Riccardi and Dalton Tebo on their F18 Evolution, Fly Tradewind.
After racing, Scot Mackeil and Al Jordan were presented with a Sportsmanship Award. Principal Race Officer, Mike Levesque explained the reasoning: “Scot, an organizer of previous editions of this regatta, graciously agreed not to race with a spinnaker on his vintage Prindle 16, which would have stretched the Spinnaker Cat class (which features modern 18- and 20-foot boat designs) over a long distance, posing difficulties for the RC to manage the racing.”
Mackeil and Jordan sailed their Prindle very well, but retired after racing so as not to disrupt the scoring of the Hobie 16 fleet.
“The Hobie 16 fleet returned to this regatta after a long hiatus, and we are looking forward to increased participation from them in upcoming years,” said Levesque. When announcing his intention to retire, Scot noted over the radio that they were “here to honor Sandra” and had a great time at the event.
Chris Bulger, the logistical coordinator of the event, remarked that “we saw all conditions from big black puffs leading to thrill and spills around Beavertail to great tactical racing on flat water up the Bay. The fact is the rain squalls kept the traffic off the water allowing the teams to safely navigate around the marks. We also made Sandra proud! Her family visited the boat park yesterday and love was in the air to be sure.”
Sailing aside, the competitors were all compliant and patient with the safety measures in place for on and off the water. Safety gear inspections on Friday and requirements to wear high vis rash guards during racing were new this year, but also were the COVID-19 procedures in the boat park before and after racing requiring social distance, donning masks until off the dock, and no social gatherings.
Source: New England 100