World’s oldest Laser regatta lives on
Published on September 12th, 2020
The world’s oldest continually awarded Laser regatta – Orange Coffee Pot – began in 1972 just after the introduction of the Laser at the 1971 New York Boat Show, with New Jersey sailors beginning the tradition and picking an Orange Coffee Pot as the trophy.
Due to COVID-19, there was a risk the 2020 Orange Coffee Pot Regatta would be canceled and break the 49 year old streak. While postponed from the traditional date in June, racing was held September 12, and while it was a no frills, no social, no entry fee regatta, 25 boats attended for full day of sailing.
Over the years notable names have won the event. Early winners include Skip Whyte, Gary Jobson, and Shawn Kemepton. More recent winners include Mike Hecky, Had Brick, Clay Johnson, Andrew Puopolo, and Eric Reitinger. A Radial Fleet Orange Coffee Pot Perpetual Trophy was established in 2015, and 4.7s sailed this year too.
This year competitors ranged the gamut from grand masters with decades of experience to young 4.7 sailors still wearing their Opti gear. Seven races were held under bright sun, puffy cumulus clouds, and NE winds 15 to 20 that laid down a bit in the middle of the day and came back up again for the last race.
Clay Johnson has won the OCP Regatta eight times dating back to 1999, Had Brick is a 4 -time winner going back to 1979, but this year’s winners were Peter Hurley Full Rig (last won in 1994), Eric Reitinger Radial (last year’s Full Rig winner), and Bella Cremer 4.7.