2021 Robie Pierce Regattas
Published on September 26th, 2021
Like the boyfriend in the classic Angels’ song, the Robie Pierce Regattas for sailors with disabilities are back and better than ever. Forced to cancel last year due to COVID, the 12th running of this event was held at Larchmont Yacht Club (Larchmont, NY) September 24-26. 2021.
Named for the late Robie Pierce, a major force in the world of disabled sailing, the regatta is sailed in specially adapted Ideal 18s (a Bruce Kirby design), with two disabled sailors aboard and one able-bodied crew for ballast.
The schedule opened with the Women’s Invitational on day one, with Dawn Hart walking away with the honor, assisted by disabled crew Karen Atkinson and able-bodied (AB) crew Pam Washington. They were followed on the podium by JoAnn Stead, with Pat Brust and Alix Hahn (AB). In third was the team of skipper Maureen (Mighty Mo) McKinnon, a Paralympic Gold medalist as crew, sailing with Marina Vandenberg and Arlene Hofstra (AB).
The Robie Pierce One Design Regatta, cut short by one day to make the event more affordable in a COVID year, opened to clear skies and very light air.
On September 25, new entries started to show a glimpse of what was to come as first time Robie entry, Vice Admiral (ret) Tim McGee of Annapolis, showed his speed with a 1, 2 while first timer Geoff Matesky of Essex finished the day with a 3, 2.
These boats were special in a number of ways. McGee had former Navy Offshore coach Dan Rugg and former Navy dinghy teammate Paul LaBossiere alternating as ABs. Matesky, sailing his first disabled regatta, had new brother-in-law and longtime event sponsor Carter Gowrie as crew.
The final day opened crisp and clear, with winds from N/NE 12-15 knots and gusts to 25, a real test for any sailor in an Ideal. PRO Cynthia Parthemos knocked off two races in spectacular fashion, finishing the last race right off Larchmont Harbor for a quick shot to the docks.
When the smoke cleared, in first and winner of the Carl Olson trophy, was Geoff Matesky, Lin Wei-Lee and Carter Gowrie (AB). Shortly behind them was CRAB sailor Tim McGee, with the ever buoyant Johnny Vacca and the aforementioned Rugg and LaBossiere. They also garnered the Tilghman Logan trophy, named for long-time a longtime participant, who sadly passed away just weeks before the Robie.
Rounding out the podium was Duano Bueno Farrar, a veteran Robie sailor and recruiter par excellence, with Barbara Bielinski and Dennis Bell (AB). The incomparable team of Gerry Tiernan, skipper and Dennis Moran and Greg Murphy(AB) finished fourth. Rounding out the top five was the team of Duane Smith, with Donoray Bickhan and John Lobrano(AB) crewing.
The 2022 event will take place June 2-5 at American Yacht club in Rye, NY.