2022 Robie Pierce One Design Regatta

Published on June 5th, 2022

The 2022 Robie Pierce One Design Regatta for sailors with disabilities sailed out of American Yacht Club (Rye, NY) on June 4-5 and was co-hosted by the Larchmont Yacht Club.

The Robie Pierce Regatta began in 2010, the year after American and Larchmont Yacht Clubs hosted the US Sailing Disabled National Championships. It is named for long time Newport resident and adaptive sailing guru Robie Pierce, who was responsible for US Sailing embracing sailing for those with disabilities and played a major role in the Paralympics adding sailing as a sport.

Sailed in Ideal 18s, the regatta was off to a great start on the opening day with Chamber-of-Commerce weather and a light breeze that filled in to 6-10 in the afternoon. The four races that PRO Rich Hulit ran that day provided some of the tightest racing ever at the Robie. It was as if 6-7 boats were tied together around the course.

The first two races were won by AYC’s Jim Hahn (Norwalk, CT) and Roman Leykin (Stamford, CT) along with able bodied crew Walter Florio. At the end of the day, a mere two points separated the first boat from the third with blind sailors Duane Farrar (Boston, MA) and Jasmin Washington (Chicago, IL) and sighted guide Sol Marini (Marblehead, MA) who won the day’s final two races.

They led the pack over defending Robie champions Geoff Matesky (Ivoryton, CT) and crew Lin Wi-Lin (Mt. Vernon, NY) and Essex Yacht Club Commodore Carter Gowrey, as the able bodied crew.

The long day of racing was capped off with a great dinner in the AYC clubhouse, where the usual sea stories made the rounds. A lot of fun with great camaraderie that has become a trademark of the Robie. The first rule of competing in the Robie is to have fun, and fun they had.

Day two was also sailed in perfect weather conditions with winds out of the southeast shifting to the south at 6-8 knots. Once again, four races were sailed with Farrar continuing his winning ways with bullets in race 5 and 6 with Matesky and crew winning the final two races. As with day one, racing was highly competitive and bunched together.

After eight races, Duane Farrar’s crew walked off with the Carl Olson trophy as victors. Close behind (by 1 point) was the team of Matesky, Wi-Lei, and Gowrie, who were presented the Tilghman Paca Logan Memorial Trophy as runners-up. Rounding out the top three were Jim Hahn, Roman Leykin, and Walter Florio.

Just missing the podium by one point was the team of Gerry Tiernan (Falmouth, ME), crew Dennis Moran (Framingham, MA) and Greg Murphy (Stamford, CT). Taking Division Two for boats with able bodied skippers was Paul LaBossiere (Rye, NY) and disabled crew Louis Ferrari (Cortland Manor, NY) and Dennis Fletcha (Bronx, NY).

No adaptive sailing event would happen if it weren’t for great sponsors and numerous volunteers. Sponsors included Montefiore Medical Center, Subaru, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and the Burke BRAVE veterans’ program, Carlsberg Beer, Gowrie division of Risk Strategies, and the Sailing Foundation of NY.

The volunteers were too numerous to list but a special shout out to Janelle Krantz and her team of physical therapists from Burke who oversaw transfers of the competitors onto and out of their boat; and, of course, the staffs and members of American and Larchmont Yacht Clubs. No list of thanks would be complete without Co-Chairs Bill Sandberg, Siobhan Reilly. and Buttons Padin who have run the event flawlessly since the beginning.

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