A unique keelboat regatta experience
Published on October 8th, 2023
The goal of the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR) presented by ShopRite of Carteret is to give a unique keelboat regatta experience to college sailors from around the world.
From the dinghy sailors who may have never stepped on anything but a 420 to experienced offshore teams with their own boats, the IOR is a rare opportunity to compete in an event with 32 other schools on the water at the same time.
Co-hosted by Storm Trysail Club and Larchmont Yacht Club, volunteers offer up their time and boats to inspire and motivate these sailors to seek out more racing opportunities outside of college. This event is free of charge to all participants.
The 2023 edition on October 7-8 treated the sailors to challenging big breeze conditions off of Larchmont, NY. The first day started very wet with no wind, and following a postponement in which the rain subsided, one race for all the classes was held before a squall forced all teams to get ashore in the afternoon.
“The view from the bridge of the Satan’s Toe (LYC’s RC boat) allowed me to see how every team was challenged by the wild conditions. It was exciting to watch to say the least!” said PRO Ken Legler of the fleet divided into 6 classes.
After a party under the protection of a tent at Larchmont Yacht Club, the rain eventually passed, providing the second day with cool, crisp, sunny skies and a 15-20 knot westerly, permitting the 36 teams to get in three more races.
“Many of the sailors tell me that this is the event they look most forward to all season and how they sincerely appreciate the owners who share their boats with us,” said co-chair Ann Myer.
A majority of the boats are donated with service academies sending multiple teams competing in their own boats. This year, Kings Point donated two boats to allow more schools to attend. The offshore sailing team from the US Naval Academy brought two of their training boats and had the biggest success in their respective classes.
The Navy crew on the J/42 Atalanta, skippered by Midshipman Renee Bonner, dominated the Medium PHRF Class with all bullets. The other crew on the J/44 Maxine, skippered Midshipman Javier Jimenez Kane, finished in 2nd in PHRF Large one point behind another experienced offshore team in which Kings Point Midshipman Justin Nixon led Comet the win in their J/44.
Honoring the most successful team in points overall, The Paul Hoffman Trophy went to the US Naval Academy – but trophies are not what motivates many of these sailors, it is the chance to meet other sailors at an event like this.
“This is one of my favorite regattas of the fall season,” noted Bonner. “It allows so many colleges to interact with one another while competing at a high level and challenging us all to adapt to different types of boats in new venues.”
The Wisconsin Badgers repeated their 2022 win in the J/109 class and also took home the Puff Trophy in honor of former Commodore Howard McMichael, for the runner up in the overall scoring of the regatta.
Nicole Giuliani, a senior on the Wisconsin Sailing Team, noted how they “love meeting offshore sailors from all over and having a great time on the water. The competition is always great and we always leave having learned something new.”
In the J/105 class, fives teams duked it out around the racecourse with Princeton finishing on top of the podium. “Two-thirds of the team had never raced a sailboat before arriving at Princeton but we’ve been able to foster a strong team culture centered around communication,.” shared skipper Jasper Waldman. “This served us tremendously this past weekend, keeping morale high in the rain, bouncing back from breakages, and allowing me to focus on driving the boat fast.”
The IOR attracts teams not just from the US as Polytechnique from France returned after a few years away, Dalhousie from Nova Scotia was a new team to the IOR, and Queen’s University from Montreal also returned. Queen’s won their class in a J/100.
“I am always reminded with the arrival of these collegiate teams of their intensity and desire to learn and succeed on the water,” co-chair Jim Holland. ” look forward to seeing them on starting lines in the future for years to come.”
Source: Kate Somers