SEA CLIFF YACHT CLUB’S AROUND LONG ISLAND REGATTA TO SET SAIL ON THURSDAY
Updated August 1, 2014 (original post July 30) -- 64 sailboats ranging in size from 21 feet to more than 50 in length, assembled early Thursday evening about four and a half miles off Breezy Point, Queens, and in six stages, set sail for Hempstead Harbor in the 38th annual Around Long Island Regatta. The race, organized and hosted by the Sea Cliff Yacht Club since its inception in 1977, is not only open to vessels of varying sizes, but also to sailors of all ages and levels - from teens in the junior division just getting their sea legs on larger boats and yachtsmen more accustomed to weekend cruising, to old salts with decades of racing experience and blue water competitors seeking to earn points for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy. Some have participated in the race since the 1980s, while others are first-timers.
The race course stretches for 190 nautical miles and combines ocean and coastal racing, with crews making their way eastward from the Rockaways to Montauk Point, and then turning northwest passing Gardiner's Island and navigating the treacherous Plum Gut into the Long Island Sound before heading west to the finish line at the Glen Cove break water in Hempstead Harbor.
The fastest vessels are expected to be within view of the Sea Cliff Yacht Club on Friday during the late afternoon or early evening, with the final finishers arriving a couple of days later – although, there have been races, explained Regatta Committee Chairperson Effie Marie Smith, when boats have reached the finish line as late as Tuesday. However, with the PHRF handicapping system in place, the playing field will be leveled so that crews manning structurally faster boats do not have an unfair advantage over those on vessels with a less sophisticated design, allowing strategy, tactics, and skill to determine the winners in each division. As of 10 am Friday, the 56 foot Catamaran Rainmaker was out in front -just north of Gardiner's Island approaching Plum Gut.
This year, as in the past, the United States Naval Academy has two vessels competing, and while on land, the two crews of midshipmen and their coaches have been hosted by Sea Cliff families.
The Regatta, since it began, has been organized and run through the dedicated efforts of Sea Cliff Yacht Club volunteers. Ms. Smith explained that running the event is a year long process, with preparations for the 2015 Regatta beginning only two weeks after this year's wraps up. The 2014 Committee includes PC Doug Wefer, VC Jim Arnemann, Gov. Jim Aikman, Maureen Raftery, PC John Dawson, Commodore Harvey Bass, PC Jim Carballal, PC Tim O'Rourke, Maggie Feinsilver, Chairperson Effie Marie Smith, Wayne Smith, Frederick Fuchs, Fred Yutkowitz, GM Charlie Walsh, Tres. Marc Mandel, PC Dana Schnipper, RC Brad Dickson, Dockmaster Frank Banks, Club Council Don Kavanaugh, PC George Christman, and Steve Feinsilver.
Additionally, the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club has contributed greatly to the effort, allowing competitors to use its moorings, and by hosting a skipper's meeting and meal the evening before the race.
On Sunday afternoon, the Regatta will conclude with an Awards Celebration Party at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club.
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