Great fun at Surf City Yacht Club on Manahawkin Bay in New Jersey this weekend with really sporty 15-20 knot breezes both days. The big talk on Friday night was the wind prediction to build to 25+ knots for the entire weekend. Saturday we sailed out to the usual racing area to the west of the channel, knowing the breeze would build to an unraceable strength by 1pm but figured we could bang off two double triangle races prior to that. Arthur Blodgett/Charlie Bess were clearly a bit faster than the rest as the breeze built. They consistently got to the weather mark first and did not have to look back. With the breeze building, the fleet quickly found its hierarchy with Blodgett/Bess with two firsts, Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno two seconds, and Alex/Lisa Pline with two thirds. After the second race, I was thinking we can probably get in another, but the RC wisely chose to postpone for the rest of the day. Good move as during the sail in, the main was luffing and we were carrying a bubble in the jib, my indicator for 25 knots or so.
Back at the club we reviewed the excellent set of pictures taken by SCYC Commodore Chris Cox using them to critique the various heavy air tuning, trimming and sailing techniques. It’s always helpful to get a third party view of your setup right after racing while the experience is fresh. A lot of good information was shared, helpful to both the newer Snipe sailors and some of us rustier older sailors alike who have not sailed in this kind of breeze lately. This is of course known as the “pork loin regatta” as Lee is fond of announcing at other regattas, so after the debrief, relaxing and securing the boats, we retired to the Griffith “compound” for the infamous pork loin cooking and socializing. After dinner we hit the Big Dipper for ice cream and then back to the house for a round of “Snipe Songs” on guitars, ukulele and harmonica by Arthur, Lucas, Tyler and Nikki, spicing it up with some amusing new lyrics.
On Sunday morning after hemming and hawing about the breeze and the even higher forecast predicted in the next several hours, we decided to put the course to the east of the channel (the club side of the bay) which made it a lot more protected, but limited the course to a Windward/Leeward. Everyone thought that was a good compromise and we headed out. The racing was very tight in both races with positions changing frequently in the shifty and puffy conditions. After two races, again the RC called it for the day as the breeze did in fact get back to 25 knots just after we headed in. Ultimately, Arthur/Charlie managed two firsts and Lee/Nikki two seconds and Alex/Lisa Pline came out of the tie breaker for 3rd and 4th over Tyler Mowry and Lucas Masiello. This event also was the US District 1 and Atlantic Coast Championships and both were awarded to Arthur Blodgett/Charlie Bess who with the winners’ prerogative declared the ACCs would be hosted again next year at Surf City.
Thanks to Lee and Karla Griffith who graciously host the regatta every year and put up all the competitors “dorm style” in their beach rental house, and to Surf City Yacht Club for running a great event and squeezing out much more racing that anyone anticipated on Friday. A special thanks again to the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale fleets for making this the third stop on the northeast circuit, heading next week to Quassy in Connecticut and then on to the US nationals in Beverly MA in July.