2015 Greater New York Districts and Punzi Memorial - Candlewood YC, CT
Story by Bill Dunham, Pictures by Glenn Wesley
The Greater New York Districts were held at Candlewood Lake Yacht Club on August 29th and 30th. Candlewood, known for its shifty and variable winds, lived up to its reputation by providing all competitors with challenges that many had not encountered in years. Brian Hayes and his son, Brian, emerged victorious in both the Districts and the Punzi Regatta, winning two of the four races sailed and performing impressively in all races. Brian credited his son with finding the wind, not an easy task at any point during the weekend. The veteran sailor was particularly happy not only to win his first district title, but also that the first regatta that he and his son won as a team!
While the numbers were relatively small, regatta chair Mark Riefenhauser did an outstanding job of making sure that everyone had a great time from the moment they arrived. Food and beverages were readily available and the hospitality was tremendous. Hors d’oeurves on Friday night and breakfast on Saturday were topped off by a catered dinner on Saturday evening. The tired sailors relished the opportunity to have the cooking done by someone else, and the food was great! Glenn Wesley took many pictures of the event, both on and off the water, that testify to both the fun and challenges that were presented.
Both Saturday and Sunday were challenging for the race committee and sailors. Each day featured dramatic wind shifts, some of even 180 degrees! Nevertheless, three races were completed on Saturday and one race was contested on Sunday. With talented competitors coming from New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts the races were hotly contested. In many races the lead changed numerous times prior to the finish line, and, as Brian Hayes said after one of the races to another competitor, “You made the mistake of getting too far out in front!” Indeed, leading early was often a curse rather than a blessing in this event, particularly on Saturday. Brian won two of those three races, with John Eckart winning the third. On Sunday Melanie Dunham emerged victorious, figuring out the obstacles presented in a race that contained a 180-degree wind shift amongst other challenges. John Eckart finished second in the regatta, with Roger Sharp, Melanie Dunham, and Greg Northrop rounding out the top five. In the districts, Melanie Dunham placed second and Greg Northrop came in third.
The Hayes’ family also won the Jack Orr trophy, given to the district boat which earns the most first place finishes in honor of long time Flying Scot sailor, and former Candlewood member, Jack Orr. Those who sailed with and against him remember Jack, the back of the trophy notes, for his class and sportsmanship as well as his expertise on the helm. Brian was honored to receive this trophy as well as the Punzi trophy given to the overall regatta champion in memory of beloved Candlewood Yacht Club member Roger Punzi. Roger was an avid sailor, a great sportsman, and a true gentleman.
While those at the districts wished a few more boats showed up, the group there had a great time, raced well, exhibited sportsmanship at all times, and expressed a desire to return to Candlewood to race again in the near future! Full results are here. More Pictures are here.