2020 Greater New York Districts - Avalon and Stone Harbor, NJ


WInners Dan Walsh and Crew Randy Swartley 

The Greater New York District Championship Regatta A Success In South Jersey by Bruce Nicholson - full results are here.

It was not the most enticing prospect for a regatta. What with Covid 19, monsoon rains on Friday and a forecast lack of wind for Saturday. Plus the fact that we are the southern most point of the Greater New York District (due east of Washington DC as the crow flies). But on Saturday July 21 Avalon Yacht Club (Fleet 208) with an assist of the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor (Fleet 192 ) hosted 21 boats from 5 fleets. Five races were completed in the Great Sound on what turned out to be a beautiful summer day. Too bad for a t least one boat that decided not to come based upon that wind forecast.  The event also served as the Mid-Atlantic Yacht Racing Association (MAYRA) Flying Scot Championship  and qualifier from MAYRA for the 2021 Sears Cup. Winning skipper from Riverton Yacht Club was Dan Walsh FS(5931) with crew Randy  Swartley , who also repeated as MAYRA Champ. Riverton also swept 2nd and 3rd with Art Littleton (FS5495) (crew Chris Williams ) 2nd and Bruce Nicholson (FS 3713)(crew Ann Binet) 3rd. It should be noted that Bruce also sails out of Stone Harbor and Bruce and his wife Linda (FS5791) head up the adult sailing program at Stone Harbor. More important to Bruce than the 3rd place finish was that he bested his wife on the day, which does not happen all that often.

After many discussions about whether to cancel due to Covid 19 and the fact that both clubs were closed indoors and only had limited outdoor dining, the decision was to go forward on a limited basis. There were no social events planned. The usual Friday night dinner (For the MAYRA Championship) was cancelled and about ½ the fleet launched from Avalon and the other half from Stone Harbor. The only gathering was briefly for awards afterwards on an outside deck at Avalon where social distancing could be maintained. As it turned out, Regatta Chair and PRO John Groskoph had been infected by Covid 19, but was medically cleared and able to serve on the water, for which we thank him for getting in 5 races  with tight competition all around the course in every race.

On Friday, the forecast did not look good. Those who came Friday drove through monsoon rains to get here and the Saturday forecast was for NE winds 4-6 shifting SE over the day and rising to 6-7. But the weather gods were in our favor. The sun came out and the wind swung SE early. After a long hot spinnaker run out for those of us from Stone Harbor in very light air, the wind freshened and by the first gun at noon was building so that we were able to sail in an 8-10 mph breeze.

In the first race, Mary Keppel (FS3775) led the way with her brand new North main. When I say new, it had been delivered to her home 15 minutes after they left for the 2 hour drive to Stone Harbor. Fortunately another Riverton sailor went by their home on his way down and picked it up for them. She finished the day as top woman skipper. The fact that she and husband Bob mixed a 1st 4th and 5th with two 17s is a testament to the depth of talent in the fleet and how competitive and tight the racing was. However it was Dan Walsh who was consistent throughout the day and easily won with 11 points. Art Littleton and Bruce Nicholson, at 20 and 21 points respectively were his closest rivals. Fourth went to Marc Gordon (FS6107) from the Monmouth Boat Club.

The Flying Scot has proven to be a great boat for us in South Jersey. In just the past few years since we started at Riverton with 4 boats, we have grown to 14 active sailors. Stone Harbor has 17 in the yard and a great summer interclub series with Avalon sailed in the Great Sound. The Great Sound is about a 45 minute sail from each club. And we are starting to see some younger sailors join us. It was great fun at the Districts watching Joe Calvitti (FS4901) and his son Doug (FSTBD) racing each other side by side downwind towards the finish in one of the races. Doug was sailing the YCSH club owned race ready Flying Scot (4408) which we use to encourage people to try out racing. This has led to several new Scot sailors in our fleet, including Doug’s dad, who bought our previous club boat (FS4901).

We were also glad to see Marc Gordon (FS6107) who travelled down and up the Garden State Parkway from the Monmouth Boat Club on a Saturday (no easy task on a summer Saturday) and Matt Cohen (FS560) representing our friends from Lake Nockamixon.

So if you are vacationing on the Jersey Cape and want to bring along your Scot (or not), we would love to have you join us for a race.