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12 October 2005, 11:44 am
College Sailing Taken to New Heights (And Lengths)
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Storm Trysail Club's Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta 2005
Larchmont, New York, USA

The Storm Trysail Club (STC) ran its largest-ever Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta at Larchmont Yacht Club over the Columbus Day holiday weekend from 8-9 October. The two-day event was presented by Prestige Toyota and hosted 32 teams from 24 schools. Nearly 250 sailors participated, taking a break from college dinghy sailing to compete aboard offshore boats ranging in size from 34 to 44 feet.

'The Storm Trysail Club runs the regatta to expose college dinghy sailors to the fun and teamwork of offshore racing,' said Regatta Chair Adam LOORY, 'as well as to give big-boat sailors in college a venue to participate against each other. Four classes for one-design and level-rated boats kept the racing tight and unhampered by the handicap ratings.'

While four teams, Northwestern, Miami of Ohio, Michigan and Western Michigan, travelled from the Midwest to participate, Duke came up from the south, and St. Mary's, American, Georgetown and the Naval Academy came from the Chesapeake Bay area. The rest of the teams hailed from New York and New England.

Teams from Georgetown University won two of the four classes. For the third year in a row, Ed DU MOULIN skippered an Express 37 to victory in the Level 72 class, while Dan ESDORN steered to win in the ten boat J/105 one-design class. The two other class winners were the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, sailing a J/109 in the eight boat level class for J/109s and J/120s, and St. Marys, which won the five boat J/44 one-design class.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Tammy blew out the first day's racing after winds reached 30 knots and gusts blasted into the mid 40s. Even though Principal Race Officer Butch ULMER sent the fleet back to the harbour, the sailors enjoyed yet another learning experience, handling the boats in the same 'storm trysail' conditions that have given STC members their common membership bond. A team from the Naval Academy showed their expertise by pulling off a spinnaker jibe on a J/44. 'Even though we didn't get to race, I think the kids got a great opportunity to sail in the extreme conditions,' said ULMER. 'Some old sails ripped and others got laid over in the bigger blasts, but no one was hurt, and everyone was smiling back at the dock.'

The second day dawned with much calmer conditions. Windward-leeward courses were sailed in three and a half hours, the sailors challenged by the shifty easterly that started out at 15 knots and died throughout the races. 'Looking across the water, it was easy to tell which teams had big-boat experience and which ones were just being introduced to big boats,' said LOORY. 'I saw the leaders going around marks stacked up bow-to-stern.'

The Georgetown team used the event to help build its support base within the University. The team not only invited the school's new athletic director to watch the regatta and join them for a post race sail but also held a fund raising dinner after the regatta for alumni and parents of sailing team members. Alan PENNY, coach of the Johnson and Wales team used the regatta as a way to motivate his students, 'I had one team member whose grades were slipping, so I told him if he didn't get them back up, he wouldn't be able to participate. That worked.'

Sponsorship from Prestige Toyota, Vineyard Vines, Rolex, J/Boats, Douglas Gill, T2P.TV and UK-Halsey Sail makers made this a fee-free regatta for the sailors and boat owners. 'Only Larchmont Yacht Club could handle an event this size,' said STC Commodore Rich DU MOULIN. 'What other club could provide 30 guest moorings as well as provide a space for a sit- down dinner for 250, without using the club's dining room?'

Barby MacGowan. Image:© Marcy Trenholm/STC
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