Two trophies are at stake in the club's 2017 end-of-season championship racing: the Higgins Cup, for match racing, and the G. Gordon Fisher Memorial Trophy for fleet racing. Participation is by invitation based on the prior seasons' results, and the invitees were indeed a daunting group.
Fall sailing on Long Island Sound falls into two of the wind-speed categories set forth in The Sailor's Dictionary: waaay too much wind, andwaaay to little. Our Gearbuster is so named because it most often is held on a waaay too much wind day. By contrast, Club Champs this year fell into the latter category, a day with not enough wind. But racers and race committee persevered, and the result was a demonstration of the confluence of a lot a skill with a bit of breeze.
PRO Phil Zecher postponed the start of racing for the Higgins Cup over an hour, until a light southeasterly breeze settled in. The course was set - a short windward-leeward twice around - and the first pair of boats entered the starting "box," from opposite ends of the line. The wind held albeit with some frustrating shifts, through the first half of the race. Sadly, before the racers could get to the windward mark the second time, the wind died completely. The race was abandoned, and given the time and the lack of wind, so was the Higgins Cup.
Afternoon racing for the G. Gordon Fisher was postponed for an hour by PRO Deborah Wressell, when once again a light southeasterly breeze settled in. This time the wind mercifully sustained through three races, windward-leeward twice around. The fleet put on a demonstration of light air boat-handling combined with uncanny ability to stay in the breeze lines. mostly. All knew, and some experienced, that any small error could be costly. The air gradually died during Race 3 with the competitors drifting across the finish line.
In the end, the top three finishers were separated each by a single point:
1st James Cummiskey and crew Jon-Claude Zucconi
2nd Roger van Loveren and crew Rob Sterling
3rd Commodore Karin Nye and crew Fleet Captain Karen Lau
The other outstanding crews in this "invitation only" event were Michael Millard/Christine D'Amico, David Seabrook/Jaime Bivona, Mark Williams/Marlene Galizi and John Cutting/George Hopley. The winner pulled racers and RC together for a race-day 16-person selfie. It's clear we need to keep a selfie stick in the Sunfish for these occasions.