Youth sailors face choppy conditions in annual weekend regatta

By Douglas McCulloch | Jul 08, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Frankie Doyle races in the Lasers fleet.

“It was gnarly out there,” said 15-year-old Reed Fortier, an established member of the New Bedford Yacht Club.

As skipper aboard a 420-class sailing boat, Fortier and crew member Amber Rousseau had to manage increasingly rough waves in Padanaram Harbor on July 8. The duo competed against 73 other 420 teams in the two-day NBYC Junior Regatta.

“It started out slowly, but after the third race the wind really picked up,” Fortier said following the first day, which consisted of five races.

Fortier has been sailing for nearly 13 years, inspired by his father, a lifelong member of the New Bedford Yacht Club. He started in a kid-friendly, one-person opti-class boat before working his way to skipper, a position he’s held for the past four years.

“My main goal is to keep the boat going as fast as possible,” Fortier explained.

The annual event welcomed 236 youth sailors from 34 New England yacht clubs. Across the harbor, one-person Laser boats, and youth-driven Optimists and Opti Green vessels took hold of the wind for the eight-hour day of racing. Chairperson Alice Root has overseen the regatta for the past four years.

“There’s enough sailors who have been coming here for one, two, or three years, that they are really now mentors for the younger people in their clubs,” she said.

Among the youngest sailors was nine-year-old Eliza Corral. Manning an Opti Green boat, a sudden wind change affected her ability to maneuver quickly.

“The wind died down in the middle, but it picked up later on,” Corral said. “The wind makes me go faster, but it’s more challenging too.”

Despite the challenges, Corral doesn’t worry too much about results. She concentrates on having fun, an easy task when sailing in her hometown.

“It’s close to us, and I like to sail in [Padanaram] Harbor because it’s a good place to sail,” Corral said.

After a total of eight races, Oscar and Colin MacGillivray from the Newport-based Ida Lewis Yacht Club took first place in the 420 races with 23 points. Henry Hayden and Gigi Diserio from Nantucket Yacht Club came in second with 36 points, and Riley Kloc and Kaleigh Morgan from Sail Newport and the Barrington Yacht Club rounded out the top three with 46 points.

In Lasers, after nine races, first place went to Frankie Doyle from Marblehead’s Pleon Yacht Club with 10 points. Sam Reilly finished in second place with 24 points, and Aili Moffet from Conanicut Yacht Club in Jamestown, Rhode Island claimed third place with 29 points.

John Wood came in first place in the Optimists races with 28 points. Colman Schofield from Barnstable's Wianno Club finished in second place with 30 points, and Huck Whittemore from Sail Newport finished in third place with 33 points.

In the Opti Green races, first place went to Beverly Yacht Club's Dennis Oberg with 33 points. New Bedford Yacht Club's Franciszek Pajak and Corey Sullivan finished in second and third places.

Dennis Oberg sailed in the Optimist Green fleet. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
(Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Scott Yenor and Harper McKerrow in the 420 races. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Sailboats in the 420 fleet line up before the start of a race. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Julian Sudofsky uses his body weight to maintain control of his sailboat in the Lasers fleet. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Alexander Gryska at the helm of his sailboat in the optimist green fleet. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Sailboats' brightly-colored spinnakers deployed during a downwind portion of the regatta. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Will Dailey (left) and Aili Moffet (right) race in the Lasers fleet. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Four sailboats race with raised spinnakers. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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