It is not often we get any news of non-Olympic dinghy sailing in the USA, so this report by Carina McCabe from the Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open is a reminder that the racing dinghy is alive and well in the States. Hosted by the American Yacht Club on Long Island Sound the event featured many dinghies that will be familiar to UK and European sailors - 505, RSK6, Contenders, Fireballs, Flying Dutchman and International Canoes.
Foiler Moth at 2008 Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open
The final tally is in and this year's Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open, hosted by American Yacht Club, was a resounding success. With 85 boats competing, the Heineken HPDO has posted its most impressive attendance to date.
The race course on Western Long Island Sound was quite a sight to see, with a variety of classes in attendance. Led by the A-Cat fleet of 20 single-handed catamarans and the International Moths (6 boats), they were soon followed around the course by the other one-design fleets including the 505 (10 boats), the RSK6 (15 boats) and the two Portsmouth Yardstick divisions.
The PY handicap divisions included International Canoes, Contenders, International 14s, Fireballs, Flying Dutchmen, Viper 640s, and a Tempest. It was a diverse group with attendees from as far as California and Canada as well as many local American Yacht Club and New England sailors.
Four races were sailed over the two day regatta, in unseasonably light winds for the area. Racers saw breeze from 6 to 10 knots on the course, and while it didn't provide for the high speed excitement the sailors in all classes look forward to, the Moths didn't seem to be struggling as they flew by on foil at 15 knots and the other classes enjoyed close tactical racing.
American Yacht Club continues to the be the undisputed home of high performance sailing on Western Long Island Sound. Members came out in force to support the regatta's burgeoning attendance by taking travelling sailors into their homes, assisting with registration, providing lunches on the course, and opening the club to all competitors for the weekend. without their support an event of this scale with the diversity of entries simply would not be possible.
In addition to Heineken's generous continuing support of the HPDO, Ronstan, Annapolis Performance Sailing, and TriBeach Holdings all provided support for the event which wouldn't have been possible without them. Courtesy of Heineken, Photoboat.com captured the event and will be providing high quality photos of the event to all competitors.
Selected fleet comments on the racing - Full results are available at www.americanyc.com
In the A-Cat class at the end of racing on Saturday Danny Goretski from NJ and Peter Cogan from American YC were tied for first with Ben Hall from RI in third one point back. It ultimately came down to the final few minutes of the second race on Sunday when Hall made the best of the dying breeze to take the final race and the event leaving Cogan in second and Goretski third.
In the 505 class veterans Ted Ferrarone and Mike Coe established and maintained a dominant position on the race course from the start of the first race to the end of the last, with straight bullets on the scorecard. Following them in 2nd and 3rd respectively were 470 sailor and newcomer to the 505 class, David Meleney and Erin Maxwell, with AYC member Xavier Lacombe crewing for Erin. AYC Members sailing in the 505 class included: Xavier Lacombe, Justin Shaffer, Katrin Deinhardt, and Philip Gladman. Many of AYC's regular 505 sailors are in Italy right now for the 505 World Championship in Palermo. We wish John Wyles, Doug McKeige, and Olav Schluter the best of luck at the event.
Even in light air, the International Moth class did not disappoint, with the lighter sailors up on the foils in around 7 knots of wind. AYC member Peter Becker led the fleet for a dominant win in the class and the first Moth class start at American YC in recent history, if not ever. The six boats were an impressive sight on the course and the ease with which the sailors balanced the delicate craft was enjoyed by all.
Attendance is up significantly this year, and with continued support we're expecting over 100 boats next year. Class starts will be given to fleets of 5 or more, so start planning your trip to American Yacht Club now for the next Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open, on October 11/12, 2009.
Heineken HPDO 2008 -Final leading results
1 A-Cat 99 Ben Hall Bristol YC 64.5 1 5 2 1 9
2 A-Cat 21 Peter Cogan AYC 64.5 2 3 1 5 11
3 A-Cat 211 Danny Goretsk LHYC 64.5 4 1 4 2 11
RS K6 Fleet
1 K6 183 JF Wilson AYC 80 4 2 1 1 8
2 K6 185 Rob Fear Bruce Paulsen 80 3 5 2 2 12
3 K6 194 Marshall Saffer Scott Florio AYC 80 1 4 4 4 13
1 505 (Int.) 8083 T. Ferrarone M Coe LYC 79.8 1 1 1 1 4
2 505 (Int.) 7566 David Meleney Buzzard's Bay 79.8 2 2 3 2 9
3 505 (Int.) FRA8 Erin Maxwell 79.8 5 3 2 4 14
Viper 640 Fleet
1 Viper 640 81 Charles Goodrich SYC 70.4 2 5 1 2 10
2 Viper 640 1 Justin Scott SYC 70.4 1 3 2 5 11
3 Viper 640 82 Jason Weisberg SYC 70.4 3 2 5 3 13
Int Canoe Fleet
1 Int Canoe Canoe (Int.) 244 John Kells INDEPENDENT 79.1 1 1 1 1 4
2 Int Canoe Canoe (Int.) 241 Willy Clark INDEPENDENT 79.1 4 3 2 2 11
3 Int Canoe Canoe (Int.) 92 David Clarke INDEPENDENT 79.1 3 4 4 3 14
1 Moth 3138 Peter Becker AYC 70 2 1 1 1 5
2 Moth 3197 Joe Bousquet CMBA 70 4 2 2 2 10
3 Moth 1 Guillaume Vernieres WRSC 70 3 3 3 7 16