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Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta goes International

by Adam Loory on 21 Sep 2013
Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta Maureen Koeppel
The Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR), run by the Storm Trysail Foundation and the Larchmont Yacht Club, continues to grow. Last year the regatta hosted 47 teams and 425 sailors and this year 60 teams from 49 different schools will participate. This year’s regatta will be sailed over the weekend of Oct. 12-13.

New this year is the addition of European collegiate teams. Thanks to a joint venture with the EDHEC Sailing Cup – the largest collegiate regatta in the world, two teams from schools in France will be racing against North American schools. The EDHEC Sailing Cup had over 1500 sailors last year racing a fleet of 180 boats. In a effort to get more foreign teams at the IOR and the EDHEC Sailing Cup, winning teams from each regatta will be given the opportunity to compete, cost free, at the regatta on the opposite side of the 'pond.'

Early in the year, Race Committee Chair Charles 'Butch' Ulmer, a member of boat Storm Trysail and Larchmont YC, made an arrangement with Dawn Riley, Executive Director of the Oak Cliff Sailing Center, to borrow six of Oak Cliff’s Swedish Match 40s for the match racing division. Six teams will be competing for James D. Bishop Trophy. 'These boats are set-up uniformly specifically for match racing. This reflects how important match racing is as a part of Oak Cliff’s mission,' said Ulmer. 'With six boats we will be able to race three pairs at a time. That will help us get a full roundrobin and a final series during the weekend.'

Recognizing the importance of exposing the next generation of sailors to offshore racing, the Storm Trysail Foundation (a 501(c)3 charitable organization) and Larchmont Yacht Club have joined forces to make the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta a major event. 'Being the largest regatta is not the goal,' said Rob Snedeker, Commodore of Larchmont. 'The goal is spreading the fun and teamwork of big boat racing to as many sailors as possible.'

The fleet will sail on two circles. The match racing circle will have the six Swedish Match 40s, its own Race Committee signal boat, and necessary umpire and support boats. The separate fleet racing circle will sail in one-design divisions of J/44s (seven boats), J/109s (15 boats), and J/105s (12 boats) well as two handicap divisions of 10 boats each.

Since the IOR is a stand alone event and does not count to any ranking, the boat owners are allowed to coach the students in sail handling and sail trim as well as in how to steer effectively. In some cases it is the owners who learn from the college sailors. Owners are asked not to help with tactics since planning on how to get around the race course quickly is the same no matter what kind of boat is being sailed.

The boat owners who lend their boats to the regatta come back year after year. They find this regatta is just as much fun for them as it is for the collegiate sailors. Barry Gold, who has been participating since 2004, calls the event, 'the most rewarding regatta of the year.' Gold went on to say, 'I have had some seasoned dinghy and big boat sailors race my boat, and some who are not as experienced. We have come in last place, first place, and in between; the details of our results are a bit of a blur. What is crystal clear, however, is the memory of sailing with teams from Princeton, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Miami of Ohio (twice), Mass. Maritime Academy, and Bucknell. While the collegiate sailors seek guidance from the owners’ experiences on crew organization, sail trim, boat handling, etc, there are things that I, as the owner, learn each year from the college sailors. This is a regatta that I would not miss.'

Thanks to the financial support of our sponsors, this is a free event for the schools and boat owners. Therefore, the Storm Trysail Foundation would like to thank Larchmont Yacht Club, Rolex, Vineyard Vines, Caithness Energy, Safe Flight Instrumets, Flintlock Construction, Dimension/Polyant Sailcloth, UK Sailmakers, J/Boats, Gill, Heineken and Coke.

Schools that will be attending the IOR this year are: American University, Bowdoin, Bucknell, California Maritme, College of Charleston, Coast Guard, Columbia, Dalhousie, Denision, Drexel, EDHEC, European Business School, Fairfield, Fordham, Georgetown, Hamilton, Harvard, Maine Maritime, Mass Maritime, Maryland, Miami of Ohio, Univ. of Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech Univ., Monmouth Community College, US Naval Academy, New York Maritime, Northeastern, Northwestern, Ohio State, Univ. of Ottawa, Princeton, Queens University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Univ. of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, St. Marys, Sacred Heart, SUNY Stony Brook, Syracuse, Tufts, US Merchant Marine Acadamy at Kings Point, Villanova, Webb, Western Michigan, Williams, William and Mary, Univ. of Wisconsin Madison, Yale.

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