The Oyster Bay Youth Match Racing Clinegatta, hosted by Oakcliff Sailing and the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, wasn’t decided until the last moments of the last leg.
Clinton Hayes’s team and the British team led by James French sailed down the final leg with Hayes in front but carrying an outstanding penalty. The British team did a great job of not getting overlapped all the way down the last leg. They just had to stay close enough so that Hayes couldn’t do the turn and finish in front. There were at least 40 jibes as the umpires watched intently as both teams fought to maintain their precarious position.
In the last moments, Hayes was able to pull French close enough, brush him off on the committee boat, spin into a tacking penalty turn and then cross the finish line ahead. Meanwhile, French made a gallant effort, throwing the dice and trying to do a reverse dip of the finish line, but the jury ruled that he did not abide by rule 28.1 and thus did not sail the course properly, giving Hayes the win. Hayes recently graduated from the University of Vermont. Finishing third was Peter Miller’s team. Peter is from Bermuda, and is attending Connecticut College.
The week began with six teams gathering to learn from Dave Perry, coach for the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics women’s match race team. The varied wind conditions allowed for an extra productive two days of clinic with video debriefs stretching late into the night. Race day one was a challenge for the race committee, but the final day of racing was a brilliant blue sky and 8-12 knots of wind.
This is the sixth Dave Perry Clinegatta hosted by Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, New York and the second directed at those less than 24 years old. The level of play continues to increase dramatically creating a very tough regatta to win.
Dave Perry exuded, 'It was a rodeo out there. I couldn’t be more impressed with the level of competition out on the water this weekend; especially given it was the first time match racing for many of you. There were overlapped finishes, luffing matches, Houdini’s and umpire flags flying everywhere! The event was a huge success.'
During the Clinic, Bruce Cook, chairman of the US Sailing Umpires Committee, ran an umpire training course at Oakcliff as well, and the umpires then officiated during the weekend regatta, providing great experiential training after two long evenings in the classroom. 'This type of integrated training is what makes the Oakcliff program so special,' said Oakcliff Sailing executive director Dawn Riley; 'we have the sailors in one room being trained by Dave and the umpires in another being trained by Bruce, and then they all come together for the racing and debriefs on the weekend. Everyone wins!'
The next Clinegatta at Oakcliff will be held July 28-31 in Oakcliff’s Swedish Match 40’s, and will be coached by veteran match racer Jon Singsen, head offshore coach at the US Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point. Oakcliff Sailing website