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An interview with Dom Simonetti on the Canandaigua Sunfish Upstate NY Regional Championship

by David Schmidt 23 May 08:00 PDT May 27-28, 2023
Racecourse action at the 2021 Sunfish Women's North Americans, at Columbia Yacht Club © Mark Alexander

If you're a Sunfish sailor, take note: this weekend's Canandaigua Sunfish Upstate NY Regional Championship promises great competition and good times on one of the Empire State's most scenic freshwater bodies. The regatta (May 27-28) is open to all USSCA members sailing Sunfish class boats, and—in addition to offering great One Design racing—the regatta serves as a qualifier event for the 2024 Sunfish Worlds.

The event is being hosted by the Canandaigua Yacht Club, in Canandaigua, New York, and racing will take place on the town's namesake lake.

I checked in with Dom Simonetti, regional chair of the Canandaigua Sunfish Upstate NY Regional Championship, via email, to learn more about this exciting championship-level Sunfish regatta.

The Sunfish is a great boat, but it's not new. Can you please tell us a bit about the state of the Sunfish class, its current culture, and the competition levels one can expect to find at the Canandaigua Sunfish Upstate NY Regional Championship?

The Sunfish isn't a "great" boat—the Sunfish is the GREATEST boat. The current state of the Sunfish class is "doing more with less". With antiquated rigging and restrictive class rules, the best sailors are continually finding ways to innovate, sail faster, and reinvent, but not without sharing new concepts with the less-experienced members of the class.

The competition at the Canandaigua event will include multi-time National Champs from multiple fleets, Olympic coaches, Sunfish Worlds competitors, and college All Americans aplenty.

How many boats are you expecting on the starting line(s) of this year's regatta?

50 [boats].

Generally speaking, what kinds of conditions can sailors expect on the waters of Canandaigua Lake in late May?

Late May in Canandaigua promises a good-and-stiff northern or southern breeze.

With the race course located at the north end of the lake, wind out of the south brings with it a lively and surf-able swell.

More than likely, the weather will be warm, but the water will be cool, so the sailors should make sure to pack their booties and spray tops.

Do you see local knowledge playing a big or small role in the regatta's outcome? Can you please explain?

I do not see local knowledge playing much of a role in the regatta's outcome. One of the great things about the Sunfish class is that its better sailors typically travel and compete in regattas hosted on oceans, bays, lakes, ponds, etc.

This being the case, everyone that is fast enough and good enough to win this event (you know who you are) will not experience anything on Canandaigua Lake that [they] haven't seen many times before.

In the ideal world, how many races do you and the other organizers hope to score? Also, will these be triangles of windward-leeward courses?

Our goal is for a total of eight races. There will be no triangles. All races will be windward-leeward, twice around, with a 'Hollywood' finish.

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting (and local) sailors, what would it be?

If I could offer one piece of advice to the regatta participants it would be this: Go and see Canandaigua. It is beautiful, growing, lively, and absolutely thriving. There are breweries, restaurants, B&Bs, shopping, wine tasting, waterfront activities and basically anything you could imagine.

Our once "sleepy fishing village" is now a destination. Come early and stay late.

Do you have any entries that you're eyeing for podium finishes? What about any dark horses who you think could prove to be fast, once the starting guns begin sounding?

In no particular order, three names for podium [finishes] come to mind: Marco Teixidor, Mike Ingham, Chris Carroll. Total toss up, and their resumes speak for themselves.

If I could pick one dark horse, I would actually pick three: Graham Leonard, A.K.A. the "Sexy Tacker from RCC" is actually the 3rd place, defending champ of the 2022 "Canafish" regatta on Canandaigua Lake, Jimmy Gindling on "Jabanero" (widely known as "The Fastest Man in the Finger Lakes") and Kira Munger, who's credentials need no explanation or preamble.

Can you please tell us about any efforts that the regatta has made to green-up the event and generally lower its environmental wake?

This event is a Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta and meets all requirements and criteria.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

Only this: register today, before it is too late. When registration closes, it will not reopen, and this is not a Sunfish event to be missed.

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