Tuesday, August 26, 2014

East Coast Road Trip Laser Regatta Bucket List

A few days ago I posted a request from a group of Canadian Laser Masters Sailors. They wanted ideas on where to go on a US East Coast Laser Road Trip starting at Florida Masters Week in February and ending up at the Masters Worlds at CORK in July.

Several of my readers gave them suggestions in the comments and this post is my contribution.

First of all - and I am sure my Canadian friends already know this - this trip needs to be planned taking into account where major regattas of interest (especially masters regattas) are being held in 2015 and where and when each Laser district on the east coast is holding its district championship next year. And a lot of that information is not published yet.

Another difficulty in planning such a trip is that it's hard to find events to do in the first few weeks immediately after the Florida Masters week in February. Although one option is certainly the open Masters Midwinters East in Clearwater, Florida on Feb 18-22.

Having moved the motorhome and Lasers to Clearwater, I think I would see if Kurt Taulbee of SailFit was available to run a sailing clinic for the group some time in March in Clearwater. I always have a good time and learn a lot there.

Then if there's anything going on in March or early April in District 12 (Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina) I would go there, especially if it's in Charleston or Wrightsville Beach.

Or if they are up for a longer drive, the Canadians could head over to Austin Texas and sail in Fred Schroth's famous Easter Laser Regatta on April 4-5. I've never done it but it looks like a hell of a lot of fun and is legendary in Laser circles. Apparently it's America's Favorite Regatta!! It says so on the website so it must be true.

2014 trophy winners at the Easter regatta

After any District 12 events, it's time to hit District 11 (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.)  Some of my favorite places to visit there are Fishing Bay YC in Deltaville VA and Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis. I see that D11 usually has an early season opener at SSA at the end of April, the Sunshine Open, so I would definitely plan to include that.

Then onwards and northwards to District 10 (New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania) my old stomping ground from 1989 to 2007. They have a very active spring and early summer season with a regatta almost every weekend from the end of April onwards.  Take your pick.

One regatta in D10 that should be on every Laser sailor's bucket list is the Orange Coffee Pot at Surf City YC, the oldest Laser regatta in the world - it has been raced every year since 1972 and this year was held on the last Saturday in May. What a hoot if some old fart took the treasured trophy back to Canada.

If time permits, the Canadians could also take in a regatta in District 8 (eastern New York - mainly Long Island.) One of the events on the eastern end of Long Island, anything at Sayville YC and perhaps the D8 championship.

But then, saving the best for last, the Canadians absolutely have to spend some time in District 7 (New England) the absolute mecca of Laser sailing. (Perhaps I'm a bit biased.) Apparently they need to be back in Canada by the second week of July for the Masters Worlds which means, unfortunately, they will probably miss all of the D7 signature events like the Newport Regatta, the Hyannis Regatta and the Buzzards Bay Regatta.

But they should definitely aim to take in the Wickford Regatta which will probably be in early June. I can't do better to describe it than to quote from the regatta website.

The Wickford Regatta is a celebration of One-Design Fun. First held in 1972, the Wickford Regatta was one of the first Laser events in the world. In subsequent years 470s, 505s and Flying Dutchmen made the Wickford Regatta the premier springtime event on the East Coast for the balance of the 70’s. The Wickford Regatta came out of hibernation in 2009 in spectacular fashion and this year will be better yet. Great sailing, a great party, lots of cool boats and the warmest hospitality you will ever experience. Come and have a blast! The racing is on the West Passage of Narragansett Bay with launching from the soft sands of Cold Spring Beach.
The Canadians may also be able to fit in some of our smaller D7 one day regattas in New Hampshire and Maine held around the end of May and beginning of June.

Finally, another must do is the John Bentley Regatta at New Bedford YC, usually held towards the end of June. I'm sure many of the sailors on the Real Canadian Masters Sailing Team will have known John Bentley, who sadly passed away in December 2012. John ran this regatta himself for many years and it has been renamed in his memory. What better way to finish up the east coast road trip by sailing with John's old Laser sailing friends at a regatta named in his honor?

John Bentley

OK. That's my suggestions. I'm happy to refine this list as dates of events get firmed up over the winter. And if any of my readers have other ideas, please let the RCMST (or is it RMCST?) hear from you in the comments to this post.


Baydog said...

Good suggestions, Tillerman. You are the go-to person for all things Laser on the East Coast. I especially love the Orange Coffee Pot. 2 friends of my family won five of the first 7 regattas.

Tillerman said...

I am by no means the "go-to person for all things Laser on the East Coast." I am hoping that this post will provoke others who know about the best places to sail between New England and Florida much better than I do to offer other suggestions to the RCMST.

And the Orange Coffee Pot is a fun event. I can't remember how many times I sailed it when I lived in NJ.

Tillerman said...

Oops. It has been pointed out to me that I missed out the NA Masters at the Charleston YC, on May 22-24, 2015. Would take a bit of zigging and zagging up and down the coast to fit it in with all the other events I mentioned, but it would certainly be a good tune-up for the Masters Worlds to race at the NA Masters first.

torrid said...

Just wanted to point out the class website regatta grid says Carolina YC, which is also in Charleston. They've hosted Masters events in the past and are in a better location for a regatta. Of course, it is also often confused with the Carolina YC in Wrightsville.

Tillerman said...

Good point torrid. I was told it was Charleston YC by a member of the NA Masters Regatta Planning Committee (or whatever the real name of that committee is.) I will check back him and issue a clarification.

Tillerman said...

Just got a reply. Torrid is right. The NA Laser Masters 2015 are being hosted by the Carolina YC in Charleston. Not the Charleston YC in Charleston. Or the Carolina YC in Wrightsville Beach. So confusing!

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