Last week for Throwback Thursday we had a photo quiz. I knew it was of the winners at a Sailing Association of North Jersey Lakes (SANJL) Junior Regatta but it took a bit of detective work by some of my smart readers to help me remember the names of all the sailors and even the year of the regatta. Turns out it was 1996.
This week Tillerwoman and I have been rummaging among the shoeboxes of old photos in the basement and we managed to unearth some photos of an even earlier SANJL Junior Regatta... in 1992.
SANJL is an organization that runs four senior regattas a year at various lakes around North Jersey, and (in those days) one Junior Regatta a year. In 1992, my friend Steve Manson encouraged a number of Mountain Lakes kids, including my sons, to come to the SANJL Junior Regatta at Deer Lake. As I recall, Steve lent my elder son his own boat but I don't remember whether all seven or eight Mountain Lakes kids who appear in my photos of that day were actually racing or whether some were just there to spectate and cheer on their friends.
So here is a photo of the racing action. Yes, the winds were pretty light. And that's me in the green polo shirt and sunglasses working on how to sit with bad posture and eventually trigger many episodes of lower back pain in later years. It was a typical day of North Jersey Sunfish racing except for one thing. This was a date which will live in infamy and the old salts still talk in incredulous tones of how it went down.
The first unusual thing was that, along with the usual contingent of parents with kids, a TEAM of kids showed up from Pennsylvania. With a COACH. And a trailer full of SIX Sunfish. From the next frigging state. It was unheard of.
But the day started in good spirits and everyone was cool and all the kids were having fun. After a few races it became apparent that the winner of the day was either going to be Tiller Extension #1 or one particular kid from the TEAM with a COACH from frigging PENNSYLVANIA. It was probably all going to be decided by which of the two sailed the best in the final race (although I don't recall the actually points situation.)
Anyway the kids were all drifting around in their boats on the other side of the lake in the final race. It was hard to see what was really going on but it looked to me as if Tiller Extension #1 was buried in the middle of the fleet and was not well positioned to win the regatta.
And then it happened. One of the kids from the TEAM with a COACH from frigging PENNSYLVANIA (not the one who had a chance to win) dove off his boat, swam across to the boat of Tiller Extension #1, got hold of that boat's mast and capsized it!!!! OMG! WTF! Did that really just happen? We couldn't believe our eyes. (Did we even know what OMG and WTF meant in 1992?)
After Tiller Extension #1 had righted his boat he was so far back in the fleet that he had no chance to win the regatta and it looked like the winner would be the kid from the TEAM with a COACH from frigging PENNSYLVANIA (not the one who perpetrated the pirate attack to help his friend.)
But my friend Steve came to the rescue. Tiller Extension #1 wouldn't have known what to do on his own and in those days I don't think I would have known either. I wasn't party to the hearing but apparently Steve let them have it with Rule 2 and Rule 69.2c and Rule 62.1d or words to that effect and Tiller Extension #1 was awarded average points for that race which was enough for him to win the regatta.
Which is why I now have this photo of him holding the ginormous SANJL Junior Trophy as the 1992 SANJL Junior Champion.
Tiller Extension #2 is the little kid to the champions' right looking at the trophy and his big brother with admiring eyes and thinking, "I'm going to win that DAMN GINORMOUS THING myself one day!" (And he did.)
Is it my imagination or is #2 also holding a trophy in his left hand? Maybe he was first Midget (as we politically incorrectly used to call even more junior juniors in those days.)
Anyway the COACH of the TEAM from frigging PENNSYLVANIA did come over and apologize to us but I don't believe that the kid who launched the pirate attack did. Maybe he learned his lesson. It's entirely possible that his team-mate might have won the regatta if the race had been allowed to take its course. I hope the coach used the incident to teach his kids some lessons about sportsmanship.
I continued to be involved with the SANJL Junior Regattas for over a dozen years as a parent, a coach (yes, I really did take a TEAM from frigging MOUNTAIN LAKES to these regattas in later years) and a regatta organizer. But I never again saw an incident of such bad sportsmanship ever again. Kids who sail are basically good kids and a pleasure to work with. At least that's been my experience.