Nationals on the bay

Photo by Steve Birkeland

Nationals on the bay

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
5/19/2016


BLUE POINT—The Sayville Yacht Club, which is located in Blue Point, hosted the J/24 Nationals North American Championship last week, which began on Wednesday, May 11. World-class experts in the J/24 vessel competed on the Great South Bay.

This first-time event for SYC drew some local sailors and others from across the United States and beyond, including Mexico, Canada, Argentina and Chile. There were 39 vessels that competed in 10 races over three days.

George Becza, race committee chairman for SYC, said the event took one year to plan. However, it’s not the first time the club had sponsored a national race—the World Sunfish Championship and Laser Championships had been held there several times. 

“This was the first keel boat championship here,” Becza said. “The logistics of a keel boat require four-to-five crewmembers, so it’s more difficult, a lot can go wrong. Teamwork is crucial. But [theses sailors] are really good and don’t make mistakes. Usually, the top 10 finishers are professionals, ” he added. “It’s like playing golf with Tiger Woods.”

There were good sailing conditions all three days.  Friday there was a light wind blowing from the east. Saturday, though, was breezy with some rain, and on Sunday, the breeze was blowing west-southwest.

The first-place trophy went to Will Wells of Newport, Rhode Island. A team from Maine skippered by Carter White, took second place. Matia Sequel of Chile came in third.

SYC members Joseph Scarpulla, Steve Thomas and Daniel Cameron finished 14, 15 and 16, respectively. Stephen Kelly, also of SYC, was mid-fleet at 19. And SYC member Matthew Miranda placed 29 in the under 25 boat.

Joe Buonasera, the chairperson of this event, was pleased with the result. “It was awesome,” he said. “Everyone was happy with the organization, from the race course to the social events. It went as well as I had hoped, maybe even better.”

Becza said that all in all, positive feedback has indicated that everyone was pleased with the event. “It was very successful,” he remarked.

However, after a grueling week of work and excitement, he’s not yet saying when SYC will once again host another regatta of this caliber.

“It’ll take us a while to recover from this one,” he added.