Sailors from throughout the United States and abroad showed up at Brant Beach Yacht Club last weekend, hoping not only for great sailing weather on Barnegat Bay, but also a shot at scoring a big victory in the Laser Masters National Championship regatta.
One New Jersey Laser sailor, Peter Hurley of Mantoloking Yacht Club, challenged for the top spot on the leaderboard, but a ninth-place finish in the last race caused him to fall short. Instead, Miami Sailing Club’s Ernesto Rodriguez, who won the last three races on Aug. 26, managed to snag first place with 32 points. Hurley finished with 40, just a point in front of Scott Ferguson from Conanicut Yacht Club in Rhode Island.
With 46 points, David Hiebert of Forth Worth Boat Club in Texas finished fourth, three points ahead of Peter Shope from Rhode Island’s Sail Newport. Ray Davies was sixth, followed by Dave Chapin, Ari Barshi, Mike Matan and Chris Van Rossem to round out the top 10. Brant Beach Yacht Club’s Don Hahl was the top local finisher, in 15th.
In the Laser Radial class, Mike Schmidt of Magothy River Sailing Association in Maryland finished first during the seventh race and second in the fifth and eighth races to win with 21 points, while Lindsay Hewitt Sr. of Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club in New York was second with 39 points. Sail Newport’s Peter Seidenberg took third with 42 points, 10 points ahead of Jean Fillion of American Yacht Club in New York in fourth, and 11 points in front of Ken Swetka of Crescent Sail Yacht Club in Michigan in fifth.
Brant Beach Yacht Club’s Chris Williams finished as high as fourth in the last race of the competition and finished seventh overall with 57 points, one behind Max Hunt of Whitstable Yacht Club in England. The rest of the top 10 included Chad Coberly of Grand Rapids Yacht Club in Michigan, Monica Wilson of the U.S. Sailing Center-Martin County in Florida, and Benjamin Sternberg of Cedar Point Yacht Club in Connecticut.
State Opti Championships
Surf City Yacht Club was the site of the New Jersey State Optimist Championships Aug. 20-21, drawing sailors from across the country. The annual regatta was a thriller, as Coastal Elite Racing Team’s Sebastian Spinelli-Sax scored the victory in the eight-race event with 16 points.
Spinelli-Sax won the final race to finish three points ahead of Annapolis Yacht Club’s Clark Morris, who had started the regatta with a first-race victory. Conanicut Yacht Club’s Pearse Dowd was third with 26 points, followed by Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club’s Teddy Martin in fourth with 31 points and CERT’s James Kopack in fifth with 35 points.
As for the locals, Surf City Yacht Club’s Zak Klusky scored a win in the B fleet’s first race and ended up ninth overall with 52 points. Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club’s Drew D’Orsi was 11th overall with 55 points. Ryan Ehnot of Surf City Yacht Club was 15th, Patrick Kunz of Barnegat Light Yacht Club was 18th, and LEHYC’s Sean Bodnar broke the top-25 by taking the 24th position.
Against World’s Best
While many sailors converged on Long Beach Island last week, Manahawkin’s Carrter Pearce, who hails from Surf City Yacht Club, competed against the world’s best youth sailors in the Laser Radials Youth World Championships in Kiel, Germany, Aug. 18-25.
Amid a 217-sailor field, Pearce represented the U.S. and finished 138th overall, right behind Ireland’s Henry Higgins but in front of Lithuania’s Radvilas Janulionis. In six qualifying races, Pearce finished as high as 20th, in the first race, and ended up in the bronze fleet for the finals, during which he finished as high as fourth in four races.
— David Biggy