Lumpy seas and a moderate Pacific Ocean swell this weekend didn’t dampen the spirit of the sailors from two days of intense sailing, hardy competition and for some, significant improvement. The inaugural San Diego Olympic Classes Regatta (SDOCR) was nothing short of a successful weekend. Over 80 boats in six fleets came out for the regatta and are already anticipating their return next year.
Sailors ages 15-65 joined together for high-level racing under cloudless, sunny skies and a breeze from 8-12kts both Saturday and Sunday. While many sailors were skilled in their class, several teams experienced their first ever regatta in the invited class boats.
Participating classes included: 29er, Finn, i420, Laser, Laser Radial and Snipe. All classes besides the Snipe fleet sailed on one trapezoid course in Coronado Roads fleets starting every six minutes. The Snipe fleet will continue one more day as their portion of the regatta doubled as the Snipe North Americans and Pan Am Games Country Qualifier. All the classes mingled each day after racing.
First In Class:
Finns: Eric Anderson #161
29ers: Ian and Noah Nyenhuis #311
I420s: Justin Lim and Patrick Mulcahy #53655
Lasers: Christopher Barnard #210780
Laser Radial: Gavin Malcolm McJones #200358
Snipes: TBD Monday
Leading up to the SDOCR, the San Diego Yacht Club hosted a series of three clinics led by JJ Fetter and Giselle Nyenhuis. These clinics allowed for sailors new to the boats to gain some experience in racing prior to the regatta. “We had at least five brand new teams that have never sailed in a regatta and they all drastically improved over the weekend. Having the options to do the clinics prepared them to come out and be comfortable this weekend. Everyone was super motivated and committed and spent their time after the races practicing. If you can become a better sailor by Sunday night than you were Saturday night, you’ve accomplished your goals,” said Nyenhuis.
Each of the classes experienced consistent competition throughout the weekend with the top competitors pulling ahead each race. Chris Barnard, winner of the Laser fleet, took first by focusing on his boat speed and clean racing, waiting for the gap to open and then battling to the end. “Paul Didham and Marcus Huttunen were my most steady competition through the weekend. We were battling it out all the way through the finish… anytime I felt like I was in a disadvantageous position, I just kept it close and waited for my opportunity to make a pass.”
Eric Anderson, winner of the Finn Fleet, showed his talents staying in the front through most of the regatta. SDYC’s Commodore Michael Dorgan was in the lead by one point after Saturday’s races, but Anderson drew into first by the end of racing on Sunday. In second for the Finn fleet was a younger sailor, David Wood, who sailed fast and kept up well with the competition. Commodore Dorgan finished in third overall.
There was a solid divide for the 29er fleet this weekend. Ian and Noah Nyenhuis, winners of the 29ers fleet, Peter Joslin and Scott Mais, and Jordan and Grant Janov paced the fleet with some back and forth the first day. Noah recalled, “We were lucky to stay pretty consistent in the top two. In the last race of today [Sunday], we couldn’t let the Janov brothers get ahead. There were just inches between the top three of us coming in through the finish.”
The festivities started with a Friday evening competitor’s briefing and Opening Ceremonies to kick-off the weekend. Racing began on Saturday, followed by a Saturday night party with live music by StylusOverhang, and continued through Sunday evening. An award ceremony was held for all classes except the Snipes after the races on Sunday.
SDOCR Chair Susi Graff was beyond pleased with the success of the regatta for its first year. Next year, sailors and supporters can expect to see more boats participating.
Commodore Dorgan was also really happy to be out on the water for the inaugural event. “To have the Olympic Classes Regatta at San Diego Yacht Club again after 40 years excites me beyond belief. It’s so great to see so many fleets out there sailing in an Olympic style regatta. There’s a benefit to having the kids race with the adults. The young kids have the youth and they sail the boats like they should be sailed while us old guys are sitting there complaining about our pains! You could see them in the course of the regatta getting better and better each race. Having events like these are really important for the sport and the Club is doing a great job.”
Thirty two Snipes will conclude their Snipe North American Championships tomorrow evening [Monday, October 8]. Current standings: Ernesto Rodriguez in first, Matias Seguel in second and Doug Hart in third.