Mark Hayes on Tuesday August 25, 2015 08:58PM

Benton Amthor at the Opti Nationals

A lot has happened since our last full newsletter in July! Our kids have raced from Brant Beach, New Jersey, to the bath-warm waters of Pensacola, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, back north to the “invigorating” Atlantic off Salem, Massachusetts, to Ware River Yacht Club, and finally, back home for the Annual One Design. As always, our kids were a force in every venue and had a lot of fun along the way. The kids and their families explored the haunted houses of Salem, swam on the beach at Pensacola and rode the rides on the Jersey Shore, rolled down famed Jockey’s Ridge, climbed the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and raced go-carts in Nags Head. We even had two dads, Jef Londrey and David Lennarz, fly in a bi-plane over Roanoke Island! What more could you want in a summer? 

Opti National & New England Championships
The Opti Race Team left for Pensacola, Florida on July 17, for the USODA Opti Nationals. The first three days were dedicated to the Team Racing National Championship. Teams of four boats competed in a two team racing format. FBYC was represented by Alex Resio, Benton Amthor, Boyd Bragg, Guthrie Braun, and Ian Street, alternating races. After three grueling days, FBYC’s team made it into the Gold Fleet Finals and finished 8th overall in the country! This was all the more impressive because we have not team raced in Optis since the 2012 CBYRA Invitational!

Start for a flight of 80 boats at Opti Nationals

Team racing was followed by the Girls’ National. Reese Bragg was our top girl, finishing 36th overall out of a highly competitive fleet.

The Open Fleet National Championship then followed over a four day period, with 275 boats competing. Incredibly, Benton Amthor finished 8th overall, Boyd Bragg 15th, Guthrie Braun 54th and Ian Street was 60th! These were fantastic finishes against the best sailors from the top professionally run teams from across the US, Canada, Great Britain and South America. All of our kids put up outstanding scores in very difficult conditions; sailed in the open waters of Pensacola Bay. On the first day it gusted to over 25 knots, and only a few of our kids could survive to make the windward mark! But all stuck it out and had outstanding finishes.

The team then returned home for two days before leaving for the USODA New England Championship in Salem, Massachusetts, from August 4th through 6th. The team drove over 3,000 miles in 22 days, arriving back at the club on August 7, the Friday before the AOD! The New England Championship was even larger than Nationals, with 297 Optis in the championship fleet. Overall, Benton was 9th, Boyd was 23rd, Nathan Smith was 43rd, and Ian was 48th. Reed McAllister also placed 3rd in White. All of our kids did fantastic, with 7 qualifying for the 2017 USODA Team Trials: Benton Amthor, Boyd Bragg, Nathan Smith, Guthrie Braun, Gannon Troutman, John Vail, and Alex Resio. (Ian is aging out of Optis.) Many top rated teams and clubs have competed for years and never had such impressive results at USODA events!

Ralph Levy and Coach Tomas Pellejero at Laser Nationals

Laser National & North American Championships
This year especially, the Laser National and North American Championships drew most of the top Laser sailors from across North and South America. Many of the class’ top sailors are currently on Olympic campaigns to represent their countries in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Both the Laser Full and Radial Rigs are Olympic Classes, and many professional and state supported sailors competed. In fact, our Laser coach, Tomas Pellejero, knew most of the top sailors and had competed against them (and beaten them!) this past spring in Europe. Tomas is on the Argentine National Team, and hopes to qualify to represent Argentina in Brazil next summer. Needless to say, the competition was fierce for our teens, who competed in the Radial Class.

First up was the Laser National Championship, at Brant Beach, New Jersey, where 187 boats competed in all classes. The team left July 18th for two days of practice before the first day of racing. The sprawling beach cottage rented by the Levy family became the center of operations, with cookouts and plenty of beach time. Our kids did outstanding, with Jed Londrey placing and finishing 6th in Silver; Luke Hayes was the next FBYC Junior at 25th in Silver.

Windward Mark action at the North American Championship

The team then had two days off at FBYC before leaving July 26th for Manteo, North Carolina, for the Laser North American Championship. This time the center of activities seemed to be the new condo in Manteo that Michelle Hayes rented, complete with two pools, hot tub, private marina for the coach boat, and grill! The team arrived two days before the start of the regatta, and took full advantage of the time to practice and sight-see. 

If possible, the North American Championship drew even fiercer international competition. In addition to Radials, we also had one sailor, Jackson Montague, sailing in the Laser 4.7 Class. Typical of the Outer Banks, the winds howled for most of the regatta, climbing most days into the teens and twenties. Sailing with a badly injured (lacrosse!) shoulder, Jed was again excelling in the Silver Fleet when he was knocked out of one race with a broken mainsheet leading to a near concussion! As anyone who knows Jed would guess, he was soon back racing and sailed fantastic with great finishes, but he could not overcome the DNFs, leaving Luke as top FBYC junior, finishing 26th in the Silver Fleet. All of the FBYC Laser Race Team members sailed with guts and determination. In total, there were 183 Lasers divided among the Full, 4.7 and Radial Classes. Former team member Alexander Hanna, sailing as an adult, finished 24th in the Radial Gold Fleet.

Ware River Yacht Club Governor’s Cup
While the travel teams were sailing off the bay, the Opti and Laser Development Teams raced in regattas closer to home, and dominated at their last away regatta, the annual Ware River Yacht Club Governor’s Cup. In addition to adult classes, juniors competed in Optis and Laser Radials. Michael Mason won the Blue Fleet, and finished 2nd overall; Chase Brewer was 3rd in Blue and 5th overall, Georgia Wensell was 3rd in White and 6th overall; Swayne Sparkman was 5th in Blue and 9th overall, and her sister Quinn was 5th in White and 10th overall. John Thomas Mason, Noah Wensell, Alexander Moore, and Cam Brewer all sailed in the Green Fleet. In the Laser Radials, Nic Cabell was leading the regatta until a radical wind shift in the last race cost him first overall! Nic finished second, with brother Jack fourth and Evie Wensell 5th. It was a great showing for FBYC, with 12 kids representing us!

Annual One Design
All four of our teams hurried home from their travels to race in their final summer regatta-the Annual One Design on August 8th and 9th. The Opti trailers, which arrived in Deltaville from Massachusetts the evening before, were unloaded the first morning of the regatta. For the third year in a row, the prestigious Hawksworth Trophy was presented to the Opti Class as the most competitive fleet with the most starts. Saturday saw winds gusting over 20 knots, but only one capsize occurred on the Opti course! Guthrie Braun was first overall and won the Hawksworth, followed by John Vail in second, Alexander Resio in third, and Joshua Bendura in fourth. In the Laser Radials, past race team members Alexander Hanna and Erin Jacob were first and second, followed by team members and brothers Garrett, Trent and Ralph Levy in third through fifth. Boyd Bragg and Gannon Troutman both had outstanding performances in Laser Radials, continuing their transitions out of Optis.

Football on Gwynn's Island

End of Year Party & Trip to Gwynn’s Island
On the Saturday of the Annual One Design, August 8th, the teams held their traditional end of year party and awards. The 2014 CBYRA trophies were distributed, and all the sailors received certificates for an outstanding year. The teams then held one last week of joint practices for the coaches to evaluate and set goals for each sailor. On the very last day of practice everyone sailed to Gwynn’s Island for a day of beach combing, windsurfing, fishing, and tag football in a big muddy tidal pool! That evening we finally ended the summer race team season with a barbecue cook-off between Nica Waters, Commodore Matt Braun and Rear Commodore David Lennarz.

The kids are finally back in school, and the parents are back at work to pay off those maxed out credit cards!

The Race Team Families would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made the summer season so successful: our wonderful coaches who taught our children and kept them safe on the water; our team coordinators, who did everything needed to keep the teams on the road and running smoothly: Michelle Hayes, AL Braun, and Steve Sparkman; all the parents who supported the kids and gave so much; and finally, Fishing Bay Yacht Club for its tremendous support year in and year out!

But it’s still not the end of the year! Next month the fall race team kicks off, with plans to race in Annapolis, Maryland; Oriental, North Carolina; and Newport, Rhode Island! Look for updates this fall.

Tags: juniorraceteam

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