Enter Gary MacDonald, a long time member of the fleet and the class who has little knowledge of racing anything else but the Star. He spent over 30 years in the Star, and he knows the standards for the class events. He took those old Star Class manuals, dusted them off and rewrote the book, chairing the event, and spearheading the volunteer effort.
The club opened its doors to the sailors – all doors. You will not strain your neck peeking in shiny rooms to discover a wedding reception while you are looking for your jib in your spiffy wetsuit. The gym, the sauna room, the bar with $3 Guinness drafts, the dining rooms, television, VCR, docks, the entire parking lot, the grill on the deck, was all surrendered to the sailors for the week. The members also opened their homes and hosted sixty percent of the racers who traveled from four continents.
Long time supporters of the Boston Harbor Star Fleet and the Star Class, Philip Marks and Keane, Incorporated sponsored the event. There were two photographers, a huge spectator boat daily, ice cold beer 200 yards from the finish line, daily photo updates, daily lunch packs, and many things behind the scenes that make things happen.
Each night after racing there was an event at the club, ranging from classy dinners, open bars, Texas BBQ, burgers and dogs on the back deck, and an old-fashioned New England lobster and clambake. Fleet and Club members prepared and served most of the dinners, and the Vice Commodore, also a local lobsterman, provided fresh crustaceans for the clambake.
And now to the racing:
It was a little cold for an August event. With the westerly and southeasterly breezes, the action never stopped. It was not a drifter by any means and only one morning’s tow on the last day was in perfect timing with a filling 12-knot sea breeze laying the playground for the last race. The racing was tight; going into the final race, there was a 6 point difference for the first four positions in the regatta and another 12 points for the next 5 positions. Considering the 20 and 30-degree shifts that the competitors had for the previous three days, and the usual three different tidal conditions between the bottom and top marks, nothing was impossible.
While the cream of the crop were agonizing in Athens, very strong teams came to race in Boston with many sailors fresh from the 2004 US Olympic trials setting the tone and the pace.
There were many brand new crew and skipper combinations but you couldn’t tell from the job they were doing on the course. The tidal strategies had to change in the middle of a race because the low time was around 12-1 p.m. By that time the sea breeze effects would also start playing role and what worked on the first beat would stop working for the second beat.
During Monday night’s mid-regatta banquet, the competitors honored Star Class legends Bill Buchan and Joe Duplin. Many years ago Bill Buchan beat Paul Cayard by less than a point to go the Olympic games and bring home the Gold. Joe Duplin, CPYC’s most storied sailor, brought a Star World Championship back to the home club in the 60s. It was a moving night in the hall of the club with dark wood beams reflecting the light and the quiet memory of the moment.
Congratulations to the competitors, Cottage Park Yacht Club, Boston Harbor Star Fleet and to everyone involved in making this a memorable event. Those who couldn’t attend missed a good one.
The regatta was a classy story for what competitive sailors’ events should be. The sailors thank you for writing it.
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