Regatta Recap: Milford Yacht Club Hosts OPTISAIL 2016

By Alan H. Liebnick, DDS

“How long have you been racing?” It’s a question that always comes up among sailors. For the 35 young members of the green fleet that participated in Milford Yacht Club’s Optisail Regatta the answer is… since the summer of 2016!”

In the early morning of July 27th trailers and the back doors of large SUVs opened with a metallic clanking foreign to Milford Yacht Club. In the parking lot, groggy, calloused-handed volunteers methodically unloaded the freight- glossy white sailboats for the MYC Optisail 2016 regatta. Once rigged and a safety check performed; these boats were unnaturally tied in tidy rows along the docks waiting for the harbor start. On the open water, however, it was a quite a different scene. During this regatta over 100 junior sailors from all parts of southern Connecticut maneuvered aggressively, the sailors pushing through wind, whitecaps and whatever else came their way with all the combustible bravado of talented youth. The allure of the wind and the beautiful skies was the call of the day.

Milford Yacht Club recently hosted its’ 22nd Annual Optimist Regatta on July 27th. This regatta, opened to green, white, blue and red fleets drew over a 100 young sailors ranging in ages 8 to 15. The early races were sailed in fairly flat water, but as the day advanced a 10-12 knot breeze filled in. The detailed planning of the Regatta Committee and the diligence of the Race Committee did an excellent job of ensuring a safe regatta while managing the various racecourses for the red, blue, white and green fleets. Before the harbor start at 10:30 AM the green fleet joined the other experienced sailors for a skippers meeting on the patio deck of the Main Clubhouse to review race instructions. After the meeting, the skippers got to their boats and Milford Harbor came to a respectful halt as the fleets were towed through the channel to their respective courses. Each fleet passed the clubhouse and safety boats noted sail numbers before the young skippers entered into the open waters of Long Island Sound.

Off the shores of Fort Trumbull, the green fleet sailors raced with zeal; many for the first time. Congratulations to all the optimist sailors who raced and challenged the elements in their first regatta! Within the shadows of Charles Island, the white fleet raced while the Red and Blue fleets sailed the same course off of Welches Point. This arrangement provided an opportunity for the Blue fleet to observe the pre-start maneuvers of the older Red fleet while experiencing some tactical interaction on the race course.

The racing was very even with many boats rounding the marks overlapping or within feet of each other. The competiveness of the sailors made this day very exciting for those participating as well as for the many spectator boats. The big draw of this event was a promise of a full day of good sailing, great racing and the camaraderie of young sailors. The allure of the wind and the beautiful skies was the call of the day.

During the awards ceremony, trophies were given to the top 5 place finishers of the Red, Blue and White fleets. However, the best prize of all was the opportunity for the junior sailors to enjoy a great day of sailing. The day was a huge success for all who participated in this regatta, regardless of place. Milford Yacht Club would like to thank its’ Sponsors-PORT MILFORD Marina, Milford Boat Work and Subway.