By Mark Stoughton, New England Rep to the USSCA and Massapoag YC Commodore
The invasion of the Sunfish continued this week. Not to be outdone by the 40 boat fleet at Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club on Cape Cod for last week's Regional Championships, 45 Sunfish sailors from 15 states descended on Massapoag for the 2015 North American Masters Championship.
The Masters Championship is open to all Sunfish sailors 40 years of age and above. Sunfish sailors are a hardy lot. Some of the skippers competing this weekend who were already eligible for the Masters championship when the 40 and 50 something competitors were born. And on the course they showed some of the youngsters how a Sunfish is sailed!
Competitors were treated to classic Lake Massapoag conditions. Day 1 of the racing brought light southerly winds for the first race, a short break for lunch and a passing thunderstorm, and howling west winds in the afternoon. An unsteady clocking of the wind challenged PRO Kevin Buruchian and the Race Committee to set a square course long enough for a race to be run. A course would be set, and the sequence started, then the wind would shift 20 degrees, requiring a reset. One time, there was such a large wind shift that the Race Committee simply flipped the course, turning the leeward mark into the windward mark. By the end of the days racing, they were just about out of lake.
On Day 2 Lake Massapoag showed the fleet just how contrary and irrational its winds can be, bringing much lighter winds and less challenging course conditions. The very light and shifty winds caused a fair amount of head scratching within the fleet as the fleet as skippers tried to figure out how best to make their way around the course. Upwind, swirling headers forced many boats to the left and right. Downwind legs were not always downwind for the entire run. Looking at a "downwind" run, one could never be be sure you were looking at, because you could see boats on just about every point of sail.
Doug Kaukienen figured out the lake, and continued his winning streak started at the Regionals last week. Doug beat out Bill Brangiforte, Scott Greenbaum, Drew Staniar and Andy David, who rounded out the top 5. Andy David won the Apprentice Master Division (aka. The Junior Division). Doug won the Masters (50-60) Division, Drew Staniar won the Grand Master (60-70) Division, and Dave Davies won the Supreme Master (70+) Division.
Davies not only won his division, he demonstrated the best in sailing sportsmanship when he jumped off his own boat after a race to help a a 90-year old(!) skipper who had capsized and was having trouble righting his boat.
PRO Kevin Buruchian and his Race Committee did an outstanding job in difficult conditions, getting 7 races off over the two day regatta, and managing such a large fleet in such a small lake. Kevin not only ran the races, after the racing was done for the day, he went around making boat adjustments, lending equipment and giving pointers to the MYC Sunfish sailors and anyone else who could use a hand.
On land, Diane Kampf and her crew outdid themselves once again, making sure that everyone was bandaged, fed and well lubricated. Their job spread out over several days as a number of skippers made a week of it, racing in the Regionals last week at Wequaquet Lake YC and going straight to "Camp Massapoag" and pitching their tents or parking their RVs for a week's vacation by the lake.
Thanks to all the competitors and to all the MYC members who made this a fantastic regatta!