As the starting whistle sounded for the 10th and final race of the 2017 New England Regional Championship at Lake Wequaquet (MA), a buzz ran through the 29-baot fleet: Dan Hesse, who had taken control of the regatta, was called over early.
It took what had to have been more than a minute for him to extract himself from the fleet, round the end of the line and get back moving upwind. He rounded the windward mark deep. Mid 20s-deep.
He had a 5-point lead over Bill Brangiforte going into that race and Brangiforte was in his familiar spot near the front of the fleet. Hesse passed a handful of boats on the broad reaches then hit the right side of the course upwind. He ground up another half dozen boats on that leg and several more on the beat downwind.
He clawed his way all the way back to 5th at the end, to hold off Brangiforte to win a competitive and fun weekend.
Simon Bertacci was 3rd, Amanda Callahan finished 4th and Matt Duggan was 5th.,
Conditions were fantastic: Saturday saw a stiff North-Northeasterly that started out relatively light before building into the high teens and 20s (knots). Sunday saw similar conditions, with a steady northerly.
Wendy Johnson, Donna Killoran and the whole crew at Wequaquet Lake Yacht Club continued to raise the bar on running a great regatta (shrimp cocktail in the bar after racing on Saturday!). As always, it was great to see the fleet of youth sailors competing in their own Sunfish regatta.