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Diamond Island regatta lures 30 sailboats to Champlain

FERRISBURGH / CHARLOTTE — The fourth annual Diamond Island Regatta drew a record 30 boats on Saturday, Aug. 20, a nearly perfect day for sailing on Lake Champlain with sunshine and a brisk south wind. Again this year, the benefit race, sponsored by the Royal Savage Yacht Club (RSYC) and Point Bay Marina (PBM), helped raise more than $1,000 for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) in Ferrisburgh.
The race, beginning just after 11 a.m., took competitors south from the start/finish line in Town Farm Bay to the eponymous Diamond Island off Ferrisburgh, north to Sloop Island off Charlotte, back south to Diamond Island and then to the finish. The fastest time for the course of about 15 miles was a little more than 2 hours. The race began in a southerly breeze that built throughout the day, topping out above 15 knots by early afternoon.
The day began and ended under the RSYC tent at the marina, starting with a pre-race breakfast for racers and club members and wrapping up with the awards ceremony at the club’s annual Lobster Fest. More than 100 people attended this year’s dinner.
“Our thanks go to everyone who sailed and all those attending the Lobster Fest for their support of the club and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum,” said Roger Wallace, RSYC commodore and co-race director, with Steve Koch, for this year’s Diamond Island Regatta. “Thanks, too, to Point Bay Marina and the many RSYC volunteers who made the day’s events possible. And kudos to Dale Hyerstay, Keith Kennedy and John Harris from the Lake Champlain Yacht Club (LCYC), who headed up the committee boat crew — this year aboard the Nancy Ann, provided for the event by RSYC member Al Martin.”
As has been the case for all four editions of the race, entry was free, with money for LCMM raised through the sale of Diamond Island Regatta and LCMM merchandise. Additional money for the museum will come via profits from the Lobster Fest and the sale to competitors of race photos, taken by professional photographer Buzz Kuhns, as well as a donation to LCMM from the club.
In the race itself, competitors were divided into two general categories, those who sailed with spinnakers and those who sailed only with jib and mainsail (JaM). Boats came from the local Royal Savage Yacht Club, Lake Champlain Yacht Club in Shelburne, Malletts Bay Boat Club (MBBC) in Colchester, Valcour Sailing Club (VSC) in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and elsewhere on the lake.
There were 18 boats in the four spinnaker fleets, A through D, and 12 in the two JaM fleets, A and B. The fleets were determined by each boat’s rating under the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) system, which ranks boats based on their speed potential and is used for most sailing competitions on Lake Champlain. Winners are determined based on corrected time, with the faster boats “giving time” to the slower boats. The six fleet winners this year receiving trophies at the awards ceremony were:
Spinnaker A: Dunder, a J-122 sailed by John Thouron of LCYC, with a corrected time of 2:33:37
Spinnaker B: Lady Falcon, International Etchells, Mark Downing, LCYC, 2:33:01
Spinnaker C: Mashnee, Buzzards Bay 30, Jan Rozendaal, RSYC, 2:34:55
Spinnaker D: Osprey, C&C 33 Mark II, Thomas Porter, RSYC, 2:38:47
JaM A: Troll, Tartan 10, Tim Britton, RSYC, 2:49:15
JaM B: Spirit, a Pearson Flyer, Steve Koch, RSYC, 2:51:52
Dunder was also the first boat to cross the finish line, with an elapsed time of 2:12:59.
RSYC sailors captured four of the six divisions, including the win in JaM B aboard Spirit for skipper Steve Koch, Susan DeSimone, Roger Wallace and Cynthia Wesson. Koch and Wallace were co-race directors for this year’s event.
Complete results can be found here: rsyc.org/2016-results-diamond-island-regatta/.
Host Royal Savage Yacht Club (www.rsyc.org) is named for the schooner Royal Savage, which served as Benedict Arnold’s flagship during Revolutionary War battles with the British on Lake Champlain.

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