Statue of Liberty Race- USF18 Eastern Area
Statue Race Recap
July 7th 2014, Sandy Hook, NJ
The annual Statue of Liberty Race, hosted by the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club, got off to a hairy start with Hurricane Arthur making its way up the east coast, just days before the regatta started.
Luckily, the worst of the storm avoided the NY/NJ and pushed through early on Friday. This allowed sailors to safely travel to the event, rig their boats without getting soaked (probably the most important factor), and enjoy a beautiful post storm sunset with a few brews.
For those unfamiliar with the Statue of Liberty Race, it is a 40nm distance race that starts in the waters off of the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club, goes under the Verrazano Bridge, around the Statue of Liberty (either direction), back under the Verrazano Bridge and back to the beach. Navigation / tactical decisions include numerous tankers/barges (container, LNG, coal, garbage), ferries, 2+ knot current, and floating Hudson River / East River debris.
The 20-30kt winds from Arthur were still lingering on Saturday morning, but the forecast was for a dying westerly breeze as the storm moved offshore. By the time the race began at 11:30, the sun was shining, the wind was 15-20kts, and the waves were about 1-2ft. The westerly wind direction meant that the fleet enjoyed a reaching start to kick off the race and quickly separate the high performance F18s from the rest of the pack (F17, H16, H14, Waves). We were starting to feel like it could be a record breaking year for the top boats as we were easily enjoying 18+ kts of VMG directly to the Statue. The current Round Statue record is 2h 30min and belongs to Chris and Nate Titcomb.
Unfortunately, as the boats neared the Verrazano Bridge on their way to the Statue, the wind began funneling down NYC harbor and shifted to the NNW. This meant teams had to tack their way up the harbor fighting the outgoing current. As expected, the winds also got puffier in the harbor. Mastering these puffy winds proved to be a decisive point in the race as some teams (like us and the Guiliano Brothers) were able to make huge gains, while other teams (like Todd/Brendon) lost heaps of ground by being on the wrong side of shifts and/or not shifting gears quick enough.
Rounding the Statue 1hr and 30min into the race meant that in order to break the record, the wind would have to be perfect (15-20) and we’d have to sail a flawless downwind/reach home. Neither of these things happened on our sail out of the harbor. The wind continued to shift, which wreaked havoc on calling laylines 10 mi away as well as a cycling breeze that meant lots of douses and sets as we tried to find the optimal course to the finish. After 2:40 of racing we crossed the finish line to take line honors without seeing another boat on the horizon. Tripp and I were greeted with beers to celebrate when we got to the beach and began waiting to find out how the rest of the teams feared. Todd/Brendon crossed the line about 20 minutes later, followed closely by the Guiliano brothers.
Full Results here (Including SHBCC crew weight corrections)
|1||Michael Easton||Tripp Burd||11||F18||2||40||7|
|2||Todd Riccardi||Brendon Scanlon||316||F18||3||3||21|
|3||John Giuliano||Peter Giuliano||94||F18||3||4||22|
|4||Brooks Reed||Jeff Dusek||753||F18||3||8||41|
|5||Karl Funk||Jan Majer||1273||F18||3||9||6|
|6||Jessica Teunis||Sam Carter||885||F18||3||16||21|
|7||Blair Toland||Eric “Smiley” McKissick||1620||F18||3||18||15|
|8||Mike Evans||Tom Butler||1152||F18||4||1||37|
|31||Flavio Pardo||Sara Garcia||292||F18||0||dnf||dnf|
Once everyone was home, SHBCC showed off its amazing hospitality with a great dinner and endless amounts of beer. All sailors shared their stories of the day, recounting their adventure with one another. The siting of a Hobie 21 on the beach at SHBCC had the New England sailors recounting Joe (“Hobie 21”) Valente’s stories and checking out the beast of a boat that got high performance sailing as we know it today started.
The regatta continued on Sunday with 4 buoy races. The fleets were separated into F18 and Portsmouth and windward-leeward courses were sailed. F18s sailed 3 laps while the Portsmouth fleet sailed 2 laps. The moderate 10-15kts W breeze clocked to SSW throughout the day, making for some exciting moments on the course as huge puffs dropped off the shore. While we didn’t see any pitch poles per-se, there were several teabags, auto-tack capsizes, and gybing capsizes. The shifty breeze meant racing was close all the way around the course and no race was over until the end. Todd/Brendon, Jeff/Brooks, and Tripp/I took bullets that day. Unfortunately, Brendon managed to put his elbow through the main on a hoist, which took them out of contention for first/second place. At the end of the day we won, Jeff/Brooks finished second, and Todd/Brendon were third.
Photos by Lindsay “Semi-Pro Photographer” Smith and SHBCC