A Perfect Day for the Back to School Regatta

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Parents and their sailors getting ready to put their Optis in the water.

“Welcome to Lake Hopatcong, where it is always sunny and the wind always blows.” was John Deermount’s  greeting to the sailors assembled for the skipper’s meeting at the start of Saturday’s Back to School Regatta.“This is the best sailing we’ve probably had all year, and it’s all for the kids. This is the 22nd year we’ve done this.”, Deermount, the Principal Race Officer  of the regatta, continued.

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Brielle Malanga,  Megan Murphy and Kathleen Murphy, relax together for a few moments before the skipper’s meeting.

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The“Motley Crew” with their coach, Brian Kitchin: Greg Allen, Jessica Allen, Camryn Hussey, Sarah Allen, Olivia Oberman, William Muzyl and Grace Murphy.

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P.R.O. John Deermount addresses the sailors.

Deermount’s remarks couldn’t have rung more true; Saturday was a spectacular day for sailing with clear skies and winds of 15-20 knots.

Jill Malanga, of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club commented “it might be a little bit too much wind; a lot of them will be going over.” Going over, or flipping the boat, might be good luck according to several parents of kids that were sailing that day.

When asked how he felt about sailing under the challenging conditions, sailor Dylan McMann, 11, of the Mantoloking Yacht Club said, “Yeah, It’s actually pretty windy. It’s gonna be a fast race.”

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The green fleet gets ready for their event.

Over 40 boats were entered in the regatta. Yacht clubs from the NJ shore area including Mantoloking, Lavalette, Bay Head, Spray Beach, Brant Beach, Little Egg, Beach Haven and a boat from Sweden participated in five events. The Green Fleet, the Red, White and Blue fleets and the 420’s competed in a series of races on courses set in front of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club between Bertrand Island and Sharps Point, and near Chestnut Point.

Nick Lojek and Drew Lorenz of the Little Egg Yacht Club and the Haven Beach Club took first place in the 420 event, with Brielle Malanga and Thomas Hussey of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club taking second. The other sailors in the 420 event were all from the LHYC; Augie Dickinson and Megan Murphy, Adam Richards and Daniel Sullivan, Michael Flinn and Patrick Dill, Kathleen Murphy and Angus Dickinson, and Daniel Dill and Charlie Perlett., finished in  3rd through 7th place.

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Angus Dickinson and Meghan Murphy in 3rd place.

The top 4 spots  in the main fleet were Luke Armone of the Mantoloking Yacht Club, Michael Ehnot of the Spray Beach Yacht Club, followed by Joseph Omco of the Brant Beach Yacht Club. The top Lake Hopatcong boat in the main fleet was Tyler Muzyl in 22nd place overall.

The green fleet, that featured the youngest or more novice racers, was dominated by Lake Hopatcong sailors. With Joshua Hussey in first, William Muzyl in third and Sarah Dill in fourth place, the LHYC cleaned up. In 7th  and 8th  were Grace Murphy and Greg Allen, followed by Camryn Hussey in 11th, Jessica Allen in 13th, Olivia Oberman in 15th and Sarah Allen in 16th  place, all sailing Optis.

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Camryn Hussey, racing in the green fleet.

Principal Race Officer Deermount,  again:
“The Optimists, these little 8-foot single-man boats, are the premier training boats for kids in the world. There are over 400,000 of them – they’re everywhere. If you’re good enough, you can qualify in a US championship or a world championship and wind up sailing as a 10 or 11 year old in New Zealand, in Chile or Peru, or literally anywhere in the world. – sailing teaches kids independence and self-reliance. We have a lot of kids that come out of this program that start out sailing Optis and wind up sailing in bigger boats, and it’s been a great boon for our club as far as membership. A lot of kids start out in our sailing program as non-members and the next thing you know their family has an interest and they become members of the  yacht club.”

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Best seat in the house courtesy of Mike Smith, rear commodore of the LHYC and his 1948 Chris Craft.

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Optis fly out onto the course from the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club.

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Mocha and Latte enjoying the regatta in their festive sailing togs.

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