Brent Barbehenn, who grew up sailing on Lake Hopatcong, topped the fleet of 32 Thistles that competed on Lake Hopatcong over the weekend as part of the joint New Jersey and Long Island Sound district championships. The event was a qualifier for participation in the Thistle Class National Championships.
The fleet completed three races, each totaling more than six miles in length, along the main lake on Saturday in moderate breeze. Lack of wind on Sunday resulted in the cancellation of the final two races.
Barbehenn, of Lumberton, N.J., finished in second, first, and second place in the three races, with five points in all. Brad Thompson of Westport, Conn., finished in second with eight points, including two first-place finishes. Tom Lawton of Nyack, N.Y., finished in third place; Brian Kitchin of Lake Hopatcong finished in fourth; and Craig Smith of Hatboro, Penn., finished in fifth. In all, eighteen boats from the New Jersey District and fourteen boats from the Long Island Sound District competed in the weekend competition.
Thistles are 17-foot sailboats, generally crewed by three people, which were originally designed and built by Lake Hopatcong native Sandy Douglass in 1945. They have been sailed at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club for decades, and continue to be raced every summer weekend on the main lake, as long as there’s a breeze.