Junior Race Week, July 15-17, is widely regarded as the largest and most exciting of the JSA regattas. With over 350 Laser, C420, Blue Jay, and Pixel sailors competing in three days of racing and other activities, it is seen as a summer highlight for many sailors.
“I really liked sailing with a bunch of other people who came here to sail,” explained Annie Longo, a C420 sailor from Mason’s Island Yacht Club in Mystic, CT.
“I’m expecting a great time racing,” shared Harrison Koeppel of the New York Athletic Club. “This regatta is always fun no matter how bad the wind gets.”
Shortly after noon on the first day, the wind picked up enough for two races to be completed (three for C420s). On the second day of the regatta, breeze was blowing more constantly (albeit shiftily), and Race Committee was able to start on time without problems.
“It was winder than I heard it usually is,” described Ben Lewis, a 13 year old C420 sailor from Riverside Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT, for whom this was his first Junior Race Week.
“The wind shifted a lot so I had to keep my head in the game the whole time,” elaborated Emily Chisholm, a Pixel sailor from Northport Yacht Club.
After a solid day of racing on the water, sailors' excitement only grew in anticipation of the huge dance that evening. Featuring a live band, the dance attracted hundreds of sailors, instructors, and other guests.
“I like that it’s fancy,” explained Victoria Ross, a C420 sailor from Northport Yacht Club. “And you dance with kids that you are sailing with so it’s fun.”
“It was quite different than other parties I’ve been to,” shared Cade McCormack, a Pixel sailor from Head of the Bay Club in Huntington, NY.
The third day of the regatta was largely uneventful. When competitors arrived the breeze was dead, and after a 3 hour on-shore postponement, racing was cancelled for the day.
The Noroton Yacht Club team of Anna-Luisa Brakman and Christine Fiore won in the Pixel division, while the Centerport Yacht Club team of Anneliese Knutson and Brendan Strein won first place in Blue Jays. Matt Kaplan and Nick Schlegel of Larchmont Yacht Club won the C420 division, Richie Gordon of Cedar Point Yacht Club won first place in Laser Radials, and American Yacht Club’s Ethan Stark took home first place in the Laser Standard division.
Some special perpetual awards were also given out Wednesday afternoon. The Windjammer Sportsmanship Award was presented to Edward Lebens from Seawanhaka Yach Club for jumping into the water to retrieve another sailor's Laser that was headed toward rocks. The O'Donnell Trophy was awarded to Brakman, the top-finishing Pixel sailor, for outstanding performance of a female skipper. Schlegel was presented with the Smalley Family Crew Prize for outstanding performance of a crew, and the Commodore Trophy for overall outstanding performance was presented to Schlegel and his skipper, Kaplan, who together won every single race in the C420 division.