The coolest thing about the Heineken High Performance Dinghy Regatta (HPDO) is the high performance sailing camaraderie everywhere. If you have never been to the HPDO, you have to visualize this beautifully manicured yacht club on a stunning point of land overlooking LIS with a Manhattan skyline, except it is totally overrun by this crazy event. There are hulls everywhere. A cats and F18s on the lawns, 5-05s, Fds, K6s, Vipers, 14s, moths and those wacky intl canoes filling every conceivable piece of the property (and it’s a large property)…..and spinnakers drying , and people in wetsuits and harnesses and everyone carrying free beer, ogling at each others boats and helping fix boats and talking tuning. Its hard to describe how they got this so right – I guess you just have to bring your boat and find out next year!

So many people make this happen but we have to say something about John Wyles from the 5-0-5 class. He has built this event from a good idea and 20+ boats to the ultimate US high performance mecca with 100 boats participating. It has a totally different and cool atmosphere from any other event on the circuit and in the process it has turned one of the Long Island Sound’s most prominent yacht clubs into a dinghy racing club. John showed up from Tanzania with his 5-0-5 several years ago when his wife got posted to NYC. This is his last year as co-host because John and Sally are retiring and will live in Ireland. He has left a legacy with this regatta that Bowgirl and many others will build on. Of course he will be back. He has too many friends here and I think AYC plans on saving him a dry sailing spot for many years to come. Here’s a report from Bowgirl:

Over 90 boats registered. 85 dared brave the conditions and made it onto the water this past weekend at what is commonly known as the most beautiful piece of real estate on Western Long Island Sound, American Yacht Club. That’s 155 courageous souls, from the US, Canada and the UK, who chose to face Mother Nature on a weekend of wind conditions that performance sailors dream of. Saturday’s winds were approximately 15 knots with gusts to 30. Sunday’s winds were approximately 10 with gusts to 16. On both days, the NW wind continued to build over the course of the day.

With so many competitors, so many varied boats, this year we tried something different. We ran two racing circles, Orange circle (FDs, 505s, K6s, Vipers) and Yellow circle (A-Cats, F-18s, Moths, ICs, I14, Tempest, Fireballs, & Contenders).
As usual, it’s all about the stories so here are a few:

Most notable: A Viper 640 got holed on Saturday. Class pulled together, a new hull was delivered to AYC by 7AM Sunday morning, and he was back on the race course. GO TEAM!

A 505 flipped on the finish line and cleaned the bottom of the committee boat with their mast and main.

An A-Cat sailed by the committee boat without its helm, who was rescued and dropped off at his errant Cat by the nearby Tempest.
A Fireball capsized just above the starting line and then was blown down on the Committee boat with one guy in the water and one guy trying to right the boat……

RC was on the bow and fended the top of the mast over the stanchions and back over the top of the cabin where they were finally blown free, righted the boat, climbed aboard and sailed off.
A Moth gybing at the finish in probably15kts and he nearly made it but his wing caught the water and the thing stopped in mid-gybe and his sail draped over the back deck of the Committee boat. He quickly recovered, did his penalty turn and then finished.
As if conditions on Saturday were not challenging enough, RC watched in amazement as another Moth chose to do 6 laps instead of the required four. He claims he was concentrating too hard on just getting around, and lost track. Some of us think he was just having too much fun and didn’t want to stop.

The Portsmouth Fleet is a symbol of the determination shown by competitors to get out there and race. On Day 1, they had 3/4/3 of 10 competitors in the first 3 races respectively.  In Sunday’s racing it was 6/8/8 as everyone kept on trying to get a race in, trying to finish.

Many competitors from both courses made it out but never actually made it to the starting line of any race, due to equipment failures en route.

There are so many people to thank! Beyond the obvious of AYC and those who collaborated to pull this all together, huge Cheers! to Heineken for not letting the economic downturn dampen their enthusiasm for performance racing. Thanks also to sponsors Ronstan, Tri-Beach Holdings, APSm Zhik, and Hathaway, Reiser & Raymond. PhotoBoat.com courtesy of Heineken as well. Results here and thread here.

Thanks to Bowgirl for the great story and Viper640.org for the intro, taken from his detailed Viper Report. Pics courtesy of Photoboat.com