ninth ride

ninth ride

This Columbus Day weekend marked the 9th annual running of the Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open at American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, and this year’s registrations brought us 115 high performance boats with a Portsmouth Rating of 86.6 or faster!  Mother nature meanwhile brought us enough wind for everyone, blessing this regatta as one of her favorites.

We celebrated the return of the 470s after their absence since Year One of the event, and 2012 marked the inaugural year for the Asymmetric Canoe, the Raider Turbo, and the Hobie TriFoiler.  The Hobie gets the award for optimism! At 18’ wide it was a challenge just to get it through the fleet in the parking lot, let alone down the ramp and then to run the gauntlet getting out of the AYC mooring field to the course.  And yet, with a big grin the skipper promised to be back next year, albeit in a different boat!

The venerable Fireballs used the HPDO as host to their US Nationals, with 13 boats starting in a fleet strongly supported by Canadian crews, who sacrifice their national Thanksgiving to race.  Yet the Davis Island Yacht Club (Tampa) team of Pat Crump and Jane “The Brain” Millican took home the US Fireball National Trophy. The F-18s and 49ers continued their rivalry both on the course and off.  If the 49ers are faster on the water, the F-18s can drink faster, as was proven on Saturday night. Honestly, I’m not sure who’s faster on the water, but I can tell you those grins from both classes tell me that on the water or off, they’re having a great time at this regatta.   

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Vipers – the single largest class to support our regatta, with 27 on the starting line this year and some of the most intense competition yet thanks to big breeze and great sailors.

These guys, and really all of the participants, bring so much enthusiasm with them, not only for their own class but for every class that shows up.    Wandering the dinghy lot, you’ll see them all milling around each other’s boats, chatting about gear, catching up on what’s happened since last year – it really is a social event as much as it is a racing event.

For our Tenth Anniversary in October 2013, we want to invite all of you back to Rye, NY for one of the most unique racing fleets anywhere in the world.  We know you have an old or new performance boat sitting in your garage, your dinghy park, your barn, or your yard.  So dust it off, clean it up, and truck it here to race against like-minded thrill-seekers in the beautiful Long Island Sound.  If you’ve got it, RACE IT!

Full results are here. Thanks to the always-awesome Allen and Daniela Clark at Photoboat for the beautiful shots.  Their full gallery is here.  Got questions?  Ask the organizers and most of the competitors in the thread.