The fifth annual Diamond Island Regatta on Aug. 19 matched last year’s record turnout, drawing 30 competitors for a day of sailboat racing on Lake Champlain and fundraising for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Sponsored by the Royal Savage Yacht Club and Point Bay Marina, the race netted more than $1,000 for the Ferrisburgh museum.
The race took competitors south from the start/finish line in Town Farm Bay to Diamond Island off Ferrisburgh, north to Sloop Island off Charlotte, back south to Diamond Island and then to the finish. The fastest time for the course of about 15 miles was just over two and a half hours. The race began in a southerly breeze that came and went throughout the day, dropping to a whisper at times but topping out at 15 knots.
The awards ceremony and lobster dinner drew approximately 100 people. Gary Russell, RSYC commodore, thanked everyone who organized the regatta, sailed, and attended the dinner to support the museum. Entry to the race was free; fundraising happenened through the sale of Diamond Island Regatta logo items and professional photos from the race by photographer Buzz Kuhns. The museum also has a merchandise stand.
Competitors in the race were divided into two general categories: those who sailed with spinnakers and those who sailed only with jib and mainsail. Boats came from the local Royal Savage Yacht Club, Lake Champlain Yacht Club in Shelburne, Malletts Bay Boat Club in Colchester, Valcour Sailing Club in Plattsburgh, N.Y., the Point au Fer Sailing Club near Rouses Point, N.Y., and elsewhere on the lake.
There were 16 boats in the four spinnaker fleets, and 14 in the two jib and mainsail fleets. The fleets were determined by each boat’s rating under the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet system, which ranks boats based on their speed potential and is used for most sailing competitions on Lake Champlain.
The six fleet winners this year received trophies that are historic replica deck prisms from the maritime museum gift shop, with custom settings created by Erik Cooper of M//E Design in Burlington. Here are the top three in each division:
Spinnaker A: 1. Odinn, Kjell Dahlen, Valcour Sailing Club. 2. Dunder, John Thouron, Lake Champlain Yacht Club. 3. Corbeau, Jeanne Pierre Turgeon, Valcour Sailing Club.
Spinnaker B: 1. Alchemy, Dana Bolton & Mark Damico, Lake Champlain Yacht Club & Malletts Bay. 2. Sleeper, John Hammel and 3. Lift Ticket, Samuel Pratt, both from Malletts Bay.
Spinnaker C: 1. Sundance, Tom Glynn, Lake Champlain Yacht Club. 2. Muse, Doug Friant, Royal Savage and Lake Champlain clubs. 3. Talisman, Les Velte, Lake Champlain.
Spinnaker D: (all from Royal Savage) 1. Li’l Bot, Benedek Erdos. 2. Osprey, Thomas Porter. 3. Twig, Fritz Martin.
JaM A: 1. Absolut, Stephen & Francine Ramsey, Royal Savage. 2. Kinsale, Robert Finn, Lake Champlain. 3. Avengers, Jocelyn Duteau, Point au Fer.
JaM B: (all Royal Savage) 1. Dragonfly, John Beal. 2. Spirit, Steve Koch. 3. Mackinac, Tim & Betsy Etchells.
Corbeau, in the Spinnaker A fleet, was also the first boat to cross the finish line, with an elapsed time of two hours and 32 min. Complete results can be found at the RSYC website: rsyc.org/results-2017-diamond-island-regatta/.
Host Royal Savage Yacht Club is named for the schooner Royal Savage, which served as Benedict Arnold’s flagship during Revolutionary War battles with the British on Lake Champlain.
Contributed by Tim Etchells, Royal Savage Yacht Club