August 2010 - Shelter Island Race, Aug 7, by Wayne Solotoff

This past Saturday Robert Charles and I attended the Around Shelter Island Race hosted by Southhold Yacht Club. Incidentally they also hosted their 40th annual "Worlds Longest Sunfish Race" the same day. We started the affair on Friday afternoon with a missing spinnaker sheet. Quickly we located a marine store called Preston's in Greenport harbor that could help us with our missing line. We landed on the dock with full sail and picked up what we needed, in the hustle my waterproof cell went to the bottom of the harbor. Never fear, I'll be featured in a Long Island boating publication retrieving the phone with scuba mask, and it still works! We left Preston's in style. With a shove off by Robert, I steered around the transom of a 30 something foot sloop missing it by inches. Robert began to run down the dock and as I swerved back in in front of the sloop leaped six feet or so off the end of the pier landed on-board and we sailed away laughing. Needless to say we prepared well for the race the night before, not rigging the spinnaker but hydrating ourselves at Sunset Beach. ... a scene that can not be described with words. The next morning we awoke to a dead calm and a skippers meeting in 2 and half hours. After mulling it over we decided to get over to Southold and at least be ready to race if we felt like it. The boat couldn't sail without wind though so we flagged down a Hinckley picnic boat that reluctantly but gracefully pulled us to our destination, apparently they were sailors and appreciated our situation. We made the skipper's meeting and quickly rigged the spin sheet with moments to spare. The downwind start quickly revealed that in our haste we had rigged it wrong. I climbed out on the bow and with only one 'fall off the boat incident' got it working properly. I now can appreciate the difference that a midpole would make in such a dilemma. We ended up finishing Third overall and I'm pretty sure the same with corrected time, but missed the finish which was not well marked or even 'there' as far as I could tell. I'm not sore or anything, I just don't know how it happened. Many other racers suffered the same fate. Unfortunately we had to head back to Shelter Island before the results were in, so we missed our opportunity to protest. A great experience overall! Southold Yacht club had food and drinks and smiling faces. I'd encourage our members to attend this race in the future. The destination is well worth it!