Diamond Island Yacht Club
The winds were kind on Lake Champlain this year — as they usually have been over the past decade during the Diamond Island Regatta.
On Saturday Aug. 13, the 10th annual 12.5-mile sailboat race from Point Bay Marina to Town Farm Bay took place in a steady breeze of 12-15 knots that kept the boats moving and their crews busy.
This year the race attracted 32 boats, a new record for the event benefiting the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and sponsored by the Diamond Island Yacht Club.
Alas, the next day, about 20 boats waited for more than two hours for wind — any wind — to fill in on Town Farm Bay, before the second annual edition of Diamond Island Yacht Club’s Split Rock Race had to be cancelled.
But the weekend, which in addition to being all about sailboat racing and camaraderie on the lake is also a fundraiser and that had already been a success. With a record turnout for both of the races, a lot of money was raised for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
Boats came from up and down the lake with sailors from places including the Diamond Island Yacht Club in Charlotte, the Lake Champlain Yacht Club in Shelburne and the Mallets Bay Boat Club in Colchester.
Both races are part of the Lake Champlain Championship Series, a season-long competition that determines annual bragging rights in five classes: three spinnaker classes and two jib-and-main classes. The races are scored using the performance handicap racing fleet system, so boats with different speed potentials can compete against each other.
The steady wind for this year’s Diamond Island Regatta made for close competition in nearly all of the classes.
The first boat to finish was Kjell Dahlen’s Odinn, a J/111 from Lake Champlain Yacht Club, taking 1 hour, 39 minutes and 52 seconds to complete the course, which took the sailors from the start in Town Farm Bay north to a mark just south of Sloop Island off Charlotte, south to Diamond Island and back north to the start/finish line.
The race is scored on corrected time, and by that measure the win among the fastest boats in Spinnaker Class A went to Stratos, a J/105 sailed by Tom Moody and Tris Coffin from Lake Champlain Yacht Club, with a corrected time of 1:44:45, just 15 seconds ahead of Foxy Lady, also a J/105, sailed by Lake Champlain Yacht Club’s Jeff Hill.
In Spinnaker Class B, Robin and Bob Turnau’s Unity, a C&C 99 from Lake Champlain Yacht Club, had the best corrected time of 1:47:08, with Tom Glynn’s Pearson 37 Sundance, also from Lake Champlain Yacht Club, 45 seconds behind.
In Spinnaker Class C, Benedek Erdos sailed his Lil’ Bot, a Santana 2023R, to the only blow-out of the day, winning his class by nearly 12 minutes in a corrected time of 1:48:15. One of the smallest boats in the race, Lil’ Bot beat all but four of the Spinnaker A & B boats on corrected time.
In the jib-and-main classes, Slingshot, a J/30 sailed by Fritz Martin from Diamond Island Yacht Club, captured the jib-and-main A Class, with a corrected time of 1:53:57, less than a minute ahead of Diamond Island Yacht Club’s Jim Lampman, sailing Hot Chocolate, a J/9.
In the jib-and-main B Class, Morning Star … Again, a Catalina 320 sailed by Stephen Unsworth of Lake Champlain Yacht Club, came out on top with a corrected time of 1:56:45, just a minute and a half ahead of Mackinac, a Pearson 32, sailed by Diamond Island Yacht Club’s Tim and Betsy Etchells.
Perhaps the biggest winner again this year was the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. The money raised by the benefit events — the pre-race breakfast, the Lobster Fest dinner, T-shirt sales and a fundraising raffle — is still being tallied, but it appeared all the events would set fundraising records. And added to that will be the post-race sale of action photos of the boats from photographers Joe Gannon and Ramsey Hazbun.
While the wind didn’t cooperate on Sunday, it was a beautiful weekend to be on Lake Champlain.
After a day of racing, participants were treated to a presentation by Susan Evans McClure, executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She focused on the lake’s history and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.
On Sunday, the race committee tried in vain to find enough wind to run the Split Rock Race. The start was scheduled for 10:30 a.m., but while the wind wouldn’t cooperate, about 20 competitors waited. During the long postponement, race committee members shared some trivia questions over the radio, and a member of the crew of Salsa from Diamond Island Yacht Club showed off his waterskiing skill, slaloming between the becalmed boats for about half an hour.
Eventually, around 12:30 p.m., the committee was forced to abandon the race.
In addition to the club and Point Bay Marina, other sponsors contributing to a successful two days of racing, socializing and fundraising for the museum included Helly Hansen’s Church Street store in Burlington; the Hinesburgh Public House; The Old Dock in Essex, N.Y.; FastSigns in South Burlington; the Basin Harbor Club in Ferrisburgh; Shelburne Dunkin’ Donuts; The Moorings-Colchester; Lu·lu Farm-to-Spoon Ice Cream in Vergennes; Safe Harbor Shelburne Shipyard; Bibens Ace Hardware & Marine in Shelburne; Amalgamated Culture Works in Burlington; and The Treehouse Hardwoods & Mill Shop in South Burlington.
(Full results can be found on the Diamond Island Yacht Club’s website.)
Diamond Island Regatta
Spinnaker A Class
- Stratos, J/105, Tom Moody and Tris Coffin, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:46:23
- Foxy Lady, J/105, Jeff Hill, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:46:38
- Souvenir, C&C 115, Craig Meyerson, unaffiliated, 1:49:49
Spinnaker B Class
- Unity, C&C 99, Robin and Bob Turnau, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:47:08
- Sundance, Pearson 37, Tom Glynn, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:47:53
- Enki, C&C 99, Cindy Turcotte, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:48:19
Spinnaker C Class
- Lil’ Bot, Santana 2023R, Benedek Erdos, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:48:15
- Joyride, J/30, Lennart Lundblad, MBBC, 2:00:13
- Wingdam, Tartan 34C, David Hill, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 2:00:20
Jib and Main A Class
- Slingshot, J/30, Fritz Martin, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:53:57
- Hot Chocolate, J/9, Jim Lampman, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:54:51
3. Etoile D’Argent, Dufour 40, Cinthia Audet, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:57:56
Jib and Main B Class
- Morning Star … Again, Catalina 320, Stephen Unsworth, Lake Champlain Yacht, 1:56:45
- Mackinac, Pearson 32, Tim and Betsy Etchells, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:58:16
- Blew Sky, Catalina Capri 25, Chip Kaupp, Diamond Island Yacht Club, 1:59:22