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PYC Sears Cup Print E-mail
Written by Nick Harris   

This year was my fourth year racing in the Sears cup, second as skipper and also second year advancing to the finals. This year started out right here at PYC on Cass Lake in Lightnings. My crew was Danny Schuldinger and Elise Hess, we finished extremely well getting straight bullets, ending up in first place out of 5 boats. The next step was semifinals in Youngstown, New York. Interestingly enough, they decided to have this regatta in J22s and they modified the rules to allow a fourth person to be added to the crew. This was the first I had ever heard of a J22, so figured I had to get out and practice on one before leaving. At this point, I added a fourth to my crew, Abby May. I was told I would be better off as far as weight goes with a fourth crew member.



When we got to Youngstown we learned that there were only three J22s competing, one of which was from Youngstown, sailed there daily, and owned a J22. This scared me a little, but I wasn’t going to doubt our team because of it. The first day, it was blowing mid twenties all day, and even having four people aboard that was A LOT of wind (Enough wind to broach…as we found out). We sailed pretty well all day but lost our spinnaker halyard in the first leeward rounding of the third race. This made it very hard to compete in the last two races of the day but we still got a bullet in the fourth race. The second day there was little to no wind and we only had two races, bulleting the first. In the end we fell short to the hometown team by three points. At this point, I thought our journey was over for this season.


About a week later we got a call from one of the judges, inviting us to New Jersey to compete in the finals. One of the other areas could not send a boat so they asked us. The finals were in Flying Scots and we could only have three people, so the crew I brought to New Jersey was Danny Schuldinger and Abby May. Arriving in New Jersey, we took a bus to Tom’s River Yacht Club where the regatta would be hosted. The yacht club was beautiful and the sailing venue was great. Not too long after arriving at the Yacht club, there was an off water clinic for Flying Scots, and they had a guy who builds Flying Scots talking about the rigging, tuning and sail trim. The first day of racing there was a nice sea breeze, keeping the wind at a steady 10-15 all day. I don’t know how well people know Flying Scots but they don’t have hiking straps or backstays so keeping them flat is tricky. Having a heavy crew helped a lot. Our results from that day were all over the place ranging from a bullet all the way to a last place.


We definitely did better as the day went on. The second day was much lighter and we only got three races in, at the end of the day we were winning the three way tie for 6th. At this point we were pretty happy because 6th is three places better than our 9th from last year. The third day was very disappointing, there was no wind at all and it was very hard to get the boat moving, we dropped to ninth in the standings. Even though the results were not spectacular, the three of us as sailors are immensely better than before participating in this event. These regattas are the types of things that make junior sailors better. In order to make PYC’s junior sailing program the best it can be, it is crucial to support and encourage the participation in these kinds of regattas. I know that I have improved a great deal in the last four years just by sailing in the Sears cup every year. I have two more years left to participate in the Sears cup, and my goal is to win one of them.


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