Tuesday Night Sailboat Racing off Stamford CT.
Every summer since 1967!
On May 17, 2016, we will have the first race of our 50th summer!
Registration for 2016 is already open at Yachtscoring.com. (Registration for the Spring Series automatically includes registration for the Summer Series; no need to register twice.) We will have our pre-season meeting/greeting on Tuesday, May 10 at Stamford Yacht Club, 97 Ocean Drive West, Stamford, at 7:30 PM. All skippers and crew members are welcome.
Season 49 ended with a great party on November 21, with 150 enthusiastic guests. Thanks to our volunteers for putting it together and to the SYC staff for carrying it out. Obviously, our 50th Party in November 2016 has to be something even more special.
But, more important than having a bigger party is having a BIGGER FLEET. Let’s recruit every sailboat and sailor we can find, for this last chance to be part of BI’s first half century. Remind them that we have a growing non-spinnaker division, serving new racers, experienced racers with new boats, and racers who, for any number of reasons, prefer to compete without spinnakers. Class 6, as it’s known, is our best response to those sailboat owners who say that lack of crew and/or equipment prevents them from coming out on Tuesday nights. Let’s get the word out and help this class grow in 2016!
Racers serving as or assisting the Race Committee is a longstanding BI tradition, dating back to Dick Sockol starting every race from his boat and, despite being last to leave the line, often winning! Before we enjoyed the use of Stamford Yacht Club’s On The Line, our sailboats took turns in that role. Although our Race Committee now has a permanent and very able core group, our racing crews still take turns assisting (and feeding) those valued volunteers. Participants often remark that it makes them better racers to watch an occasional race from On The Line. If your crew did not serve in 2015, please plan to sign up early for 2016. We have about twice as many boats as races, so every crew should serve at least once every two years. It’s your chance to win the coveted Gourmet Award.
“Radio Check!” No need for this on VHF-5. Tell your friends. For several years, SeaTow has provided a free automated radio check service on four VHF channels. The channel for Western LI Sound is 27. So, please, no more radio checks on VHF-5, especially during our starting sequence.
The “Irregulars” in our name means the fleet includes a broad range of sailboats and sailors. Today’s faster divisions include some impressive “racing machines,” but the Breakwaters’ backbone has always (i.e., since 1967) been the cruiser, with its galley, head, and bunks, sometimes even a washer, dryer and nursery! It’s friendly competition that gives us a weekday opportunity to enjoy our boats and the Sound. That’s why it just kills us to see sailboats growing barnacles at their moorings as we leave nearby harbors on Tuesday evenings for every week’s best time on the water. Almost any mono-hull sailboat can be your platform for fun on Tuesday nights, so gather a few friends; come out and join us! Just starting* out or can’t find a full crew every Tuesday or just prefer sailing without a spinnaker? Try our non-spinnaker division.
What about “Breakwater”? Well, races used to begin and end at the Stamford Breakwater. For several good reasons, we now start at the Cows Buoy (32) off Shippan Point, but the name is not changing. (We rarely change anything.)
Special thanks to our Class 1 boats: High Noon, Carbonado, Pterodactyl. The biggest and fastest boats in any fleet can easily choose to race elsewhere, or just stay home. We know these great boats are with us because they support what BI is trying to do for our sport. We appreciate their participation.
What exactly happens on the typical Tuesday night? The Race Committee reads the wind, posts a course, and sets a starting line with Buoy 32 as the pin. We race around one or more other buoys. The course, is as W-L as possible (sometimes L-W), but we don’t have support boats and inflatable marks, so we make the best of the buoys. The format is designed to get us racing a little after 7 PM and have us off the Sound before dark (or soon after dark in August). Results are usually posted before we head home from our post-race debriefings.
We race on sixteen Tuesday nights every summer and, once your team gets a taste of it, they’ll be asking you to sign up for some weekend races in Stamford and nearby areas. Examples: The [Stamford] Mayor’s Cup Race is hosted by Halloween YC on the second Sunday of June. Stamford YC welcomes us to its Weekend Series (May through September), the Stamford Overnight in August, the Vineyard Race on Labor Day Weekend, the Valeur Jensen Stamford-Denmark Race in early September, and the Cows Trophy Race in October. All on www.yachtscoring.com.
If you like sailing and want to share the fun with your friends and/or family, well, that’s exactly what Breakwater Irregulars is all about. Everyone who sails on Tuesday evening is a winner.
Friends and family? It’s amazing how long some of us have been sailing together. We have crews that started in their 20s and 30s several decades ago. They move about their boats more carefully now, but they make up for that with an intimate knowledge of the racing area, their boats, and each other. (No matter how you finish, there is no better way to learn how to sail your boat than to race it against similar boats.)
Sailing breeds great memories. Our favorite way to end a Tuesday night is by de-briefing over some food and refreshments. It’s an opportunity to meet the people you beat around the buoys, or who beat you. Racing is even more fun when we all know each other.
This very informal but enduring association of sailors was founded in 1967 by Dick Sockol to race one evening a week on Long Island Sound near Stamford. (For more history go HERE.) We hope you will become a part of it.
Registration for 2016 is available on-line at YachtScoring.com, where you can also find the scratch sheet, sailing instructions, and weekly racing results. You can see some photos and read about the club’s history, our recognition of outstanding sportsmanship, and other topics by simply clicking on the tabs above. Any of our Officers will be happy to talk with you.
Don’t have a boat? Have a boat but don’t have crew? We have a “Crew Needed / Boat Needed” page on the Yachtscoring site. If you try it and it doesn’t work, please contact us. We’ll make it work for you.
Do you need a PHRF (handicap rating) for your boat? You can obtain one on-line through the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound at www.yralis.org. BUT, if you want to try racing with us some Tuesday before getting a PHRF, go to our Officers page and contact one of us for instructions. We’re sure you and your crew will love it, just as we did the first time we tried it.
WELCOME to the fleet!
Oh, we forgot to mention the sunsets! Please visit our Photos page.
*The most common reason for sailboat owners NOT to race is the fear of causing a collision in all that fast traffic. Despite the appearance of disorder, racers follow a simple set of collision avoidance rules, most of which are based on common sense, e.g., a sailboat behind you on the same tack has no right to run you over, no matter how big and fast it is. You can find the rules in Parts 1 and 2 of Racing Rules of Sailing. Once you know what the rules say, think about what they mean, how they apply. There are some other sites that provide animated examples…very helpful. Of course, a real understanding of the rules requires experience. While learning, you can stay out of traffic or try a race or two with one of our experienced skippers. You can do that on your boat or join someone else’s crew for a couple of weeks. Once you see how it works, you will be much more confident.