It's a regatta that has been around for decades, but since the Storm Trysail Club took it over, the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta has grown from a fleet of 9 boats in 2001 to 35 boats in 2005 while cranking up enthusiasm from both the sailors and the skippers who loan out their boats. Thanks to the Larchmont Yacht Club and sponsors led by Prestige Toyota and UK-Halsey Sailmakers, there was even a free dinner for the 250 college sailors participating in the event last weekend (October 8-9) on western Long Island Sound.
Five J/44s and nine J/105s raced as one-designs, with St. Mary's topping the J/44 class in Vamp on finishes of 1-1-2 under skipper Tyler Keyworth. Coach Adam Werblow said, "We are proud of our “offshore team”. Unlike the varsity dinghy team with full-time professional coaches, the offshore team is a student led team organizing and teaching themselves. Before the Storm Trysail event at Larchmont they won a Colgate 26 event at Navy. Everything they have accomplished came out of student energies and skills."
In J/105s it was Georgetown University's "younger" team of mostly sophomores and juniors taking a 1-1-2 win under helmsman Dan Esorn. Second was the Coast Guard Academy at 2-2-1.
Georgetown, which mustered two crews for the event, also won in Class 3, a mixed fleet of six Express 37s, two J/35s, and a Tripp 36. Skippering a team of mostly seniors and juniors was Ed du Moulin, and yes, Lora Ann belongs to his father, Rich, "but the only time I've sailed this boat in three years is in this regatta." In the third of three races, with a 1-1 count going, du Moulin said, "We covered Navy tight (2-2 in Troubadour), and a couple of boats slipped past us, but we did what we had to do. Georgetown won at 1-1-5 over Navy's 2-2-4.
In the other mixed class—five J/109s and three J/120s—the day went to Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy, where a 1-3-1 series was good for a three-point win over Massachusetts Maritime.
There was no racing Saturday, in honor of the borrowed boats and winds that built to 30 knots with gusts on top. Conditions went light to moderate on Sunday to allow for three quick races in three and a half hours—most people had some traveling to do, especially the teams from Northwestern and Miami of Ohio—but the event wrapped up with a glow all-around. There's been something of a trend to get more college sailors into keelboat sailing. For example, there's The Big Sail coming up November 15 on San Francisco Bay, tied to the local Big Game between Stanford and Cal.
At Larchmont, according to Adam Loory, one of the organizers, "We have the twin goals of 1) introducing college dinghy sailors to keelboats, and 2) giving keelboat-experienced college sailors a crack at racing in well-prepared boats. It was easy to see who had a background in keelboats and teamwork and who did not. The boats at the top were close together and their roundings were smooth. At the back, where people were sorting it out for the first time, things were pretty ragged but that's all right. Everybody has to have a first time. Refer to goal number one."