SIYC: Yacht Club presents annual Junior Awards

SIYC: Yacht Club presents annual junior awards
By Elizabeth Ruby | 08/17/2011 10:21 PM | Sports, Shelter Island Reporter

The Junior Sailing Program Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday, August 11 at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. The ceremony is held annually to recognize outstanding sailors for sportsmanship, race results and long-term participation in the program.

This year’s Sailors of the Year were James Benacerraf, sailing the Opti 2; Luke Reich, Opti 3; Michael Benacerraf, Opti Advanced; Gretchen McCarthy and Caitlin Cummings, C420 AM; Katie Sudol and Max Ryder, C420 PM; and Andrew Sudol and Amanda Sommi from the Laser AM and PM classes, respectively.

The Sailor of the Year awards are given annually to the juniors who have shown improvement, maintain equipment with the utmost care, are considerate of other sailors and their needs and exemplify the goals the program strives to develop in the participants.

Sebastian Morris won the Instructor Award, which is given for the recipient’s achievements, seamanship and improvements during the season. For beginning sailors, specifically the Opti 1 sailors, the winner is someone who has exhibited enthusiasm, a positive outlook and a desire to try new things.

The Heatherton Award is given in recognition of the Heatherton Race winners. Sailed early in the summer, the race is geared to ward the advanced sailors of each class: Opti 3, Opti Advanced, Laser Radial and C420 PM. The beginner C420 sailors did not participate because the event was held early in the season and the coaches felt they were entitled to develop their abilities further before competing against their afternoon counterparts.

The top Heatherton finishers included Elizabeth McCarthy from the Opti 3’s, Will Maurillo of Opti Advanced, Christian Houston-Floyd from the Laser Radials and John Sommi and McKenzie Needham of C420 afternoon.

The SIYC Club Series is held in Pipes Cove every Wednesday or Thursday during the program’s eight-week season. To be considered for the Club Series award, sailors must have sailed in at least 65 percent of the races. Unlike the Heatherton Award, competitors from every class are contenders.

The first-place finishers were: in Opti 3, Elizabeth McCarthy; in Opti Advanced, Blake Sommi; Max Mitchell in the Laser AM class; Alex King in the Laser PM class; Alida van der Eems and Henri Champignuelle in the C420 AM class; and John Sommi and Struan Coleman in the C420 PM class.

The night’s final awards were the Program Awards, a long-standing tradition, some of which have been given out since 1961. These awards primarily recognize the older sailors.

The Gregory Price Trophy is awarded to the most improved sailor in the program; this season’s recipient was Allie Maurillo.

John Sommi received the Instructors Bowl, given to the most enthusiastic participant. The Matchbox Award, an Opti award, went to Blake Sommi for exemplifying the principles and goals of the program. Unlike the previous award, this one is skill related; in addition to participating in a majority of the events offered during the season, the recipient must also exhibit good sportsmanship.

Jack Lane was awarded the Laser Award as the top Laser sailor; the winner must have sailed in numerous regattas and demonstrated a superior skill level. Finally, the Commodore Cup, which was created to honor a C420 team, focuses on regatta participation, sportsmanship and impressive skill levels. This year’s award winners were John Sommi and Struan Coleman.

Drew Garrison, a C420 advanced sailor and a sophomore at Shelter Island High School, said he’d “had a blast” during the summer; he especially enjoyed sailing around the Island on August 10. His sister, Olivia, a freshman at the high school and a beginning Laser sailor, said she’d “enjoyed getting to know a variety of kids” and prefers cruising, like her brother.


This Saturday’s Herreshoff 12½ races in Pipes Cove almost did not happen because there was little to no wind around 1 p.m. It finally kicked up around 1:45 p.m. to about 8 to 10 knots and the Race Committee decided to hold the races after all.

Due to the lack of wind these past few weeks, the Race Committee decreed that Saturday’s races would be for the Herreshoff Museum Trophy, which was donated by the Herroshoff Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1996 in recognition of the size of the Yacht Club’s Herreshoff 12½ fleet; at the time, it was the largest racing fleet of the boats in the nation.

Once the wind kicked up and the fleet had assembled in the cove, the Race Committee ran two races. The first was a windward-leeward course twice around; the final race of the day demanded the competitors complete a windward leg, then a tight reach to a white mark off of Dering Point, with another windward leg to the traditional finish line between the north pier and an orange buoy. Eighteen boats sailed in both races; each race began with a standard five-minute sequence. Larry Landry was the winner of the Herreshoff 12½ Museum Trophy. The top finishers after him were Jeff Bresnahan in fourth place; Denny Clark in third; and Bruce Brewer in second.

Richard Tiernan, a Race Committee member, said he was simply “glad there was wind.” In the same vein, Chip Luddecke said, “The wind, she no blow; the boat, she no go.”