Each August brings rolling waves, soft breezes and the Annual Junior Sweepstakes Regatta ("Sweeps") to the North and South Rivers of the Jersey Shore, known as the "Two Rivers". This year, I was honored to be asked to cover this event for HIBU with my friend, tennis partner, and "Sailor", Laura Oncea. As Christopher Cross' song "Sailing" echoed in my ears, I headed out early morning looking forward to 4 beautiful hours of 'working' out on the water!
The Junior Sweepstakes Regatta consists of 4 days of races: 2 days sailing from the Shrewsbury Sailing Yacht Club on the Shrewsbury River (the South River Regatta), followed by 2 days sailing at the Monmouth Boat Club, on the Navesink River (the North River Regatta). Optimist Fleets consists of Red (ages 13-15); Blue (ages 11 and 12); White (ages 10 and under) and Green (beginner racers, up to age 15). Both Laser and Club 420 Fleets include participants up to the age of 17.
Each Regatta consists of 5 races: 3 on the first day and 2 on the second day. Participants sail in only the South or North Regattas, but are encouraged to join in the fun for all 4 days. All participants must be 17 or under or in the 2013 high school class. Boat Classes consist of Laser Radial, Club 420, and Optimists; and are governed by the 2013-2016 Racing Rules of Sailing (RR), the prescriptions of US Sailing, the rules of the classes sailing, and by the Sailing Instructions.
As Laura and I quickly relaxed with the calming effects of a warm summer breeze and the "swishing' of the boat on the water, competition was mighty and fierce. Age has no limits when it comes to competition and the ultimate WIN!
The day was a bit overcast with a moderate wind, nearly perfect for sailing, and for Laura and I as spectators. As we sailed out to both start and finish lines, our 'crew' informed us of updates and 'stats' with crews out on the water. Also, occasional coaching and words of wisdom were heard through the speakers across the splashing waves.
At the end of the 4 day event, awards were presented to the skipper and crew for the top five places in each fleet for the South River Regatta, the North River Regatta and for the overall Sweepstakes. In addition, participation awards were presented to many participants. Also, each participant received a beautifully designed T-Shirt!
The organizing authorities for the annual event included the Fair Haven Sailing Club "River Rats" (FHSC), Monmouth Boat Club (MBC), Keyport Yacht Club (KYC), Rumson Yacht Club (RYC), Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club (SSYC), and Atlantic Highlands Sail Education Program (AHSEP).
First Place Winners OVERALL for the junior "Sweeps" is as follows: Laser Class: Britteny Slook (SSYC); 420 Class: Caitlin Abel (KLYC); Optimist Red: Matt Meyer (SSYC); Optimist Blue: Will Hilfiker (SSYC); Optimist White: Harris Hilfiker (SSYC) and Optimist Green: Calvin Ristad (MBC).
Registration forms and fees may be turned into the Junior Program representative at the participant's club each year. Late registration will be accepted on-site according to each Club. For further information, the Regatta Committee contact is Lora Sgroi at 732-895-2512 of Fair Haven Sailing Club.
This was a beautiful and calming annual sailing event not to miss! Until next August, when I meet you all out on the water of the "Two Rivers"! See you then!