2014 SANJL Youth Championship
Despite a bleak wind forecast, the 2014 SANJL Youth Championship proved to be one of the most well attended regattas in the history of the event. Competitors traveled from around North Jersey to test their sailing skills at the unique Mountain Lakes venue. At the start of the first race, an astounding 30 youth sailors from 6 sailing clubs fought for their position on the starting line.
With the large turnout at the event came an unexpected easterly breeze, albeit light and shifty. However, the local sailors felt right at home in these conditions.
For the first several races, Race Committee Chairman Derek Jackson and his group of volunteers decided to run a port triangle course around the fixed marks in the lake. The starting line was crowded and most of the sailors found the situation to be quite different from the casual racing they were used to at their home lakes. At the gun, many of the top sailors found themselves in unfavorable positions far from the starting line. However, one sailor, Corrado Fazio of Packanack Lake, managed to get away cleanly by starting on the port side of the line, to leeward of a crowd fighting for the committee boat end of the line.
As the race went on, the top sailors managed to work their way back to the front of the fleet to give Corrado a run for his money. Two of these sailors were James Daniel and David Graf, among the most experienced racers involved with the Mountain Lakes youth program. Having sailed at Mountain Lakes for several years, they were able to use their familiarity with the lake to pull themselves to the front of the fleet, ultimately taking the first and second spots in the race. Corrado held out for third while Jack Bokum and Robert Wisniewski of Highland Lakes rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, many newer sailors were taking part in their first competitive race. Many of these sailors are part of junior programs such as the Mountain Lakes sailing camp and had been sailing for as few as only a couple weeks. For them, the goal was not to win but simply get into the race and mix it up. All were successful as all competitors finished the race in the time allotted.
After the first race, the sailors took a quick break for lunch. During this time, the kids were able to socialize with sailors from other lakes and laugh about the crazy conditions of the day. Some also took the time to reflect on the triumphs and tragedies of the first race and ask for advice on how to improve.
It was not long before the sailors launched their boats back into the wild world of Mountain Lake. As the start of the second race approached, David Graf, the leader of the regatta, knew that he would still face fierce competition from his opponents Nick Reyes and Drew Schell, who he remembered all too well had defeated him the previous week at Spruce Run. In addition he knew he had to watch out for team Highland Lakes, who always brings a lot of talent to these events.
As the racing continued, there were thrills and frustrations for all, as comes with the territory in sailboat racing. At the end of the day, however, it had become clear who the champion would be. David Graf sailed an incredibly consistent regatta, despite very inconsistent conditions. He ultimately took home the coveted SANJL Junior trophy. Jack Bokum of Highland lakes and Drew Schell of Green Pond also sailed solid regattas, taking the second and third places, respectively.
In the Midget division, Nick Reyes of Hunterdon Sailing Club took home the legendary daggerboard, beating out James Daniel, Luc Bay, and Tyler Murphy of Mountain Lakes.
There was also a new award this year that awarded the top lake based on the scores of its top three sailors. Team Highland Lakes blew everyone away and took home this brand new trophy.
In all, nobody could have asked for a better run junior regatta. Thanks go out to Steve Manson, who spearheaded the organization of the event along with the rest of the volunteer SANJL crew including Derek Jackson, Doug Brown, Simon Bertocci and myself. Additionally, local help was provided by Lisa Graf and Jane Cook of MLSA who ensured that the regatta ran smoothly and Chris Proudlove who was a tremendous help to the Race Committee.
Thanks to everyone who came to the event and we hope to see you at SANJL events in the future!
- Alec Manson
View Even More Photos
See Complete Standings
1st Place: David Graf
2nd Place: Jack Bokum
3rd Place: Drew Schell
4th Place: Robert Wisniewski
5th Place: Teo Waalberg
6th Place: Corrado Fazio
7th Place: Brant Wisniewski
1st Place: Nick Reyes
2nd Place: James Daniel
3rd Place: Luc Bay
4th Place: Tyler Murphy
5th Place: JT Wisniewski
6th Place: Gabe Maute
7th Place: Antonio Fazio
Sportsmanship Award: Teo Waalberg
Sailed Award: Mike Riccardi
Coach's Award: James Daniel
Top Gun Award: David Graf
Top Lake Trophy: Highland Lakes
See Photos of SANJL Warm-Up Regatta the Week Before at HSC