Julio Reguero, from Guyanbo, Puerto Rico, placed first in six of ten races at the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta held the last week of August, taking home the 2.4 Metre class with 12 points. He also received the C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Trophy, awarded by organizers for the best overall performance by a competitor in the championship.
Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.) took second place in the fleet with 14 points, and Timothy Ripley (Randolph, N.J.) took third on 28 points.
Reguero, who competed in Beijing at last year’s Paralympics (the only sailor to represent Puerto Rico in that event or the 2008 Olympics), led his class throughout three racing days on Narragansett Bay out of Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s public sailing center. Four fleets of sailors with disabilities competed at the event which incorporated the 2009 Blind Sailing National Championship.
As the competitors left the dock for the third and final day of racing on August 27, they did so in a beautiful crisp 12 knot northerly that unfortunately died off over the course of the morning. While the total absence of breeze ultimately forced the last races to be abandoned for the SKUD-18 and J/22 classes, all the competing fleets (2.4 Metre, Sonar, SKUD-18 and J/22s) sailed a ten-race series, except for the J/22s who sailed 11, and the day ended with the standings unchanged as the fleet leaders prevailed to claim the top prizes.
Racing in Sail Newport’s fleet of J/22s, 2008 champion Sengil Inkiala (Waltham, Mass.) won his sixth Blind Sailing National Title in Newport.
2008 Paralympian Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Hugh Freund (S. Freeport, Maine) and Josh Saltmarsh (Wayland, Mass.) won their three races on the last day in the Sonar to win the class with nine points.
The SKUD-18 class saw Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (West Chester, Penn.), successfully defend their title by ending the series with 12 points.
“For me sailing in Newport is the best training you can get anywhere,” said Dorsett. “The tide, the current, the wind shifts, you’ve got big breeze and little breeze. It’s the ultimate training camp. You’ve got every type of variable you can imagine, so if you can sail here, you can sail anywhere. We love to come here. Scott and I have been sailing a lot, all over, and The Clagett trumps any regatta in provisions, race committee and the way they are so inclusive of everyone.”
Whitman and Dorsett planned to head to Europe to race in Sail For Gold in Weymouth, England, before the IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship in Athens, Greece.
From the massage therapists who volunteered their time to work on the competitors’ tired muscles each day after racing, to the donated fruit from an area farm, to the clam boil sponsored and prepared by a local family, the local support for the regatta was remarkable, organizers reported. “It’s a community effort,” said event founder Judy McLennan. “In this economy, to have businesses and individuals on Aquidneck Island coming together in this way is really, really wonderful.”
Report and photos submitted by Claggett Regatta