Strong Winds a Boon for Buzzards Bay Regatta

The J/80 fleet enjoyed good racing in strong southwest winds over the weekend. Photo by ## SPECTRUM PHOTO/Fran Grenon##
Saturday saw winds in the high-teens, which made for some exciting sailing. Photo by ## SPECTRUM PHOTO/Fran Grenon##

August 9, 2010: Sailors competing in the 38th Annual Buzzards Bay Regatta, sponsored by the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Massachusetts, were treated to optimum conditions during the 3-day event, which ran from Friday, August 6 to Sunday, August 8.

According to BBR Chairperson Mary Pierce, 390 boats and some 1,200 sailors participated in the event—one of the largest multi-class regattas in the country. A total of 10 classes compete in the regatta, including J/80s, 420s, Vanguards, Lasers, multihull and PHRF Cruising and Racing.

The regatta draws a lot of sailors because of
the wind, but it’s the off-the-water events and experiences that make the event so popular year after year.”

Races were held off Marion and Mattapoisett, as well as off New Bedford, where 125 boats in the 420 Class sailed 10 good races off Fort Tabor—completely undeterred by the recent buzz about shark sightings in the bay. “This year marked the first time we initiated a shark plan,” said Pierce, who noted that a “picket line” of volunteers and security vessels, including boats belonging to the New Bedford Police Dept., was established around the race course to keep a close eye out for any sharks. None were spotted.

Although the sailing was somewhat slow on Friday due to fluky winds, Saturday and Sunday were ideal. Buzzards Bay’s famous (or infamous, depending on your style of boating) southwest winds piped up nicely into the mid- to high teens, allowing all of the classes to complete 9 to 10 races.

Spinnakers fly as the huge 420 fleet heads downwind on Friday. Photo by ## SPECTRUM PHOTO/Fran Grenon##

Top honors went to 17-year-old Ryan Schmitz of Rockville Center, New York, who won the award for Best Overall Performance by scoring 10 points out of 9 races in the 68-boat Laser Radial fleet. Perennial winner and local favorite Jonathan Pope, owner and founder of Uncle Jon’s Coffee Shops in Marion and Mattapoisett, finished first in the Shields Class. The rest of the race results can be viewed online at

In keeping with BBR tradition, sailors, crews and volunteers all had a great time over the weekend, thanks in part to the great après-racing refreshments and entertainment. Longtime BBR favorites Dave and the Duds performed Saturday night, with the crowd refusing to let the band offstage until 10:30. Friday night’s performance by the Buzzards Bay Blues Band was greeted with equal enthusiasm.

Overall, the regatta was a huge success, and Pierce was quick to give credit to her “phenomenal” staff of fellow volunteers who helped make it all happen. “We do this because we love sailing and helping others go sailing,” she explained. “The regatta draws a lot of sailors because of the wind, but it’s the off-the-water events and experiences that make the event so popular year after year.”

For more information:

Photo Gallery: Scenes from the Regatta