SAG HARBOR: It Was a Fine Day for a Breakwater Regatta

Postponed from HarborFrost weekend in February
Sailors from the Breakwater Yacht Club participated Saturday in an Icebreaker Regatta, postponed from its original date, just after February’s blizzard. Michael Mella

   One of the warmest days yet this year brought nine sailors to a seven-race regatta on Saturday afternoon at Sag Harbor’s Breakwater Yacht Club. Postponed from HarborFrost weekend in February because of the bay’s transformation to a sea of ice in a blizzard, the weather on this day was just right, according to Marty Knab of Sag Harbor, who served on the race committee.
    The winds were 10 knots out of the west and pretty constant, he said afterward in the airy and sun-filled waterfront clubhouse, as beer and pizza arrived for the awards celebration. There was very little oscillation, he said. Each of the races lasted 10 to 15 minutes, windward and leeward and back to the midway, with the lowest score from each sailor dropped.
    Conditions were perfect for Derrick Galen of Sag Harbor, who took first place with 10 points. “It was good for me downwind because I am light,” he said, after receiving a windbreaker, a restaurant gift certificate, and the news that his name would be on a plaque upon a clubhouse wall.
    Second place went to Brett Morgan of North Haven. He had 15 points, and probably jet lag, after his morning arrival from Denver on a red-eye.
    Bud Rogers took third with 17 points. “This was excellent,” said the sailor, who also hails from North Haven. The others who finished were John Niewenhous, Sara Nightingale, Minna Scholl, Caitlin Cummings, Eric Butte, and Joan Butler.
    “This time of year, sailors have the whole harbor to ourselves,” Knab said happily. Once the village’s moorings go in, he said, they move farther down, by Havens Beach.
    “Anyone, member or not, experienced sailor or not, can show up on the dock and get on a boat,” Butte said, adding that he did just that one Wednesday night about a year and a half ago without knowing anyone. He said he “ended up on the race committee boat that first night, and while waiting for the boats to get back to the finish line . . . ate shrimp and nachos, brought by Alec Baldwin, who helps on race committee from time to time.”
    This past winter Butte began to sail on JY15s, two-person sailboats, before moving onto Lasers, the single-person boats sailed in Saturday’s race. “I didn’t come in last,” he said, although he and at least one other sailor did go for “multiple swims” in the sub-40-degree waters.
    Sailors ranged from artists to pilots at the community club, which boasts low membership fees and runs sailing schools for children and adults in addition to its popular Wednesday night races for large sailboats.
    It’s a year-round weekend sport for many, Knab said. “As long as three boats are willing, I go out . . . if it’s ice-free and not blowing too hard.”
    Mary Ann Eddy, the regatta’s chairwoman, said sailing the JY15s on Sundays is the most fun she has ever had. She said she was grateful for prize donations from sponsors including Gill North America and three Sag Harbor establishments: Page at 63 Main, Muse in the Harbor, and Espresso.
    The stakes will be a bit higher in August when a regatta’s grand prize will be a journey to Antigua and Barbuda for Antigua Sailing Week, with flights, accommodations, entry fees, and a yacht included for the winning skipper and six crew members.
    Information about the club and its programs can be found at