The newest and one of the most active fleets at MBC is the Laser Fleet. In recent years, many of our young sailors have acquired these high-tech, single seat one-designs. Now dads and moms have joined the group and on any winter day, 20+ lasers are visible on the river in any kind of weather. Fiercely competitive, the skippers sail multiple races in the dry suits that are tested each week for leaks…

Monmouth Spring Laser Regatta

May 15, 2016
Monmouth Boat Club
Red Bank, NJ

After a couple of light-air events to start the season, District 10 sailors finally got a chance to hit the hiking straps and stretch their legs at Monmouth Boat Club’s annual spring regatta. Sunny skies, warm temps and an approaching front combined to create a building southerly breeze, and the 10-boat fleet enjoyed seven races in ideal Laser conditions. The capable MBC race committee, led by PRO Les Hathaway, even ran a few Olympic courses to provide some planing reaches—a rarity in today’s windward-leeward world.

The first race started in about six knots from the SSE and built to about 10 knots by the finish. Regatta chair Chris Henkel and his clubmate Larry Nociolo got an early jump on the fleet by hooking into a big lefty on the first beat, and after a tight race Nociolo took the bullet.

By race two, the breeze had veered slightly and built to 10-12 knots, with much higher puffs. Glen Dickson of Bay Head YC led from the start to edge out out Mike Matan of the Royal Yachting Association, who was visiting MBC for the first time to get some practice in for Masters Worlds in Mexico (an English native, Matan lives in New York). Nociolo finished a solid third.

By the third race the breeze had built to about 14 knots and it elevated a bit through the afternoon, with several puffs well over 20 knots. While that made boatspeed more important, the wind on the Navesink River is never steady, and staying in phase with the big shifts and sharp puffs upwind remained key. With no real waves to surf, the downwind legs were all about lining up for the puffs and avoiding the frequent holes.

Heavyweights Dickson and Matan enjoyed a good battle over the next five races, each winning two, while Henkel and Brendan Gilman of BHYC also posted several top-three finishes. Wily old veteran Had Brick of Island Heights YC showed the importance of keeping one’s head out of the boat in race 6, when he was the first to head right for a big breeze line to the west and enjoyed a wire-to-wire win as a result.

After the drop, Dickson took the overall win by three points over Matan with Henkel another eight points back in third. Brick was fourth and Nociolo fifth, winning a tiebreaker over Gilman. The top five were rewarded with embroidered tote bags, as MBC maintained its tradition of high quality prizes, and all of the competitors enjoyed some great post-race lunch and beverages.

Many thanks to Henkel and his team of MBC volunteers for putting on a great event, including PRO Hathaway, chase boat drivers Brian Dellett and Eugene Gallagher, and registration/refreshment chief Eileen Nociolo. A particular note of appreciation goes to Hathaway, who was a last-minute substitute for PRO. He did a masterful job which included dropping and raising anchor solo for each race so the fleet could have an upwind finish.—By Glen Dickson