Seamanship: The Best of Quissett
By Wendy Martyna:
Every so often in a racing season, decisions need to be made with regards to holding a race or not due to the weather. This past Saturday was an example of Quissett racers coming together and giving their input regarding racing conditions. As always, the final decision belongs to the sailor as to whether or not they feel safe in such conditions. Of the Herrishoffs that braved the wind to exit the harbor and get to the line, all felt there was no need to put their crew and boats at risk. As a result there were no H-12 races held in Quissett on Saturday June 20.
The race committee, absent the well respected leader/teacher Ted Burt, was made up of Mike Garfield, Sarah Meigs, Noah Garfield, and Wendy Martyna. They were also joined by Commodore Nina Hocker.
The S boats were a different matter all together. It took the committee boat longer than usual to get steady and anchored. A postponement flag was flown, and the start was delayed by 10 minutes while the race committee tried to communicate with the skippers. Both boats indicated that they felt comfortable in such conditions and were ready to go. Josh Bernstein, in his season debut aboard Olive with a crew of recent college graduates who were also All American Sailors from Brown, showed that even right at the start, when they blew the jib halyard block on the mast, they were not going to give up. Josh’s crew of Colin Smith and Tommy Fink did what needed to be done and got that jib back up and Olive continued on her way. Alan Haigh in Teaticket with his crew of Alison Smith, Ham Lord and Mason Lord were also scrambling to keep things moving along. Both boats had their mainsails reefed and both decided to refrain from spinnaker usage. A decision that was wise. After sailing the course of JYH in a steady SW breeze of 20-25 mph, Alan Haigh crossed the finish line in first place with Josh a respectable 2nd having gained on Teaticket on each leg.
In conditions such as they were for Saturday June 20, both Alan and Josh as well as their crews showed great seamanship not only in their willingness to challenge themselves, their boats and crew but also to challenge the race committee. There was discussion on board the Cornelia Carey regarding shortening the course or abandoning the race. However, the race committee had great confidence in the two skippers and their knowledge of their boats and crew and knew that their seamanship would carry the day.