Sailing Program

The Great Harbor Sailing programs are designed to suit diverse skill levels from novice sailors all the way to advanced racing. Our goal is to promote good seamanship and a love for the sport of sailing.420s

GHYC Challenge Regatta Recap

September 9 & 10, 2017

The first annual GHYC Challenge Regatta was a huge success! Five teams participated in the event with sailors from Great Harbor Yacht Club, Nantucket Yacht Club and off-island. On Saturday, teams sailed IOD’s in a unique trapezoid course outside the harbor. On Sunday, we offered two distance races using town marks inside the harbor for sailors to navigate in Rhodes 19s. 24 enthusiastic sailors participated in the event and were treated to a beautiful fall weekend of sunny skies and good winds!

IOD photo4

On Saturday, after enjoying croissants and coffee, sailors headed out on the launch to rig their IOD’s. The sailed out westward past the jetty and met up with the Race Committee boat. Principal Race Officer Eric Robbins was on hand to set up the course and run three excellent races for our sailors! The wind was moderate, and getting lighter, so we sailed two trapezoid courses and one windward-leeward course. Starts were competitive and sailors sailed quickly on our four mile course. Naturally, there had to be a winner, and Richard Werdiger’s team ran away with the win in all three races!IOD spinnakers

Their IOD was skippered by both Richard Werdiger and Ian McNiece taking turns on the helm! They were unstoppable! In second place for the day was Peter Barrett’s team helmed by Chris Gould, and third place went to Susan Wayne’s team helmed by Dan MacKeigan. After a beautiful day of racing, we all headed back to Great Harbor for daily awards and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. That great day on the water fueled lots of great conversation back at the bar, lots of new friendships and plans made for team dinners and future sailing!

Sailors returned to Great Harbor Sunday morning to learn about their Rhodes 19 distance courses for the day – and eat some more delicious chocolate croissants! PRO Eric Robbins and I designed two great courses leading the sailors up harbor to Pocomo and a second race leading them up the channel to Jetties Beach. Teams were a little smaller on Sunday, so the core group of sailors headed out to the Rhodes 19s for a day of racing in stronger winds.


We started the first race at 12:00pm near First Point, and the teams raced up to Polpis, Pocomo and back to First Point. Susan Wayne’s team won the first race with Skip Willauer at the helm, followed by Carolyn Grant Zarrella’s team and Cece Fowler’s team. Unfortunately, Peter Barrett’s boat suffered from a broken shroud midway through the race and they had to retire early. Race Committee was happy to grant them redress and gave them the placing where they were when the shroud broke – a third place. After the race, everyone headed to the beach for lunch to enjoy sandwiches, chips, watermelon and cookies. Sufficiently fueled, the sailors returned to their boats, rigged up and sailed away from the beach for the second race.GHYC_Regatta-20 rhodes beach picnic

To add a little excitement to the races, we started the second distance race with a downwind start. This is very unusual in sailboat racing, and really proved to make things interesting. Winds were about 15-18 knots as boats sailed downwind through the line, put up their spinnakers as quickly as possible and took advantage of the most speed towards the first mark. Unfortunately, the wind had a different idea for a couple of our boats and two Rhodes 19’s quickly found themselves capsized with sailors in the water. Cece Fowler and her crew flipped first after a sketchy jibe. Peter Barrett and his crew of fresh Rhodes 19 sailors flipped shortly afterwards thanks to a big gust.


Our safety boat and mark boat were quick to the scene to recover the sailors and all the gear floating around them. Each boat was able to right themselves and awaited the big gusher pump to bail out the boats. The other three boats sailed on to finish the course up to Jetties beach and back to First Point with Susan Wayne’s team taking first place, Carolyn Grant Zarrella’s team in second place and Richard Werdiger’s team, helmed by Linda Johnson, in third.

rhodes downwind start3

The soggy, capsized sailors made a quick change and headed to the bar to meet up with the other sailors for warm drinks and laughter about their misfortunes and successes on the water. The buzz was strong for the event around the bar, and all the sailors, win or lose, wet or dry, had a great time sailing the first Great Harbor Challenge Regatta. We’ve already decided to host the regatta this same weekend next year, so mark your calendars for September 8 and 9, 2018! After daily awards for the Rhodes 19 sailors, we handed out overall awards to the winners of the event. First place went to Richard Werdiger’s team, second place to Susan Wayne’s team and third place to Peter Barrett’s team. Congratulations to all the sailors and hope you’re looking forward to next year.overall winners richard werdiger 1st place

1st Place Overall - Richard Werdiger's Team

overall winners susan wayne 2nd place

2nd Place Overall - Susan Wayne's Team

overall winners peter barrett 3rd place

3rd Place Overall - Peter Barrett's Team

We also could never have pulled this off without our fabulous volunteers! We’d like to thank Marcia Richards, Cheryl Woodford and Lyle Howland for manning the registration desk and protest desk. Tom Richard’s was our Race Committee vessel owner and driver. Thanks to Lou Borrelli, Will Clift and B.I. Clift for helping on mark boat with staff members Conor Burrell and Jack Torney. We’re thankful to Peter Barrett and Richard Werdiger for lending their powerboats to the cause too! Thank you all very much for your help in making this event such a success!!


2017 GHYC Challenge Results

Consult the NOR and Sailing Instructions