June 13, 2015
The second stop on the Barnegat Bay spring E Scow warm up regatta circuit has been the Colie regatta for the past 11 years. However this year was different than in the past as this would be the first Colie Regatta without our beloved legend. Just about a year ago Runnie passed away (June 26, 2014) at 98 years young. He was an inspiration to all of us one design sailors on Barnegat Bay and his legend will live on.
The forecast for the day’s racing was for the breeze to be West to North West clocking North throughout the day and dying. On our way out to the Green Island course we saw velocity ranging from 8-16 and the question was how much to dial up the rig. Most competitors settled on one step up from their base settings figuring to hang on in the big puffs and not be too tight in the lulls.
The First Race was 4 legs and turned out to be the steadiest breeze of the day. As it should be for the Colie Regatta, the pin (Runnie’s favorite place to start) was stacked up tight and was the favored end at which to be. Four or five boats battled for the pin and all but two (T-18 and T-5) got out of there clean. The majority of the group led out to the left and it paid off as the top mark saw Kyle Rogachenko (2013 Colie Champion) and Chad Hillyer in front. As the race progressed it became apparent that this was still a warm up regatta as the fleet saw a number of breakdowns and mishaps. By the end of the race Hillyer had reeled in Rogachenko for the win.
The second race again saw Runnie's favorite pin end to be favored but as the first leg developed it was a tale of two sides as the breeze was starting to swing right and lighten up. The leaders at the first mark actually came out of the left side and likely caught the last lefty of the day to carry them across the course. Brendan Hogan led a pack that included Will Demand, Kirby Slack, and Chad Hillyer for the first lap, but with velocity up and down everybody’s patience was tested. Hillyer was able to develop a nice lead on the second beat, but on the final run Demand was able to close the gap and make the final few yards interesting as the breeze filled from behind. Hillyer stayed strong and pulled out another win, with Demand in second, Kirby Slack (welcome back to the fleet) in third and Stuart Colie all the way from Higgins Lake Michigan in fourth, sailing Dick Wight’s MA-10. Stu is one of Runnie's grandsons and had his Aunt Ann Colie Lewis, Nate Wight (another grandson) and John Manderson onboard with him.
In the final race the breeze had clocked almost past true North and the race committee quickly recognized that this would be a great opportunity to move closer to the cocktails club and set up the new course on what is known to many as the Duck Boat Worlds course just south of Swan Point. As the committee stayed true to fashion the pin was favored again. Unbeknownst to the committee, the pin location ironically was set directly where the Colie family had spread Runnie’s ashes last year. With a heavy heart on MA-10, the race was off with Erik Johnson leading the way around the course. With shifts phasing in and out the race had its ups and downs. At the end Johnson won with Hillyer closing in and Demand just behind.
The afternoon wrapped up with a great party and awards back at Mantoloking’s Downer Sailing Center hosted by the Bildgeboarders and including a round of the famous Nickelosky shots for the winning team of Chad Hillyer, Carl Horrocks, Molly Horrocks, and Mike O’Brien. Atta’ Boys all around.