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Home2013 Runyon Colie Jr Bilgeboarder - Report

Runyon Colie - 9th Annual Bilgeboarder Regatta

Saturday June 8th, 2013 at Mantoloking Yacht Club
By Kyle Rogachenko (T-76)

Clearing skies made for an excellent day of sailing on Barnegat Bay. Three races were sailed in an 8-12kt westerly. A strong breeze out of the northwest in the early morning gradually lightened and shifted southwest throughout the day.

Right shifts off land at the top of the course played a part in race 1. It was important to get to the starboard layline early enough to take advantage of the geographic shift but not too early as to get caught in the shadow of tall houses. IH-5 skippered by Brendan Hogan showed solid tactics upwind and won the race with incredible speed on both downwind legs.

By the start of race 2, the breeze had shifted far enough left to take the land out of play. Boats were able to make both sides of the race course work to their advantage. In the even race course with puffy oscillating breeze, it was most important to keep your hip clear (or be very persuasive to your neighbors). Taking a few sterns on port tack heading for new wind was a necessary part of staying in phase and almost always paid off.

Race three brought the tightest fleet of the day with many lead changes. Small shifts made for a variety of fast paths to the windward mark. Middle Sedge Island added some difficulty to the downwind legs as well. Around the final windward mark of the six leg course the regatta was up for grabs for Kyle Rogachenko, Dick Wight, Russ Lucas, and Chad Hillyer. The top seven boats all found themselves course left with a port gybe drag race to the finish. The breeze was at its lightest for the day, when a right shift made it possible for the pack to lay the finish. T-76, moved from what would have been a seventh place finish to third in the final moments of the race. With just ten boat lengths to go, T-76 made an aggressive move to leave the pin layline and sail above Brian Gabriel in T-53. The gamble to reach high and fast to the far end of the line paid off when the top five boats soaked low to battle for the pin. The team of Kyle Rogachenko, Ben Condon, Alissa Ayres, and Ian Sutherland moved into third to win the regatta aboard T-76. The top four boats overall were separated by only four points!

The key for the day was not necessarily clear air or a good lane, but the ability to tack on the edge of the shifts and be aggressive when necessary. Wind bands from a passing weather system gradually made their way across the course. With each passing band, the wind would slowly lighten before filling from a few degrees left. The safe bet was to go left, but slow transitions to each new wave of pressure made it possible to take smaller steps to the left without the risk of getting caught in the corner.
Per tradition, the Runyon Colie / Bilgeboarder Regatta was completed with a Nickelowski shot for the winners at the awards, and a rousing tribute to Runnie and Betsy Colie, who honored us all with their presence.