Spinnaker boats approach the start during the 2022 Diamond Island Regatta on August 13. At left is Rosie, which served again this year as the committee boat. – Ramsey Hazbun Photo

Diamond Island Yacht Club, Point Bay Marina host 10th annual Diamond Island Regatta, supporting Maritime Museum

CHARLOTTE/FERRISBURGH, Vt.—As they have been, more often than not, over the past decade, the winds on Lake Champlain were kind to the Diamond Island Regatta on August 13. The 10th annual sailboat race, sponsored by the Diamond Island Yacht Club (DIYC) and Point Bay Marina to benefit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, attracted 32 boats, a new record for the event, to Town Farm Bay for a 12.5-mile race in a steady breeze of 12-15 knots that kept the boats moving and their crews busy.

Alas, the next day, about 20 boats waited for more than two hours for wind—any wind—to fill in on Town Farm Bay, before the second annual edition of DIYC’s Split Rock Race had to be cancelled.

But the weekend—which in addition to being all about sailboat racing and camaraderie on the lake is also a fundraiser for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum—had already been a success, with record turnout for both of the races, and a lot of money raised.

Boats came from up and down the lake, with sailors from, among other places, the Diamond Island Yacht Club (DIYC) in Charlotte, the Lake Champlain Yacht Club (LCYC) in Shelburne and the Mallets Bay Boat Club (MBBC) in Colchester. Both races are part of the Lake Champlain Championship Series, a season-long competition that determines annual bragging rights in five classes: three Spinnaker classes and two Jib-and-Main (JaM) classes. The races are scored using the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) system, so boats with different speed potentials can compete against each other.

Stratos, a J/105 sailed by LCYC’s Tom Moody and Tris Coffin, heads downwind en route to a win in the Spinnaker A Class during the Diamond Island Regatta on August 13. – Ramsey Hazbun Photo

The steady wind for this year’s Diamond Island Regatta made for close competition in nearly all of the classes. The first boat to finish was Kjell Dahlen’s Odinn, a J/111 from Lake Champlain Yacht Club, taking 1 hour, 39 minutes and 52 seconds to complete the course, which took the sailors from the start in Town Farm Bay north to a mark just south of Sloop Island off Charlotte, south to Diamond Island and back north to the start/finish line. But the race is scored on corrected time, and by that measure the win among the fastest boats in Spinnaker Class A went to Stratos, a J/105 sailed by Tom Moody and Tris Coffin from LCYC, with a corrected time of 1:44:45, just 15 seconds ahead of Foxy Lady, also a J/105, sailed by LCYC’s Jeff Hill.

In Spinnaker Class B, Robin and Bob Turnau’s Unity, a C&C 99 from LCYC, had the best corrected time of 1:47:08, with Tom Glynn’s Pearson 37 Sundance, also from  LCYC, 45 seconds behind. In Spinnaker Class C, Benedek Erdos sailed his Lil’ Bot, a Santana 2023R, to the only blow-out of the day, winning his class by nearly 12 minutes in a corrected time of 1:48:15. One of the smallest boats in the race, Lil’ Bot beat all but four of the Spinnaker A & B boats on corrected time.

In the jib-and-main classes, Slingshot, a J/30 sailed by Fritz Martin from DIYC, captured the JaM A Class, with a corrected time of 1:53:57, less than a minute ahead of DIYC’s Jim Lampman, sailing Hot Chocolate, a J/9. In the JaM B Class, Morning Star … Again, a Catalina 320 sailed by Stephen Unsworth of LCYC, came out on top with a corrected time of 1:56:45, just a minute and a half ahead of Mackinac, a Pearson 32, sailed by DIYC’s Tim and Betsy Etchells.

Some close-quarters racing featuring Muse, at left, and Lil’ Bot. Benedek Erdos’s Lil’ Bot, representing DIYC, was the top finisher in the Spinnaker C Class, and Muse, sailed by Doug Friant, a member at both DIYC and LCYC, sailed to sixth place in the Spinnaker B Class. – Joe Gannon Photo

But perhaps the biggest winner again this year was the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). The money raised by the regular benefit events—the pre-race breakfast, the Lobster Fest dinner, T-shirt sales, and a fundraising raffle—are still being tallied, but all were on track for records. And added to that will be the post-race sale to competitors of action photos of all the boats from photographers Joe Gannon and Ramsey Hazbun.

While the wind didn’t cooperate on Sunday, it was a beautiful weekend to be on Lake Champlain. On Saturday morning, sailors gathered under the DIYC tent at Point Bay for the breakfast and a skippers meeting before heading out to Town Farm Bay for the race. After a day of racing, sailors, club members and guests were treated to a “happy hour” under the tent, including a presentation by Susan Evans McClure, executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She focused on the lake’s history in general and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act in particular. About 100 people turned out for the Lobster Fest dinner that followed, which saw awards given to the winners of each of the five classes and raffle-prize drawings.

On Sunday, the race committee tried in vain to find enough wind to run the Split Rock Race, a companion event to the Diamond Island Regatta, first sailed in 2021. The start was scheduled for 10:30, but when the wind wouldn’t cooperate, the committee boat raised the postponement flag, and waited, along with about 20 competitors. During the long postponement, race committee members shared some trivia questions over the radio, and one of the mark boats, used to transport marks to the appropriate place once a course has been decided on, was converted to a waterski boat. A member of the crew of Salsa, from DIYC, showed off his skill, slaloming between the becalmed boats for about half an hour. Eventually, around 12:30, the committee was forced to abandon the race, in part so sailors who had come from the northern end of the lake could get home before dark.

Both races were overseen by DIR/SRR Race Director Wendy Friant from the committee boat, Rosie, a Lord Nelson Tug owned and captained by Will Patten. The mark boats, which place turning marks for the fleet at designated spots, were owned and driven by Joe Gannon, Sandy Jacobs, and Paul and Ruth Lamberson. DIYC volunteers were supported again this year by LCYC, which loaned race management equipment to DIYC for the event. And dozens of other DIYC volunteers worked tirelessly, on and off the water, to make the weekend possible.

Slingshot, a J/30 sailed by Fritz Martin of DIYC, sails the first windward leg during the Diamond Island Regatta on August 13. Slingshot was the winner in the JaM A Class. – Ramsey Hazbun Photo

In addition to the club and Point Bay Marina, other sponsors contributing to a successful two days of racing, socializing, and fundraising for the museum included Helly Hansen’s Church Street store in Burlington; the Hinesburgh Public House; The Old Dock in Essex, N.Y.; FastSigns in South Burlington; the Basin Harbor Club in Ferrisburgh; Shelburne Dunkin’ Donuts; The Moorings-Colchester; Lu·lu Farm-to-Spoon Ice Cream in Vergennes; Safe Harbor Shelburne Shipyard; Bibens Ace Hardware & Marine in Shelburne; Amalgamated Culture Works in Burlington; and The Treehouse Hardwoods & Mill Shop in South Burlington.

Here are the top finishers on corrected time in each class in Saturday’s Diamond Island Regatta:

Diamond Island Regatta, August 13

Spinnaker A Class

1. Stratos, J/105, Tom Moody & Tris Coffin, LCYC, 1:46:23

2. Foxy Lady, J/105, Jeff Hill, LCYC, 1:46:38

3. Souvenir, C&C 115, Craig Meyerson, unaffiliated, 1:49:49

Spinnaker B Class

1. Unity, C&C 99, Robin & Bob Turnau, LCYC, 1:47:08

2. Sundance, Pearson 37, Tom Glynn, LCYC, 1:47:53

3. Enki, C&C 99, Cindy Turcotte, LCYC, 1:48:19

Spinnaker C Class

1. Lil’ Bot, Santana 2023R, Benedek Erdos, DIYC, 1:48:15

2. Joyride, J/30, Lennart Lundblad, MBBC, 2:00:13

3. Wingdam, Tartan 34C, David Hill, DIYC, 2:00:20

Jib & Main A Class

1. Slingshot, J/30, Fritz Martin, DIYC, 1:53:57

2. Hot Chocolate, J/9, Jim Lampman, DIYC, 1:54:51

3. Etoile D’Argent, Dufour 40, Cinthia Audet, DIYC, 1:57:56

Jib & Main B Class

1. Morning Star … Again, Catalina 320, Stephen Unsworth, LCYC, 1:56:45

2. Mackinac, Pearson 32, Tim & Betsy Etchells, DIYC, 1:58:16

3. Blew Sky, Catalina Capri 25, Chip Kaupp, DIYC, 1:59:22

See full results for the 2022 Diamond Island Regatta.