There are times when an event transcends sports and becomes a happening. That was the case with the North American Sunfish Championships that concluded Sunday at Mattituck Yacht Club, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
On a hot, humid, sun-splashed Saturday morning, with colorful tents and trailers and sailboats ringing the ball field next to the club, and with people of all ages enjoying the festivities, the celebration was in full swing. There were 88 boats in the open competition and 41 in the Junior North American Championship.
“We bid for the championships as part of our 100th anniversary celebration,” said event organizer John Condon. “We wanted to do something big. The event has never been on the East End. The last time it was on Long Island was in 1996 in Sayville. So, this was a great honor for our yacht club. We were excited to get it.”
The races, with the boats going twice around the three-mile course, began July 20. Condon said the unusually hot and humid weather, with an occasional thunderstorm mixed in, impacted some of the races.
Bill Brangiforte of Massachusetts, who had to withdraw from the World Championship a month ago because of tendinitis in his left elbow, entered the North American Championship and took it race by race as he monitored his elbow closely. This approach proved to be the magic formula for Brangiforte.
In the final race of the regatta, Brangiforte had a clutch performance in the breezy conditions that threatened his elbow the most. He finished second overall in the race with 45 points to clinch the championship. He narrowly beat longtime friend Mark May of the Shattemuc Yacht Club, who finished second with 50 points,
The recently crowned youth world and junior North American champion, Jose Guitierrez of Venezuela, was third with 53 points.