SAILING: Condon wins his fourth Sunfish marathon John Condon of Mattituck Yacht Club won the 43rd annual World’s Longest Sunfish Race, Around Shelter Island, NY, which was hosted by Southold Yacht Club on Saturday.
With the breeze blowing five to six knots from the west/northwest, Condon was one of five sailors, including former North American champion Joel Furman, Ryan Messina, Jeff Anderson and Jim Koehler, who led the 34-boat fleet past Paradise Point. After the leaders passed the South Ferry, the wind increased to 12 to 15 knots and the group had expanded to eight with the addition of Peter Wells, four-time winner Dick Heinl and Joe Sullivan. By the time the group of eight gybed from starboard to port tack while rounding Mashomack Point, they had a 100-yard lead over the next group of sailors.
From Rams Head to Hay Beach Point in Gardiner’s Bay, the boats were on a close reach and the gap between the eight leaders and the bulk of the rest of the fleet increased to a half-mile. There were two exceptions, however, as Richard Skeen and Lee Montes made their moves and solidified their positions in ninth and 10th place while gaining ground on the lead pack.
Entering Greenport Harbor with the weekend chop and the wind blowing 15 to 20 knots from the west, the Race became a grueling test of physical fitness as the intrepid sailors in their 13-feet, 10-inch craft hiked out constantly to keep their boats flat and moving fast. But decisions had to be made, taking into consideration the still outgoing current, the wind direction and velocity, and fatigue as the leaders basically sprinted the final five miles of the approximately 24-mile course. It was during that final leg of the course when Condon passed Messina, who had led for most of the Race. Condon’s experience paid off as he focused upon the tide while Messina focused upon the wind. Once he got the lead, the 38-year-old Condon, who can keep his boat as flat as anyone who sails a Sunfish, was unstoppable. Still, the 29-year-old Messina made Condon work for his win in 3 hours, 58 minutes, 23 seconds, and crossed the finish line only 42 seconds behind him.
Condon became the third four-time winner of this nautical marathon and is one of only six sailors in the history of the race to break four hours. He is also one of only two who broke the four-hour mark twice. He did it in 2007, as well.
The Riverhead Rotary Club will host its 22nd annual Bruce Stark Memorial Golf Championship on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Baiting Hollow Golf Club. Play in the scramble/shotgun format will begin at 11 a.m. The tournament raises funds for the Stark Scholarship program, which benefits deserving Riverhead High School and Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School students. Players may register for the championship by sending the name, phone number, mailing address and e-mail address for each player, with a check payable to Riverhead Rotary for $250 per player or $1,000 per foursome to: Riverhead Rotary, P.O. Box 518, Riverhead, N.Y. 11901. Players are asked to register by Aug. 15.