WESTPORT - A photo finish of the J24 Class of sailboats created high excitement at the 12th annual Westport Challenge Regatta in Northwest Bay on Saturday, Aug. 1. Two boats, Dancing Queen and Gemini exchanged the lead many times during the over one-hour race. With a downwind finale and colorful spinnakers flying, the boats crossed the finish line with less than a 6-inch separation.
First place was captured by Gemini helmed by Dave Japikse crewed by sons Dan and Matt all from Schenectady and Jim Carlisle of Westport. Second place was taken by Dancing Queen with Paul Reese of Moriah at the helm and crew Mark Schubert, Peter Mitchell both of Silver Bay and Mike Stahl of Port Henry. Both boats are part of the North Cheever Yacht Club at the Velez Marina, Port Henry.
Hosted by Westport Marina, the 12th annual Westport Challenge Regatta had a record fleet of 21 sailboats competing. With excellent weather and fair winds local and visiting boats competed in three divisions- class A, B (cruising non-spinnaker) and J-24 Class (spinnaker). Sailors came from the Capital District, Lake Champlain Region, Canal Region, Vermont and Canada. Organized by the Westport Marina, the regatta has been co-sponsored by the Brooks-Reinemann Group of Merrill Lynch for the last five years.
The cruising fleet completed a triangular course starting at the marina, turning north at Barber Point and then rounding Scotch Bonnet off Basin Harbor Club.
Leading Class A handicap racing was Arcadia helmed by Capt. James Connors of Plattsburgh, home port Willsboro, with a corrected time of 2:22:51; in second place Rita Louise 2:22:54 with Capt. James Morris from Albany, home port Van Slooten Marina in Port Henry; and third Diva, 2:39:35 with Capt. George Guy Lever of Wilmington, home port Westport.
Arcadia was also the first boat to finish the race in real, not-handicapped time.