Three New National Champions Crowned at Oakcliff

DSC_0498The 2015 49er, 49erFx and Nacra nationals are done. US National Champions are Michael Easton and Katie Pettibone in the Nacra, Judge Ryan and Hans Henken in the 49er and Emily Dellenbaugh & Elizabeth Barry in the 49erFX. This was the first national championship for all three teams in an Olympic Class.

Emily and Elizabeth specifically attribute their improvement to 75 plus days that they have trained with the support of Oakcliff over the last year.

A total of 4 races over 3 days were sailed. In most places the sea breeze fills in mid afternoon but in Oyster Bay especially with this unusually warm weather system, it was very late. Executive Director Dawn Riley commented, “this week we started calling it a ‘happy hour breeze’ instead of a sea breeze”.image

The High Performance sailors baked in the sun, swam in Cold Spring Harbor, and made an uncounted number of ice cream runs waiting for the sea breeze to fill in each day. Never the less the sailors maintained an excellent attitude.

PRO Liz Shaw and her team of 16 volunteers, were precise in squeezing in out every opportunity to race. High Performance Fleet Captain Evan Sjostedt also kept the beach rolling and the equipment ready as Oakcliff’s large high performance fleet made it easy logistically for many younger teams to compete.

Of note in the 49erFX Class, Germans Leonie Myer and Elena Stoffers and Canadian’s Erin Rafuse and Danielle Boyd were 1st and 2nd in the class.

Full Results:

Friday National’s Suffer Through Light Northerly

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Friday August 29 was a very challenging day at Oakcliff Sailing Center. The 2015 Nationals kicked off for the 49er , 49er FX, and Nacra 17, leaving sailors in eager anticipation of what is yet to come. Sailors both American and International, have been gathering all week to practice at the venue and have had the pleasure of great coaching from coaches Richard Feeney and Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake , during a high performance clinic.

The less than ideal race conditions became the talk of all the sailors though, as Long Island warmed up with wind averages less than 4 knots for most of the day. Principal race officer Elizabeth Shaw, was able to get off one race for each of the classes before the wind completely shut of. “The toughest part was connecting to the pressure says Trever Burd.” Saturday’s forecast looks to be a lot more promising, with winds 10 knots out of the southwest predicted later in the afternoon. The tidal effect will still play a major role, as it did on Friday.

In the end it is safe to say that while today proved challenging, tomorrow will be even tougher. This is especially true for class leaders; William Mcbride/Dane Wilson 49er, Emily Dellenbaugh/Elizabeth Barry 49er FX, and Ian Liberty/Louisa Chafee Nacra 17.


Filed by Sapling Ethan Johnson

Oakcliff Sailing to Host 2015 USA Match Racing Grand Slam Competition

Oakcliff InternationalTen teams will compete August 13-16 in Match 40s at the Oakcliff International, a Grade 2 match racing event and second stop on the 2015 U.S.A. Grand Slam Series.

An international field will compete for the $10,000 in prize money at stake as well as an invitation to the 2016 Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA, the prestigious Grade 1 event.

The teams are diverse in origin and experience, representing Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States, and holding current ISAF match racing rankings between 3rd and 288th.

“Oakcliff Sailing is proud to host a stop on the USA Grand Slam Series tour,” said Dawn Riley, Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing, the event host. “The series attracts top talent and is a great stepping stone for sailors to compete at the highest level and launch their careers.”

The top four seeded teams, all ranked above 15th are international competitors, skippered by Eric Monnin (SUI), winner of the Knickerbocker Cup, Chris Steele (NZL), Matthew Jerwood (AUS), and Sam Gilmour (AUS). The six American teams include the top two ranked American match racing skippers, David Storrs and Chris Poole, plus a two-time Youth U.S. Match Racing Champion, Christophe Killian.

The Oakcliff International will see all the teams from the Knickerbocker Cup, the first stop on the Grand Slam Series, plus two additional teams. Joining the fray will be four-time U.S. Match Racing Champion Dave Perry, mentor to many of the sailors in the event who have attended his match racing clinics across the country. Having taught and competed with sailors on most of the American teams, it will be a test of Perry’s teaching skills against his match racing acumen to hold off the rising American skippers.

With events in Chicago, Detroit, Port Washington, NY, and Oyster Bay, NY, the Grand Slam Series has become well known and invitations are highly sought after by high-level match racers from around the world. In addition to tough competition, sailors are enticed by the prizes that the Series offers.

The Knickerbocker Cup and Oakcliff International have, respectively, $11,000 and $10,000 in prize money that is distributed among the top ten finishers, and the winners of the Detroit Cup and Knickerbocker Cup receive invitations to the Bermuda Gold Cup, a stop on the World Match Racing Tour. The winner of the overall series will receive an invitation to the 2016 Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA, the prestigious Grade 1 event.

Racing will consist of two round robin competitions, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, petit finals and finals, weather permitting.

OD Gets Hands On a Volvo Boat

OD at the HelmA few weeks ago my boss, Dawn Riley, called me when I was in Newport telling me I’m flying to Sweden to deliver Alvimedica to Spain. For me it was slightly stressful as the guys and I have been going at it full tilt getting the Ker 50 Temptation/Oakcliff, regatta ready. After a few all-nighters I was lucky to have my teammates take over so I could indulge in this awesome opportunity.

My mind was racing. First, I never thought I would be able to sail on one of the new Volvo 65’s. Second, I’m not the biggest fan of deliveries (as a few of you might know). Luckily this delivery was only as long as a trans-Atlantic. About 2,400 miles.

After a night of laundry and packing I jumped the bus to Boston and a plane to Gothenburg.  Nick Dana, the boat captain, was on site making final preparations so we could  leave for Alicante.

Alvimedica DocksideWith a new three blade Gori prop and a Volvo Penta D2-75 (the same as my boat Temptation/Oakcliff) and about 500 liters of fuel, the “Volvo Penta Blue Ocean Cup Delivery Challenge” began.

Quick overview: The crew was made up of friends and mostly Volvo race competitors and shore crew. We were to leave Gothenburg, head North around the tip of Denmark, continue south toward the English Channel, make an emergency fuel pit stop in El Caruna for another 500 liters of fuel (YES we needed it) and continue south toward Gibraltar. Finally, entering the Med we had some Champagne Sailing.

After leaving the dock I couldn’t help but think this boat reminded me of a Class 40. The intricacies and overall set up was fairly similar, except way overbuilt.  The boats were designed by Farr yacht design, cut and built by Green Marine, Persico, Multiplast, and Decision.

Unlike the Volvo 70’s these Farr boats are quite overbuilt and don’t have to be babied,  are constantly pushed to breaking points; a pure work-horse. The crew said they had no idea what the boat limits were, so they kept pushing seeing if they could find a breaking point…. They found it during the around Britain race.IMG_5471

Back to the epic delivery. Leaving Sweden and heading to Biscay the breeze did something very curious to us. It stayed directly on the nose at 25+kts. For at least the first six days. When we would be rounding a country…. The breeze would do the same, never leaving about 20 degrees off the bow.

This wood chopping is nothing new to the Volvo boats, the flat bottom allows no forgiveness for comfort. When off watch I discovered I needed to line the wall, and ceiling of my windward bunk as my body was finding all the hard spots on the boat.

Other than trying to sleep off watch I was selected to be the maker of the food. Nick spent the last Volvo as an OBR, which includes an intricate knowledge of freeze dried, and I really tried to do a shitty job well but I could never compete with his meal making ability. I guess practice makes perfect.

We had three separate watches, and each watch captain spent a considerable amount of time in the nav station for good reason. We were battling a very persistent and oddly consistent headwind, 0%moon, tidal fluctuations, and a language barrier with thousands of ships we tried to avoid.

IMG_5521After five or so days of what sounded like a boat bow chopping wood we needed to refuel. We didn’t want to be caught in the Med with low fuel or especially in a TSS with low fuel.  El Caruna was the spot and it took less than an hour.

After El Caruna we continued going upwind. The tacking angles of this boat is fairly wide, not as wide as a class 40 but wide enough to keep a special place in our hearts for our beloved displacement boats. On day seven through eight we had a nice westerly allowing us to reach down the coast of Portugal. How refreshing it is to get to sail!! There were a lot of potholes and some drivers let the boat slam. Regardless, we were all very happy to get a sail in.


Getting through Gibralter was seamless. Starting to head north felt nice after our tacking battle.

Some things I learned:

Some things I learned:

Race boats are not all the same; yet sometimes have similar problems:

– These Farr boats and how they are taken care of is nothing but beyond top professional. But like any boat, you can point to a little thing and ask what’s it’s for and the response is usually a quality control or that’s for safety. Not one corner was cut or corner overlooked. Literally.

Give it ten minutes and we’ll see what the breeze does:

-Never again will I say this. Change your sail promptly and efficiently. There wasn’t one watch day and night we didn’t consider/perform a peel. And bare headed? Glad the Volvo guys think like I do.

Stack. Never ever ever complain, just stack and trim. Just keep stacking. It takes the guys 3:20 to fully stack the boat:

It was very nice sailing that boat. Within the first two days I was able to drive Alvimedica for more hours than I’ve  sailed Temptation in the past four years. The crew on the boat were so so welcoming and everyone bought into the same plan.



Sail Ahead Provides Local Veterans Sailing Experience

024Sail Ahead just completed our first sailing outing with the Northport VA Medical Center.

After a few months of prep work, some convincing, planning, a few scheduling setbacks due to weather, everything fell into place on July 22.

With perfect weather and the strong support of Oakcliff Sailing , OBMC, the Waterfront Center, the Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244, and Northport VA, Sail Ahead is proud to say that everybody had a great time. For some veterans this was actually their very first time sailing.  We feel fortunate to have been the ones making this experience possible.

Below are some quotes from our guests:

“Really had a great day … helping veterans feel wonderful… unbelievable beginning for Sail Ahead… Looking forward to next sail… thank you all.”

“I had an unbelievably great time – I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for such a great day!! Thank you thank you thank you very much!! With much appreciation!!”

“I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciated all you did for all us vets today. My first time on a sailboat could not have been better. I cannot even begin to express my appreciation. You were all so kind and patient.”

The outing took place the morning of July 22 with the breeze at about 15knots, temperature in the mid-80s and barely any clouds. We started out in the bay under the protection of the shore, allowing our guests to get acquainted with the four boats and the RIB and giving them time to get acclimated to being on the water. Later in the day, we moved onto open waters (Long Island Sound), which provided an even greater appreciation of what sailing is all about.

The joy of giving is in so many ways as great as the joy of receiving! This has been proven yet again during this outing!

Our next challenge at Sail Ahead is to launch an even larger operation on August 22 with the added participation of the Northport Yacht Club and possibly the USMMA in which we will be launching fleets from Oyster Bay, Northport and Kings Point!

Please help spread the word by liking our Facebook page –

We can use help – contact us at

Oakcliff throws down the gauntlet for next year as they win the Oakcliff Challenge


The Challenge culminated in a grade 5 match race in light winds.  Coach  Dave Perry worked with the teams on Friday on boat handling and boat speed. Saturday saw one of the first fleet race days in match 40s which were sailed under Appendix Q and umpired fleet racing. Dave not only umpired but he coached between races and videoed for a video debrief after racing.
“Learned a lot!! Very much enjoyed the social side also – Dave Perry was the icing on the cake” Said Jim Dyer from team Hudson River Sailing.

With many of the teams staying in the bunkhouse there was a strong camaraderie as they all learned and competed against each other. On the water it was all  racing but back at shore it was all coaching and fun. Chrisy Smitheron from the Long Beach Yacht Club Women’s team said “Dave Perry was epic and the overall Oakcliff experience was super sweet. Thanks for a great 3 days of learning and sailing.”

The Oakcliff team won both the fleet racing day and went undefeated in the match racing as team captain Ladi Oguntoyinbo put together a super strong team. Chris Kennedy, Sapling graduate and three year employee drove the fleet race day. Colin Kennedy fresh off two weeks of match race Clinegattas and on his way to the Rose Cup, the Youth Match Race Championship, and third year Sapling drove the match races. Austin Colpaert, second year Sapling was the bowman extraordinaire. Then at the last minute Chris Poole the second ranked US Match Racer joined the team when his plans changed.

As a coaching and training center we had new people join PRO TJ Shea on the signal boat and Chief Umpire Bill Simon on the umpire team. Almost all of the sailors and race officials are shown in this picture with a big smile as the last day draws to a close with an awards ceremony.


The Oakcliff Challenge – It’s ON!

11377205_856860627694924_6276995187793431926_nJune 13, 2015 – Seven teams from as far away as British Columbia and Long Beach California have arrived in Oyster Bay, New York. Board member and coach Dave Perry started with a video coaching session introducing the teams to Match 40s. It was then out on the water for drills and another video debrief, this time use the video he took of the actual teams performing on the water. Day one didn’t end there, following a quick dinner Dave went into overtime with a match racing 101 session for those that are new to it.

Today will be fleet racing for the Match 40s. With five to six, 45 minute races scheduled, there will be a full day of racing. As a bit of a cross over to Match Racing, Appendix Q for umpired fleet racing will be in place. Dave Perry will be one of the umpires and will coach teams between races and at the end of the day. Other umpires include Timmy Larr and Bill Simon .There will be a famous Oakcliff BBQ featuring fresh clams from Oyster Bay.

Sunday will see an increase in intensity as the teams have experience in the boats and everyone moves into match racing. A round robin is scheduled with a full team of umpires. Program Director Bill Simon explains, “at Oakcliff we are a firm believer in the Clinegatta format where there is a clinic before a regatta. We see huge performance improvements in teams at all levels. “ He adds “It will be interesting to see which of the teams improves the most over the event and which takes away the prizes. Improving their skill and returning to their host club better racers may be reward enough. “

Teams competing this year are:

Long Beach YC Women’s Team

Oakcliff Sailing

Webb Sailing

McGill Sailing

Hudson River Sailing

Team Shibezey

Heinzemann Team

Better Chips Add Flavor to 4 Ring Circus at Oakcliff

College High Performance Clinic

The Better Chip Match Race is underway with a light northerly. Each boat in this Grade 3 match race is carrying a junior sailor onboard as an observer letting the young sailors gain invaluable insight into the strategy of world-class match racers. Of note Team US-One with Taylor Canfield is racing onboard with David Storrs.

The observers are not the only young people on site this weekend. Twenty-four of the top collegiate racers are participating in a joint Oakcliff / US Sailing College High Performance Clinic. These sailors chosen in a very competitive application process are getting to sail three Olympic Classes the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17s.   Technical Director Grant ‘Fuzz’ Spanake, USCG Brian Swingly, Head Coach Leandro Spina are amongst the coaches.

The HP College Clinic is also teaching some basic but handy skills such as rigging, sail-making and outboard engine troubleshooting.

Further afield Temptation Oakcliff the Ker 50 and Oakcliff Racing the Class 40 are competing in the Annapolis to Newport Race expected to finish on Monday.   The Class 40 was the first in their class to exit the Chesapeake.   Between these two boats there are 6 Saplings and 6 graduates competing. Temptation Sponsor, Art Santry is hoping for his ‘dream race’ which in this particular boat includes as much upwind work as possible.   The rest of the fleet may not be as happy with the heavy head-winds forecasted.

Finally the Spring Classic Series will wrap up today with the Rhodes designed Caper in the lead the race is for second place with 5 boats in contention including Mystic Seaport’s flagship schooner Brilliant.

All will come together this evening with a joint celebration and prize giving. Better Chips will of course be a part of the menu.   Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley admits to doing quite a bit of taste testing and has decided the Spinach and Kale is her favorite flavor. She added “We are happy to have The Better Chip supporting Oakcliff. Their products are non GMO, Organic and Gluten-Free, about as green and healthy as a snack food can get.”

Sunsail Series to be Sailed at Oakcliff


Wednesday sailing at Oakcliff will now be known as the Sunsail Series. Beginning May 6 every Oakcliff Supporter who races at least 5 Wednesdays will receive a 5% discount on a Sunsail charter over the winter. If they form and sail as a team 5 times they receive an additional 5% when they charter as a group. Oakcliff is also a US Sailing Team Sperry Training Center and if supporters are members of US Sailing they can pile up an additional 5% discount.

Brittany Weatherby, Marketing Manager for Sunsail says “We are looking forward to working together with Oakcliff to grow their already successful summer racing program. It is great to see so many adults working to improve their skills in this strong program. Seeing their hard work paying off while sailing through the Caribbean will be a great pleasure. This partnership embodies what Sunsail believes in for the future of sailing: people living their dreams and embracing new adventures at any age.”

The Sunsail series is sailed in Oakcliff’s Match 40s and Shields and run by Sagamore Yacht Club. Oakcliff provides real-time coaching during the fleet racing with prebriefs and debriefs at their America’s Cup style campus in Oyster Bay New York. Supporter can race their own boat in this fleet and qualify as well.   More information and registration is available at

“Racing, learning and cruising are not mutually exclusive and we are excited that Sunsail is supporting our efforts to continue to strengthen American Sailing,” explained Oakcliff’s Executive Director Dawn Riley.   She added, “what a bonus that while staff is servicing our 83 boats each winter our supporters can still be sailing… in the warmth!”

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For 40 years Sunsail has led the way in sailing adventures. From the first pioneering flotillas in Greece to today’s choice of the best and most exotic yachting destinations; beginners can now enjoy the world’s best cruising grounds by hiring a skipper from any Sunsail base. Sunsail strives to provide our customers with the most exciting experience at the greatest possible value. Sunsail brands include Sailing Vacations by Independent Charter and Flotillas, Sailing Schools, Events and Yacht Ownership. Sunsail operates in 26 exotic and diverse destinations throughout the globe on a fleet of over 800 yachts and catamarans.

Dave Perry Wins Ultra-Competitive Qualifier


April 14, 2015, Dave Perry with a team comprised of local sailor Jon Singsen, New York Times Correspondent Chris Museler, and Californians Doug McLean and Steve Natvig went undefeated in the first qualifier of the year: A difficult feat given the level of competition in this qualifier with half of the top 10 in the country competing.

In addition, several of the teams had top 25 skippers sailing as part of the crew this week and Peter Wickwire was previously ranked 30th in the world, before taking a short hiatus to be with his young family. Team Perry earned a spot at the U.S. Match Racing Championships that will be held at Oakcliff October 10-12, 2015.

Saturday saw heavy air racing with steady winds in the low twenties and gusts into the high twenties in the middle of the day requiring the RC to fly the no spinnaker flag for 5 flights. Sunday was the antithesis with light fluky winds. PRO Todd Field and a very talented team was able to get as much sailing as possible out of the conditions to complete the format.

OA Bill Simon, Dave Perry, Steve Natvig, Jon Singsen, Doug McLean, Chris Museler and PRO Todd Field

OA Bill Simon, Dave Perry, Steve Natvig, Jon Singsen, Doug McLean, Chris Museler and PRO Todd Field

Second place went to Canadian sailor Peter Wickwire sailing with regular crew Hamish and Ali Mathews, Jim Barnash and the oldest foredeck crew of the regatta Terry Shannon. Other than their losses to Dave Perry’s team their only other loss was to Doug Shannon.

The winner of the petit finals was David Storrs sailing with USone (2013 World Match Racing Champions) team members Rod Dawson tactician, Hayden Goodrick, Mal Parker and Ricky McGarvie.

New this year, the qualifier system has removed the geographical areas so any match racer can request an invitation to any of the 6 qualifiers still to be held at St. Francis YC (May 23-24) and (Sept. 5-6), CMRC (May 30-31), San Diego YC ( June 13-14), Annapolis YC (June 20-21) and Bayview YC (June 27-28). Female skippers can qualify for the USWMRC at most of these qualifiers. Details can be found at

Final Results
1. Dave Perry
2. Peter Wickwire
3. David Storrs
4. Chris Poole
5. David Niemann
6. Peter Holz
7. Doug Shannon
8. Steven Lopez