College Teams Take Over Half of a Full Field; Trimmer Taylor Tops Fleet

College Teams Take Over Half of a Full Field; Trimmer Taylor Tops Fleet

Oakcliff once again had a full, eight team lineup for today’s Grade 5. Half of the teams came from local colleges and went up against four strong local teams. Kings Point sent two, Drexel University one and Roberto Stevens brought members of the Fordham Sailing Team.  Almost all were new to match racing. With college sailing competition cancelled for the fall semester, Oakcliff is proud to be providing valuable opportunities for college sailors to get out on the water to continue their careers and expand their skill sets.

The podium was filled with Alexe Taylor on top,  Roberto Stevens in second place and Ward Brooks in third. Full results here:

Regular Oakcliff match racer Doug Shannon was in attendance this weekend, but rather than helm he crewed while his regular trimmer, Alexe Taylor, took her turn at the wheel. Taylor coaches sailing at Hudson River Community Sailing and brought Paloma Manon as part of her team. Manon sails at Hudson River and was an Oakcliff Inshore Acorn earlier this summer where she skippered a Grade 4. 

“It was pretty much the same team but with switched-up roles,” said Doug Shannon. “We were happy we could include Paloma. We gave her a lot of responsibility and put a lot of pressure on her but she improved a lot over the course of the day.”

For second place helmsman Roberto Stevens, this regatta was his first time behind the wheel of an Oakcliff boat. He was a member of a crew that sailed Oakcliff’s Grade 3 event in June but was finally able to bring a team of his own. 

“As a Fordham graduate, I brought out a couple of the Fordham sailing team members for this regatta,” said Stevens. “We worked together well and are hoping to do the October Grade 5 and apply for the Halloween regatta. We’re looking for every opportunity to get on the water during the pandemic, so we appreciate Oakcliff making these regattas possible.”

Oakcliff is the only organization hosting graded match race regattas during the coronavirus pandemic (using their COVID Safe Boating protocol) One of the reasons Oakcliff has been able to do so is because they have spent years creating pathways for local sailors to enter the match racing scene. Now, with travel restrictions barring many match racers from visiting Oakcliff, the local community has been key to keeping high-level match racing alive.

To enhance the training value of this Grade 5, Oakcliff hosted match racing drills on Saturday allowing participants to practice their moves before Sunday’s. The response from the competitors was tremendous with six of the eight teams taking advantage of the extra time on the water. This format will become a permanent change:  all Grade 5 events will have optional Saturday drills and Sunday racing. 

Oakcliff Sailing is a youth and adult training center for athletes who have progressed beyond traditional coaching methods and want to take the next step in their career. Located in Oyster Bay, New York they offer trainees a proving ground to develop their skill set and professional network in the three big areas of competitive sailing: the America’s Cup, the Olympics, and The Ocean Race. Oakcliff now offers the Student Sapling program, where high school students can take classes while training full time in high performance boats through Oakcliff’s partnership with US Performance Academy. Oakcliff’s goal is to Build American Leaders Through Sailing.