Young sailors take to Buzzards Bay at annual junior regatta

Jul 10, 2022

Slight breeze, blue skies, and bluer waters — ideal conditions for the more than 150 young sailors who took to Padanaram Harbor over the weekend for the annual New Bedford Junior Regatta.

The regatta, which is in its 27th year at the Elm Street yacht club, is open to young sailors up to age 18 from local clubs such as Dartmouth to as far away as Florida.

“It’s so cold,” 11-year-old Floridian Bobby Myhre said of the Padanaram water. “It’s soup.”

Waters were a bit choppy to kick off the first day of sailing on July 9, but that didn’t seem to faze the seafarers.

“It was really fun,” said eight-year-old Jamie Fallon of Falmouth.

His mother Karen added that her son also enjoyed making new friends on the water and bettering his sailing skills.

Conditions cleared up a bit for the second day of races on July 10, although that didn’t stop a few sailors from capsizing in the bay.

“That’s part of [sailing],” said event chair Jennifer Vescio.

Mariners raced in two types of boats: individual Optimist competitions and teams of two on the 420s. There were no entries for the single laser radials this year.

While there was one less class of boat, attendance for the regatta rebounded a bit following last year’s drop in numbers. According to Vescio, this year saw 219 racers compete.

“Things are getting back to normal,” she said.

Along with some returning sailors, there were quite a few rookies from the New Bedford Yacht Club.

Thirteen-year-old Magnolia Pin made her regatta debut on a 420 crew. She said while the water was a bit rocky, she still managed to have fun and plans to compete again in 2023.

Hoyt Hottel, 12, also enjoyed his first competitive sail through Padanaram — particularly dealing with the rocking waves.

“It’s just about trying to hit them at a 45-degree angle,” he said. “If you do that, you can just kind of roll along.”

Hottel placed eighth among the 15 racers in his Optimist grouping, a much higher position than he was expecting for his first time.

“I think I did pretty well,” he said with a smile.

Placing first in the Optimist Green group was yacht club sailor Ryan Nyweide. Myhre placed third.

After a total of nine races, Jonnie Ciffolillo and Drew Mastovsky of the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion took first place in the 420 races with 15 points. New Bedford Yacht Club sailors Peter Herlihy and Will Fairfax took fourth place in their boat “Lil Yachty 2.0.”

Opti coach, 20-year-old Hadley Walsh, had nothing but praise for the sailors.

“They killed it,” she said. “They were so easy to teach.”