Mattapoisett sailor takes first place in junior regatta Optimist races

Jul 8, 2018

When Jonnie Ciffolillo first climbed into a sailboat at the age of seven, he didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Things are quite different now, however.

Ciffolillo,13, a Mattapoisett resident and a member of the Beverly Yacht Club, took home the top overall finish in the Optimist races of the New Bedford Junior Regatta, held from July 7-8 in Dartmouth. He finished with 7 points overall, with half the six Optimist fleet races in first place. He only fell out of the top three in the third race with a sixth place finish, which he used as his throwout race.

“It was definitely hard getting off the line and staying ahead,” Ciffolillo said after being presented with a trophy for his first place overall finish.

He was introduced to the sport by his father, who himself is an avid sailor. But it was not something that came naturally to Ciffolillo.

“I did not like it at first, I thought it was dumb, but then I got a feel for racing and being able to do what I want to do with it,” he said.

He’s been at it ever since. He’s competed in several junior regattas in the past. At last year’s junior regatta, held at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, he finished second place in the Optimist fleet with 60 points.

The annual regatta was hosted by the New Bedford Yacht Club this year in the waters of Padanaram Harbor. Its location is swapped each year with the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion.

This year’s regatta attracted more sailors than in recent memory, according to Jennifer Vescio, co-chair of the event. A total of 169 boats and more than 230 sailors competed.

Rounding out the top three in the Optimist races was Pearse Dowd of the Corinthian Yacht Club with 11 points in second and Mathieu Graham in third place with 13 points.

In other results, the new O’pen Bic class included Lukas Hirschmann with a first place win with 19 points. He only fell out of the top three in two of the 12 races, which he used as throwouts. Jared Quann and Breckenridge Marshall III tied for second and third place with 20 points. All are from the New Bedford Yacht Club.

In the 420 races, Thibault Antonietti and Lillian Vittone of the Nantucket Yacht Club finished in first place with 37 points. Quissett Yacht Club members Timothy First and Max Steinert came in second with 42 points, and William Bedford and Lydia Brown from the Pleon Yacht Club came in third place with 43 points.

In Lasers, Aili Moffet from the Conanicut Yacht Club finished in first place with 13 points, and Colin McCabe, also of the Conanicut Yacht Club, tied in total points and came in second. Sam Reilly of the Wianno Yacht Club finished in third with 22 points.

In the Optimist Green fleet, Chase Van Ogtrop came in first place with 15 points, Wyatt Silverman was in second place with 26 points, and Barbara Taylor was in third place with 27 points.