Community, competition highlights Buzzards Bay Regatta

Aug 3, 2018

With more entries than ever before, this year's Buzzard's Bay Regatta is expanding -- and was held for the first time jointly between the Beverly and New Bedford Yacht Clubs in Dartmouth and Marion, respectively, from August 3-5.

Splitting the event between the two clubs gives each fleet a little more breathing room, and allows a bigger number of sailors to participate. The New Bedford Yacht Club hosted the Laser Masters, Sonars, Marshall 15s, 505s, Kiteboards, Etchells, and F18 classes.

Donny Watson, the NBYC’s Commodore, said that there were about 120 sailors competing out of Padanaram.

“There’s racing all along the bay today,” he said.

Ben Setareh and Eric Witty were racing an F18, but had never sailed together before.

“My wife and I are on a world cruise in a 47 foot catamaran,” said Witty, who said that he came to Dartmouth specifically to compete.

“He wants to get down and dirty in a small boat,” Setareh laughed. They were looking forward to the race, but noted that conditions were a little heavy, as winds were expected to top 20 miles an hour.

Across the causeway, the Laser Masters were getting ready to sail. The Masters are an older group of sailors, many of whom have been sailing together since the Laser boat was invented in the early 1970s.

Lynne Shore, of Newport, Rhode Island, made history when she and Allison Jolly won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in the 470 class — the first year that women were allowed to compete. She’s been sailing since she was 7, and loves Lasers for the physicality and speed of the boat.

“This is a great generation,” she said of her fellow Masters. “This is the first generation that really pushed Lasers, and they’re the first group of real Laser sailors.”

Shore loves sailing with this group, and is missing a wedding to be at the regatta.

“The depth in this class is phenomenal,” she said. “I just hang on by my toenails to keep up with them.”

Mark Bear, of Dartmouth, said, “It’s not a big fleet, but it’s an extremely high quality fleet.” He noted that many of the Laser Masters at the Buzzards Bay Regatta are training for the nationals, which will happen in a few weeks, before the world championship in Ireland in September.

“The beauty of the master’s only fleet is we’re all a little bit long in the tooth,” said Peter Shope, who won the Laser Master World Championship in 2015.

“I like sailing by myself because I find it peaceful, and I never get angry at any point, even when things don’t go right,” Shope said. “I also like being the master of my own destiny.”

Click here for results of the regatta.