The Around Long Island Regatta

"Our Race"

The Around long Island Regatta

The Around Long Island Regatta, first run in 1977, covers a 205 nautical mile course combining Ocean, Harbor and Sound racing. Open to all sailboats 26 feet and larger, the race is designed for sailors at all levels, running is as any as 10 divisions, typically finishing in one to three days. This unique race is for everyone. There are crews of weekend cruisers, serious blue-water competitors, double-handers, Academy sailing teams, even a junior division. Racing yachtsmen earn points for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy and other IRC distance trophies.

Considered Long Island's premier sailing race, the Around Long Island Regatta takes place annually toward the end of July, beginning on Thursday afternoon with an exciting new start location in New York Harbor! The challenging harbor start sets the boats up heading for the Verrazano Narrows, and out into the Atlantic. The Ocean leg runs along Long Island's South shore, Long Beach, Jones Beach, Fire Island, the Hamptons and on to Montauk Point. Keeping Long Island to their lefts, some boats choose the shortest distance, due east, hugging the shore, while others opt for deeper water in search of better wind. After rounding Montauk Light, sailors must judge wind, tides, and current as they head northwest to Plum Gut, or The Race, where they hopefully have a favorable current flush them into the Long Island Sound, were things really get interesting. The final leg is all about reading wind shifts, and working the currents to your advantage, along the North Shore of Long Island or the Southern shore of Connecticut. The race ends in beautiful Hempstead Harbor at the end of the Glen Cove breakwater. The weekend concludes with the ALIR Awards Ceremony and Beach Party, hosted by the Sea Cliff Yacht Club on Sunday afternoon. Trophies are awarded for the first three finishers in each division, with many additional awards for various categories. There is always music, food and drink, a welcoming Yacht Club crowd, and great sailing tales...some of which might even be true.

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Future Captains of the Seas Develop Skills in the Around Long Island Regatta

By Jim Arnemann

Each year, the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD enter boats in the Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR) and similar races in order to train their midshipmen in the challenges of the sea. The USMMA has been participating in the ALIR for close to 30 years and the USNA is just slightly behind them with about 20 races.

These service academies prepare men and women to be leaders on the seas, perhaps some day commanding mighty naval ships and massive freighters. The skills they develop in long distance races like the ALIR give them on-the-water experiences with tides, currents, wind conditions and decision making. The ALIR has a 205-nautical mile course and its four distinctive legs (maneuvering though the traffic of New York Harbor, avoiding ferries, tugs, tankers and water taxis out through the Verrazano Narrows; ocean racing off the south shore of Long Island; rounding Montauk Point and the decisions of sailing through Plum Gut’s strong currents and finally; the strategies of sailing in Long Island Sound – sail on the Connecticut side, down the middle, or close to the North Shore of Long Island?) are an excellent opportunity to hone future mariner skills.

Rick Dominique, Director of Waterfront Varsity Programs at the USMMA, stated that sailing in the ALIR teaches skills such as “navigation, watch standing, weather observation and leadership…it’s great support of what the USMMA is training the midshipmen to do for a living.” He further stated one of the challenges the midshipmen enjoy is “facing the elements.”

Jahn Tihansky, Director of Varsity Offshore Sailing Team of the USNA, agreed. “The ALIR offers great training, in preparation for long distance sailing and decision making,” he said. “It’s a great challenge for the team.” Both academies enjoy the natural rivalry of racing against each other. Although not always on similar size and rated boats, who wins is very important for annual bragging rights. When asked if it’s important to beat Navy, Dominique stated, “We love it! Sailing is a social sport, and we enjoy the camaraderie.” Tihansky concurred. “It is absolutely a rivalry and we enjoy it very much. We want to beat them as much as they want to beat us!”

Navy Midshipmen sailing Zaraffa   Photo courtesy of the USNA

On the Tuesday evening before the race, both teams are invited to a pig roast and barbeque dinner at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club in Sea Cliff, NY, host for the ALIR. To up ante on the rivalry, the teams play an “unofficial” beach volleyball game after dinner. The winner receives The Sweet Sow Award, a trophy best described as “a pink pig on a pedestal.” Tihansky noted that Navy plans on getting their “vengeance this year.”

Tuesday’s night event is only one of a week full of ALIR events at Sea Cliff Yacht Club. Throughout ALIR Week, Navy Midshipmen enjoy the club’s hospitality. Sailors are hosted in the homes of members, and invite the SCYC junior sailors to sail on their boats. “The team is treated well wherever they visit, but the hospitality of the Sea Cliff Yacht Club is unparalleled,” said Tihansky. “They really roll out the red carpet.” Both teams are guests of the Club for the Sunday afternoon awards ceremony and beach party. “ALIR Week is always a highlight of the summer for the members of Sea Cliff Yacht Club,” said ALIR Co-Chairman Doug Wefer. Tuesday’s Academy Pig Roast and volleyball game really gets everyone excited for the actual race.”

Both schools are planning to enter two boats in this year’s ALIR. Navy will sail their Reichel-Pugh 66 Zaraffa and Ker 50 Wahoo. Skippering Zaraffa will be Midshipman Sean Caraher from Sayville, NY, and Wahoo will be skippered by Midshipman Matt McClelland from Atlanta, GA. Both skippers and boats are veterans of the ALIR. Returning sailors from the USNA include Maddie Arbogast (Sahaurita, AZ), Brett Eckert (Saugus, CA) and JP Post (Altus, AR), who were all aboard Hooligan last year. Caraher also sailed the race in 2017 aboard Wahoo. Coach Tihansky will accompany one boat and his Assistant Head Coach Pete Carrico will sail with the second boat, although the midshipmen make all the decisions and operate the boats.

The USMMA is entering their J/111 Black Diamond, skippered by Midshipman Neeko Helbich and A MAT 1180 Matador, skippered by Midshipman Cooper Siepert. Additional midshipmen returning for this year’s race are Alexander Mueller, Andrew Perry, Noah Bruner, Nick Becker, Alex Bonney, Tristan Boro, Easton Hazim, and Mitchell Weller.

“Having the Naval Academy and the Merchant Marine teams participate in the race is hallmark,” said ALIR Co-Chairman Jim Aikman. “Every year the bar is set high by them, creating excitement that spreads through the entire fleet. We are honored to have them sail the ALIR.”

Matador is one of two boats entered by the USMMA Midshipmen in this year’s Around Long Island Regatta. Photo courtesy of the USMMA

The 43rd Around Long Island is scheduled for July 25 – 27, once again starting in New York Harbor under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The Awards Ceremony and Beach Party will be on July 28 at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club. For more information, visit alir.org or YachtScoring.com. ■

Jim Arnemann is a Past Commodore of Sea Cliff Yacht Club.

Another successful ALIR is in the books.

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It was a long week but after many long days, the 42nd Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR) is complete.

The week's event started with the Middie BBQ and Volleyball Game. Special thanks go to Fred Fuchs for coordinating the evening and to everyone that setup, provided food and broke down the evening. It was a tremendous success complete with another USMMA volleyball victory to take home the "Sweet Sow Trophy".

Wednesday morning, Anthony & Tracy DiStefano's Island Time got loaded and set off with the Race Committee for Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, NJ. This was no small feat considering that less than 24 hours earlier Island Time was still on land. The team arrived successfully in NJ, unloaded and prepared for the Captain's Meeting. General Manager Charlie Walsh and Governor Keith Maler worked to hang banners while Shana Ciniski, Jana Bachner, Nanette Bass & Mary Ellen Wefer set up the ALIR Swag table. The Captains' Meeting went smoothly and the ladies "killed it" on the Swag table. Everyone from Sea Cliff helped make the evening a success for the sailors.

The ALIR fleet awoke on Thursday morning to a little wind from the WSW. The Race Committee mobilized and set off on the 9:30 AM launch to the Honorable William Wall signal boat. Island Time and crew made her way into position as the Pin Boat. Many Sea Cliff Yacht Club boats made their way to New York Harbor from Sea Cliff.  About 100 members and guests gathered on the Willie Wall to watch the start at 1100 hours. Fortunately, the start proceeded without a hitch. The 9 divisions all started cleanly and left the Race Committee behind as they reached toward the Verrazano Bridge. The Race Committee packed up and headed home to get ready for the boats to complete the course to Sea Cliff.

On Friday morning, Maggie Feinsilver & Governor Jim Aikman put the finish boat, Breathless,  on station ready to receive the finishers. At 1051 hours OakCliff Numbers completed the course in 22 hours and 51 minutes. From there, finish line and regatta desk crews rotated non-stop until the last boat, Fides, finished at 1050 hours on Sunday morning - 48 hours after OakCliff Numbers. Similarly, Club staff and Chef Nick’s crew worked around the clock to receive the finishing sailors. Many people served finish line and regatta desk watches. Thank you everyone that helped make our Club so warm and hospitable.

On Sunday, the Club transformed itself to host the Award Celebration and Beach Party. More than 300 people attended and as usual, Chef Nick, his crew and Charlie Walsh and the Club staff did an amazing job. Special thanks to Club Counsel  Don Kavanagh, Treasurer Alan Mitzner, Past Commodore Jim Arnemann and Tom Kaelin for manning the ticket desk while everyone else was enjoying the food and drinks. Further thanks to Shana Ciniski and team for working diligently to sell out the ALIR Swag. Lesley Haley sang the National Anthem and the awards were presented to bring the regatta to a conclusion.

Regatta Co-Chairmen Jim Aikman and PC Doug Wefer would like to thank an incredible committee of volunteers that work throughout the year to make the weekend a success. It is always a pleasure to work with you! Thank you, everyone!

Members did well in the hardware department too. Trophies were present to No No Nanette and crew (PC Harvey Bass, Chris Sager, Sami Maynard, William Ciniski, RC Steve Feinsilver and Lisa Duffy) was third in Div. 2 and winner of the two Sea Cliff awards the Geoffrey Baker Award and the Our Lady Trophy.

No No Nanette and Sails Exclusive (Eric Hamm & crew Jeff Vogel) were part of the Sea Cliff Plus Team that finished third. The third team member was Marie, not a Sea Cliff boat and thus the Plus in the name.

Around Long Island Regatta  

The 2018 Around Long Island Regatta, which began in NY Harbor on July 26, wraps up at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club with an awards ceremony on July 29. Oakcliff Numbers finishes first in 22 hours, 51 minutes, 57 seconds. This crushes last year's time of 35 hours, 3 minutes, 55 seconds set by the Naval Academy, Wahoo. Full Final Results Here:  

Around Long Island Regatta Announces
Move of Start to New York Harbor

 Sailboat Racing Spectacle Begins July 27 Near The Statue of Liberty 
For Immediate Release - With Lady Liberty in the background the 2017 Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR), sailboat race, begins July 27, 2017, at 2 P.M.

To make the start visible to more spectators, the Sea Cliff Yacht Club has for the first time in the 41 year history of this celebrated race moved to New York Harbor. It can now be viewed from both lower Manhattan and Jersey City.

Since its inception in 1977, the ALIR had started a few miles east of the entrance to New York Harbor, far from spectators' ability to see the start. Now the ALIR will have a starting location capable of welcoming spectators and giving the media unprecedented access to coverage. Regatta Chairmen Jim Aikman and Doug Wefer are extremely pleased about this new venue. "The start is such a great opportunity to show off the excitement of a race. In the past, we were so far offshore that no one knew where we were."

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