By Joe Berkeley
Peter Shope’s prior preparation, practice, and perseverance led to a perfect performance on Sunday. In a sporty breeze that saw puffs of 30 knots, Peter Shope, the reigning US Master’s National Champion, won all six races.
Equally gracious in victory and defeat, Shope reflected upon how he strives to enjoy the entire process of competing in Lasers: practicing on the water, training in the gym, racing, and hanging out with competitors after sailing. He said, “I think I was sailing fast today. I was feeling very strong, so I could put the bow down. You have to hike hard to do that. I was always trying to be the boat in the most wind.”
And there was plenty of wind. Shope said, “It was a beautiful day. If it had been any colder or any windier it would’ve been a problem, but the conditions were great.” Good thing. Shope, Dan Neri, Mark Bear and a host of other fleet 413 sailors are preparing to attend the Laser Master’s Midwinter regattas in Florida the second week of February.
Fleet 413 spark plug Scott Pakenham-Beaker is driving a trailer load of boats to Florida and has one spot left. Pakenham-Beaker provides valet service with boat delivered to regatta site, ready to go. All you have to do is fly to Florida and bring your hiking pants. The price for such service? Scott’s not making anything on the deal but he’s doing his best to not lose money either. Reach him at Beaker27@aol.com
Ted Hood, a partner and boat broker for Wellington Yachts, finished the day in second place overall and it was his kind of weather. Ted is quite speedy on reaches in big breeze, and he does a great job of getting aft and hiking hard off a taut strap with straight legs.
The institution of marriage appears to agree with newlywed Peter Hopple as he finished third on the day, his best finish for a day since he joined Newport Frostbite Fleet. Regarding Peter’s performance, his child bride Joelene Hopple said, “I would like to take complete responsibility for it.”
Hopple, who is a builder by trade and the owner of capecoastalbuilders.com, said, “I’m not really a finesse guy so the conditions were good for me. I was fast off the line and tried to get as big a lead as possible upwind.”
The Race Committee had their work cut out for them. America’s Cup veteran and Fleet 413 RC, Moose McClintock estimated the breeze at 18-20 knots and noted there were moments when six to seven boats were capsized at the same time. “Good thing we didn’t do windward-leeward courses,” he said.
Nick Ewenson, an Institutional Sales Rep at LaserPerformance who was the skipper of the crash boat, said, “It looked really challenging. I’m happy we had a rescue boat. We had three spars break, and the rescue boat hung out next to people who flipped, including one guy who almost smashed into the rocks at Ida Lewis.”
David Gray enjoyed the competition and the camaraderie on shore afterward. The Middletown resident is a ship pilot in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Long Island Sound, and Alaska. One of his more interesting assignments was when he piloted a ship with no rudder carrying 80,000 tons of coal through the Plum Gut channel on Long Island Sound. He stood on the bridge of the coal ship and gave direction to a tug pulling the ship, a tractor tug aft of the ship, and another tug pushing the bow of the ship. Gray explained that the tractor tug can back and steer at the same time.
Gray commutes from land to the ships he pilots aboard a 55’ pilot boat designed by the legendary C. Raymond Hunt and Associates. The close-quarter maneuvering in Fleet 413 keep David sharp for job.
Frank Hennessy thought it was a fantastic day even though he lost his hat and glasses. Chris Bollengier of East Greenwich, Rhode Island went for an unexpected swim in the first race and soaked his gloves and hat. He said, “The best part of it is this fleet goes out almost always, no matter what.”
Karen Hanson did race committee duty then brought her two pals Molly and Keavy to the IYAC after sailing. The pair is a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix who greatly enjoy Domino’s pizza. All 24 of the competitors missed Bodie Adams and his human companion Ed. Both of them would have greatly enjoyed the conditions today.
Joe Berkeley is a freelance creative director who finished the day in 5th overall. His work is at joeberkeley.com