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by Joe Berkeley

The Fat Boys Regatta was won by the most slender of margins. Steve Kirkpatrick beat Peter Shope by one skinny point to take home the most prestigious trophy in all of sport.

After sailing, at the award ceremony at the International Yacht and Athletic Club, Mark Bear reflected upon the origins of the Fat Boys Regatta. It should be noted that Mark Bear is a highly accomplished individual. Not only has he finished upon the podium at the Laser Master Worlds, he is also a professor at MIT and one of the authors of the textbook, Neuroscience, Exploring the Brain, currently on sale on for $107.51. But of all of Mark Bear’s extraordinary accomplishments, inventing the Fat Boys regatta is the one for which he is most admired by the members of Laser Fleet 413.

The inspiration for Mr. Bear’s opus came as a brainstorm following yet another frustrating RIISA regatta in Barrington, Rhode Island in June. The start was early in the day, before the sea breeze filled and the event was a light air flail-a-thon until the afternoon when it was time to sail to shore. That’s when the sea breeze would fill, after the racing was over.

Tired of being beaten by sailors who would be well suited to serving as jockeys aboard racehorses or coxswains in crew shells, the big and tall Mr. Bear, who named one of his Lasers “Fat Bastard” and the other “Pork Chop,” took matters into his own hands. Along with long-time friend John Bentley, Bear invented the Fat Boys regatta where sailors would compete for one day during the best breeze of the day. Rather than flop around on the water, the competitors waited on shore for the sea breeze to fill then went out and raced until the sunset. After the inaugural Fat Boys regatta, which regatta co-creator Mark Bear won, there was a very large party.

Those who attended the party would call the event spirited. Those who lived in the vicinity called the authorities. All of the competitors survived the first Fat Boys regatta party, but at least one marriage did not. These things happen. The institution of marriage is a mystery and it may well be that if one enthusiastic party can break it, well, it was going to break anyway.

The Fat Boys Trophy is remarkable for its beauty as well as its desirability. Steve Kirkpatrick was duly honored. He described the key to victory as a “no holds barred, full risk, not conservative at all” approach to the regatta. In the second race of the day, Kirkpatrick observed the breeze going right, so he made it his business to win the boat at the start, and “snuck through a hole on the starting line that was so small it was scary. But I made it and shot off the line.” His advice for those in the middle of the fleet was to keep you bow pointing toward the mark and always sail in pressure. Easy to say, hard to do.

Kirkpatrick concluded his remarks with a note that frostbiting in fleet 413 starts next weekend. The entire season costs something along the lines of $140, which Steve said is, “the best value in sailing.” Throw in an Intensity sail and you have an enviable program for all of $250. Don’t have a boat? Steve believes you can find a nice, gently used Laser for around $2800 on craigslist.

One point behind Steve Kirkpatrick was Peter Shope in second, Ed Adams was third, Dan Neri was fourth, and Christine Neville was fifth. There was some controversy at the regatta. The Fat Boys Runner Up Trophy, known as “The First Loser” has gone missing. The trophy is just as desirable as the winner’s trophy, and is engraved with some of the top names in sailing, including Paul Elvstrom, Dennis Conner, Paul Cayard.

If you know where the trophy is, please post its location in the notes section below. All of the competitors were grateful to have Moose McClintock as RC, assisted by his sister. Moose runs perfect races and everyone was honored to be on his racecourse.