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Another Spectacular Event! Awesome! Great Regatta!

The Annual CJ Buckley Regatta , which was hosted by the Greenwich Bay Sailing Association and the East Greenwich Yacht Club at Goddard State Park was a great success!

This event, designated as the Club 420 Association National Junior Team Race Championship, is best described by John Vandemoer (Head Coach, Stanford University Sailing Team). "The CJ is what C420 and youth sailing is all about in this country: great fun, lots of learning and good friends."The CJ is reportedly one of the largest junior team race competitions in the world.

In all, there were a full complement of 36 teams, 108 boats, and 237 young sailors from across the US, the Virgin Islands, and as far away as Mexico, Turkey, and England. There were near perfect weather conditions with sunny skies and steady breezes. Two sailing circles allowed, on average, 180 separate races daily for 3 days. Round robin races , on the first two days, separated the teams into six fleets based on experience and performance.

The finals for the Gold Fleet came down to the reigning champs, the "Milton Academy Mustangs", and the "Christchurch Seahorses". The Christchurch School Team made up of Hector Guzman, Sally Wilmot, Thomas Walker, Jack Elkin, Andy Burns and Eric Demario went 22-1 to win the championship.

The second place went to the Milton Academy Team. That team consisted of Eli Burns, Kevin Gallagher, Henry Burns, Emily Grace, Peter Barron and Ginney Alex. Names of the winners will be engraved on the perpetual trophy, the beautiful silver bowl, which was presented by Mr. John Morgan, President of the Club 420 Association.

Winners were also recognized in the Silver, Bronze and the Red, White and Blue Fleets. The prestigious Sportsmanship Award was presented to the Jennys - the team of Marcus Adam, Marley Hillman, Whitney Kopp, Aidan Molesky, Emma Snead and Sunrae Sturmer. This team was voted by their peers for exemplifying the qualities of fair play, leadership and team spirit.

The top finisher of the 7 NBYA teams went to the North Kingston Skippers with Delaney Bamford, Marina Barzaghi, Aliza Gomez, Noah Simmons, Adeline Sutton and Eliza Wright sailing.

The CJ Buckley Regatta was started in 2003 in memory of CJ Buckley who was a talented sailor and just 17 when he passed away in 2002 after a valiant battle against brain cancer. His passion was team racing, which is fast paced, physically demanding and strategically ambitious. Each team tries to out maneuver and outwit their opponents in the game of chess on the water. CJ relished the excitement and challenge and he was a fierce competitor.

The regatta participants never met CJ, but they have heard his story and have been inspired by his courage, spirit and determination.The regatta is also about commitment and giving back. The event is run entirely by volunteers in a public park, with wide spread support from the sailing community. Over 75 dedicated individuals, including many of CJ's former team members and coaches return, year after year, to lend support on land and on the water, to reconnoiter, and to celebrate his love of the sport. They also conduct an evening panel discussion for aspiring sailors with college program directors.

This year, there were participants from Dartmouth, Penn, Fordham, Stanford and Johnson and Wales.The regatta could not happen without the commitment and enormous efforts of the two Assad brothers who have run this event since the onset. Justin, Chief Race Officer and Kyle, Chief Technical Officer, work tirelessly to ensure its success and growth. Besides attending to countless e-mails and coordinating endless details, they recruit experienced coaches, umpires and race committee members and somehow amass enough boats. They run a staggering number of races over 3 days, provide almost instantaneous electronic analyses of results, and resolve protests. In short, they orchestrate and accomplish a Herculean feat.

Special thanks must also be made to Olga Goretoy (from GBSA) and Matt Jarbeau (from EGYC) for going above and beyond, largely behind the scenes, to provide equipment and to engineer parking and slip assignments for all the coach boats.

Leading the army of supporters on land are the families who do whatever it takes to make the regatta run smoothly. The original crew (Assads, Baeders, Langellas, Millards, Murthas) and the more recent additions (Coughlins, Elsons, Wehrs), attend numerous planning meetings, help secure power boats, man the Carousel and auxiliary trailer, and direct the launch of sailboats from the beach. They solicit sponsors and provide every participant with a special event t-shirt and team photo. They lug water, supervise meals, run the grill, bake over 500 brownies, and make over 325 sandwiches a day for the famous "Flying Lunches".

The volunteer camaraderie is infectious. This year, the group included long time helpers, Gabe and Alex, staff members from Joe Andruzzi Foundation and Children's Hospital Cardiac Clinic, new parents and friends, and a current CJ Scholarship recipient from Community Boating Center, Providence.

This year was unique in that Gary Glassman, CEO of Providence Pictures and award winning documentary film maker, made a commitment to create a video of the CJ Regatta using GOPRO cameras. Twelve cameras were gifted to the Moses Brown School and approved for our use by Mr. Dean Woodman, the father of the GOPRO founder and CEO. Production chief, Ben Sweeney, and his crew of students from Moses Brown School and Providence College, were on site from start to finish. In addition, Mr. Fahrman, photographer and father of a participant from Portland,ME, and our own Karen Murtha took candids for the website.

We thank our hosts, GBSA and EGYC, and all our benefactors who help support the scholarship fund. Numerous recipients have sailed at the high school and college levels and many have become instructors, coaches, and directors of sailing programs, including our own Olga Goretoy.