October 9, 2023 – The goal of the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta presented by ShopRite of Carteret is to give a unique keelboat experience to college sailors from around the world. From dinghy sailors – who may have never stepped on anything but a 420 – to experienced offshore teams with their own boats, the IOR is a rare opportunity to compete in a big boat event with 32 other schools on the water simultaneously. Co-hosted by Storm Trysail Club and Larchmont Yacht Club, volunteers offer up their time and boats to inspire and motivate these sailors to seek out more racing opportunities outside of college. This event is free of charge to all participants.
This year’s edition treated the sailors to challenging big-breeze conditions. Saturday started very wet with no wind, forcing the new PRO and recently retired Tufts sailing coach, Ken Legler to issue a postponement. Eventually, the rain subsided, allowing the Race Committee to get off one race for all the classes before a squall forced all teams to get ashore in the afternoon.
“The view from the bridge of the Satan’s Toe (LYC’s RC boat) allowed me to see how the wild conditions challenged every team. It was exciting to watch to say the least!” said Legler.
After a party under the protection of a tent at Larchmont Yacht Club, the rain eventually passed, leaving a cool, crisp, and sunny Sunday with a 15-20 knot westerly, permitting the 36 boats were divided into 6 classes to get in three more races.
“Many of the sailors tell me that this is the event they look most forward to all season and how they sincerely appreciate the owners who share their boats with us,” said co-chair Ann Myer. A majority of the boats are donated with service academies sending multiple teams competing in their own boats. This year, Kings Point donated two boats to allow more schools to attend.
The offshore sailing team from the US Naval Academy brought two of their training boats and had the biggest success in their respective classes. The crew on the J/42 Atalanta, skippered by Midshipman Renee Bonner, dominated the Medium PHRF Class with all bullets, and the other crew on the J/44 Maxine, skippered Midshipman Javier Jimenez Kane, finished in 2nd in PHRF Large one point behind another experienced offshore team, Kings Point’s. Midshipman Justin Nixon from KP led Comet the win in their J/44.
Honoring the most successful team in points overall, The Paul Hoffman Trophy went to the US Naval Academy – but trophies are not what motivates many of these sailors, it is the chance to meet other sailors at an event like this. As Bonner puts it: “This is one of my favorite regattas of the fall season because it allows so many colleges to interact with one another while competing at a high level and challenging us all to adapt to different types of boats in new venues.”
The Wisconsin Badgers repeated their 2022 win in the J/109 class and also took home the Puff Trophy in honor of former Commodore Howard McMichael, for the runner up in the overall scoring of the regatta.
Nicole Giuliani, a senior on the Wisconsin Sailing Team said they look forward to this regatta every year “because love meeting offshore sailors from all over and having a great time on the water. The competition is always great and we always leave having learned something new.”
In the J/105 class, fives teams duked it out around the racecourse with Princeton finishing on top of the podium. When asked what they attributed their win to, skipper Jasper Waldman said: “Two-thirds of the team had never raced a sailboat before arriving at Princeton but we’ve been able to foster a strong team culture centered around communication. This served us tremendously this past weekend, keeping morale high in the rain, bouncing back from breakages, and allowing me to focus on driving the boat fast.”
The IOR attracts teams not just from the US but worldwide. They have had teams from as far away as France in the past. This year, three Canadian schools joined the fleet, Polytechnique from Montreal returned after a few years away, Dalhousie from Nova Scotia was a new team to the IOR, and Queen’s University from Kingston also returned. Queen’s even won their class in a J/100.
“Being from Canada, there are not enough schools to hold an event like this,” said Queen’s team member Thomas Elia. “We keep coming back because not only does Storm Try Sail hold a great event, but because we face a large competitive fleet and have a great time!”
The smiles on land, despite the challenging conditions, were a testament to the excitement the sport affords those lucky enough to take part. Jim Holland, the other co-chair commented, “I am always reminded with the arrival of these collegiate teams of their intensity and desire to learn and succeed on the water. I look forward to seeing them on starting lines in the future for years to come.”
The Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta is further supported by ShopRite of Carteret, Harken Derm, Carlsberg, Helly Hansen, McMichael Yachts Yards and Brokers, UK Sailmakers Northeast, Dimension-Polyant, Gifted of Larchmont, and J Boats.
For the full results, please visit our YachtScoring page: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=16268
All photos are also online at https://stormtrysail.org/ior-2023-photos/
If your school is interested in 2024, please fill out an interest form on our website: stormtrysail.org/ior-2024-registration