JULY 24, 2021, Essex Rum Challenge XXV1


Regatta Chair, Joe Standard reports on the XXV1 Rum Challenge Regatta – Saturday, July 24

This was the Big Event to celebrate our club’s heritage as a premier sailing club and to state its commitment to contributing to a vibrant sailing scene on the sound and on the River.

14 EYC member boats participated - and a record total of 45 boats entered! By the time the Starting gun fired, seven classes of boats were ready to charge the starting line.

Wind or no wind – that was the question of the day.  43 ever optimistic skippers/boats showed up, and began to circle the committee boat, Sandy Seidman’s, 40 ft. Intrepid “T/T Indulgence”. Greg Gilmartin and his Mudhead crew were busy designing an unconventional course that successfully addressed the issues presented by a SE wind that was on its way to building to 15 knots, delighting the entire fleet.

The 5-minute gun went off at 1200, on schedule, commencing a rolling start for the PHRF fleet that would see 3 classes of non-spinnaker, one class of double-handed, 2 classes of spinnaker, and one multihull class go off over a 35-minute period - talk about flirting with mayhem!

Many skippers were in pursuit of a trophy but all 215 sailors were in pursuit of a good time with family and friends. The winds were strong enough for the spinnaker classes, which were doing a Windward – Leeward course, to do a second race. Talk about living the dream! Clear skies, cool, breezy weather - beauty in boats and scenery everywhere. As planned, many boats from the different classes hit the finish line at roughly the same time, which caused some excitement and some consternation.

By 1500, most of the boats began to make their way home so the crew could prepare for the post-race awards ceremony, and a clink and tip of the glass with their friends and competitors to start the celebration.


Jim Biggart and crew had done a masterful organizational job preparing for the party, and it showed. The club was beautifully prepared, and Chef’s food was delicious. Gosling’s Dark and Stormies were as expected, a hit. All the details of ticketing for different access levels and skipper bags were perfect. Renny Schoonmaker’s choice of trophies was very tasteful and appreciated by the crews. Regatta Chair Joe Standart as the MC kept the crowd smiling and clapping.

Commodore McKinnon with Standart handed out a boatload of trophies including the Tom Lentini Memorial trophy, for fastest non- spinnaker boat, which went to David Kelly on Mast Transit ll.  The Essex Rum Challenge Club Trophy, which is awarded to the club who has three member boats with the fastest times was captured for EYC through the winning efforts of Bill Gunther, Carter Gowrie, and Larry Hennessey.
Huge thanks to party chair, Jim Biggart, Jack Stillwaggon, Volunteer coordinator Judy Schoonmaker, apparel connection Ned Baker, RC Chair Frank Flores, Bill Gunther, the keeper of the trophies Renny Schoonmaker and the unstoppable race chair Mary-Lawrence Bickford without whom we would still be trying to find the first mark.

Complete Results