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Local crews lead the way at Junior Olympic regatta

By David Rattigan
Globe Correspondent / August 19, 2012
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Skipper Thomas Walden and crew member William Hundahl of the Pleon Yacht Club in Marblehead took first place by winning four of six races in the 50-boat C420 class at the Massachusetts Bay Junior Olympic Sailing Festival, held Monday and Tuesday in Gloucester.

Matthew Safford of the Pleon club was the winner in the 16-boat Laser Radial class. Nicholas Mehlman and Antonia Rerisi of the Manchester Sailing Association captured the  22-boat C420 Green division, for newer sailors of any age.

Also taking top honors were Jed Bell (Hingham Yacht Club), in the 30-boat Optimist Blue (ages 11-12) division; Rachel Foster (Pleon Yacht Club) in the 14-boat Optimist Red (ages 13-15) division; Emma Rose Safford (Rockport’s Sandy Bay Yacht Club) in the 10-boat Optimist White (10 or younger) division; and Zoe Ting (Sandy Bay Yacht Club) in the 28-boat Optimist Green division.

Environmental preservation was a theme of the event, and C420 skipper Peter Remsen received the Green Regatta Award for embodying the spirit of protecting the marine environment.

The Sportsmanship Award went to Optimist Green skipper Coleman Nicholson, a member of the Ipswich Junior Sailing program, who turned around during a race to aid William Robson (Annisquam Yacht Club), who was struggling after losing his hand bailer. Robson nominated Nicholson for the award.

To event volunteer Winand van Eeghen, it was reminiscent of an incident during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, when Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux pulled out of his race to rescue two Singapore sailors whose boat had capsized in the rough seas. “Lemieux waited until a rescue boat came along to continue his race,” van Eeghen wrote via e-mail. “Although he would finish 22d in the race, the International Yacht Racing Union voted to award Lemieux second place in the event.

“Here’s the Olympic spirit in Seoul on Ipswich Bay! Gives you a little faith in humanity during these cynical times, eh?”

David Rattigan

David Rattigan can be reached at DRattigan.globe@gmail.com.

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