Sailing, Fun, & Friendship by Heather Grosso & Brent Bomkamp
This May, the WaterFront Center was pleased to host the 2017 Patent Cup Regatta. Since 1989, patent lawyers from around the globe have been convening at various locations to test their skills on the race course, under the motto of “Sailing, Fun, and Friendship”. Though previous venues included such exotic countries as South Africa and Croatia, this year the organizers chose to take advantage of our new fleet of Sonars here in Oyster Bay. The 57 competitors represented numerous countries, including France, Germany, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Competition was fierce, and the high skill level exhibited by the sailors lead to some close racing. Some of the teams began raised the flags of their home countries up the backstays. The official PRO for the regatta Alicia Martorella, was accompanied by Brent Bomkamp and Heather Grosso as Race Committee.
After the sailors spent the first morning familiarizing themselves with the boats and West Harbor, two races were sailed during the afternoon of Day 1, with northeast winds ranging from three to six knots. Conditions proved challenging, though certainly sailable, for Day 2 with minimal oscillating breeze and occasional eight knot puffs. The third and final day started on a bright note, with a fresh northerly stoking optimism amongst the crews. After a few solid races the wind slowly decreased to zero, and racing was called off in favor of local beer and food on shore. Despite the unpredictable winds, competitors had a brilliant time and gave a rousing applause to the efforts of the race committee at the event’s conclusion.
The regatta not only proved thrilling for the racers, but educational for the WFC staff. Given the wide range of cultures and sailing styles represented by the competitors, we learned much about sailing around the world. Alan Bournot, an avid offshore racer and crew in the first Whitbread race, spent considerable time with Alicia in the committee boat and spoke of his time racing in France and around the world’s oceans. The Brazilian boat, the overall winners, displayed clinical execution in the light and variable breezes, demonstrating the knowledge they gained in the conditions common to their home port of Rio de Janeiro. It was incredible to see such a talented and diverse group of sailors competing on West Harbor, especially under the banner of the WaterFront Center.