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Lee Trophy at Seawanhaka Corinthian YC

Dear Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation,

Gaining experience in team racing has been on my radar for a long time. When the opportunity presented itself to compete in Oyster Bay, New York in the Lee Trophy Regatta at Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club I was elated. I too, however, was a bit reluctant as I wasn't sure about the logistics of getting out there and wether or not I could justify the costs to partake in such a regatta. The funding that NHSF granted me not only defrayed some of the cost of the regatta, but it allowed me to get out of my Southern California shell and expand my competitive sailing horizons. Thank You NHSF!

My job was working pit on my brother, Brian Bissell's, boat. For the months preceding our departure, my brother and I and a rotating crew of local sailors, practiced maneuvers and likely scenarios weekly in a Gov Cup boat until we were confident with our sets, jibes, and takedowns.

I had never sailed a Sonar before so I planned to get there a day early to learn the boat and get some practice in before the main event. Upon arriving at SCYC on Friday, the only breeze felt in the area was from our team mini-van pulling into the parking lot. We waited for the wind to fill in, but it never did. Deflated in our inability to sail, we took the opportunity to see the area, and to get to know other teams in the regatta. Their were 8 teams total stretching from California to Great Britain with the vast majority being from the East Coast.

Racing on Saturday was great. We experienced highly competitive and intense racing on a warm, windy, and picturesque day on Oyster Bay. We quickly got through our first round robin and continued to start the second. The race committee called the races a bit early so as to give everyone time to prepare for the reception dinner...a decision that they (and we) would regret come Sunday.

The next morning we were tied for second place and very much in the running for first place. One problem: no wind, temperatures in the forties, and rain. We started sailing after a couple hours of drifting but only got a few races off before the Race Committee called the event. The results were taken from the round robin that had completed the previous day leaving us in second place, third after a tie break technicality.

All in all, the setting was beautiful, the hosts gracious, the competitors delightful, and the team cohesive. This experience was afforded to me by the generosity of the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation. I look forward to the next regatta where we will surely take home the gold.

Thanks again and Cheers!

Sincerely,
Tom Bissell