Tom Tys (Surprise) and John Fisher Win Windy Senior Regatta


The wind was good, and so were the team of Tom Tys and his nimble crewman, John Fisher, taking the 2020 Senior Regatta overall trophy ahead of a scrappy Tiff Ford, sailing solo on his Flying Scot, and a savvy Dr. Roy Cooley, navigating his tiny RS Aero over, under, around and through the flocks of eager Sunfish.

The wind was a little slack early on Saturday, but by race time things had picked up to a healthy 6-to-8 mph from the southwest, setting up perfect conditions for the big sail and light hull of Tom’s veteran green Thistle, Shamrock. Tiff Ford led the pack to the upwind mark at Buoy 6, in the up-and back race 1, but then had to endure Tom’s and Frank Sczerzenie’s spinnaker-equipped boats, and Roy Cooley’s slick Aero 7 wafting past him on the downwind run. Peter McIlroy was first Sunfish, beating Chips Arend’s MC Scow on handicap.

Race 2 was to 6, 7, and then back to 5A, and Tom Tys scampered away from the start, with Tiff Ford in luke-warm pursuit. Tom and John had an issue rounding buoy 7 after the reach, giving Ford some hope of beating the Thistle on handicap, but after the calculators cooled, Tys took the win by 6 seconds over Ford, with Roy Cooley in third and Frank Sczerzenie fourth. Rising star Rebecca Bellville took the top Sunfish placing, beating Sunfish legends Peter and Doug McIlroy by a substantial margin. Her Dad, Jon, livened things up by sailing his beautiful Flying Dutchman solo, under main only, but its astronomical handicap gave Rebecca bragging rights at the dinner table.

Sunday saw more wind, up into double digits, but Tom Tys' vise grip on the field stayed as strong as ever. After a late start due to a committee boat mixup, Tiff Ford kept Tom honest in the to-8-and-back Race 1, but after handicap Tys took yet another win, just 20 seconds ahead. Rebecca Belleville kicked Sunfish butt, taking a masterful third, again giving previous Sunfish champions something to think about for the future.

Guess who won Race 2? Tiff Ford managed to beat Mr Commodore around buoy 6 in the 6, 4, 5B finale, but Tys whispered past on the run down to 4, as Roy Cooley and Chips Arend also passed Ford with a nice burst of wind down the center before rounding the downwind mark. Tiff and Chips had a great race to the line on the water, with Ford edging past Arend at the line by a mere second. Peter McIlroy took first Sunfish, placing third after handicap, with his father Doug just 13 seconds behind.


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