Family time, passion for sailing >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Nothing screams the Corinthian Spirit like when families clash together. Connie Bischoff, who knows something about raising children in sailing with her sons Senet and Clay recognized as College Sailor of the Year (1996, 2003), looks back on the 2021 sailing season in Newport, RI:


Sailing as a team requires a lot of cooperation. It might be easier when you’re already linked. This has been proven by recent winners of the Shields Spring / Summer / Fall races and the North American Melges IC37 Championship.

The Shields Class, founded in 1962 with 30-foot, 2.5-inch-long boats, is Narragansett Bay’s largest one-design fleet and their Wednesday Night Shields Fleet 9 races are famous.

Operated by Ida Lewis Yacht Club, they survived the pandemic in 2020 by requiring face masks and limiting the crew. This summer, the competition was at the rendezvous with 20 to 25 boats every Wednesday evening in 2-hour long races.

Who won? The Toppa Family Race in Bomba Charger!

On board were skipper Mike Toppa, daughter Holley, fiance Jeremy Wilmot (he actually proposed to Holley on the boat!), Susie Leech from Jamestown and the Toppa girls, as well as twins Alie and Liza and their mom. Libby. Mike laughs when he says, “We do a lot of things together.”

The Melges IC 37 class tells a different yet similar story. Established in 2018 to promote one-design competition for amateur sailors, the New York Yacht Club has purchased 20 boats for charter along with other private IC 37 boats. The 37-foot keelboat was designed by Mark Mills, and strict class rules ensure a level playing field for big boat sailing.

The Sertl family on Das Blau Max were ready for competition with former Harvard Sailing Team member Nick at the helm, Mom Cory (current US Sailing President), Papa Mark as captain of the boat, Sister Katja and the rest. of the crew.

The race was very close in the North American Championship, but after eight races it was Das Blau Max who took the victory with a strategic move in the very last race. Nick celebrated the victory by saying, “We really enjoy doing this as a family! ”