Since we wrote about the Collegiate Offshore Sailing Circuit (see “A College On-Ramp to Offshore Sailing”) last year, the fleet has expanded to 33-foot Figaro 2s, a number of which have been funded by Cruising Club of America members.
Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, adoption by colleges remains at four colleges using six of the boats—Mass. Maritime, Webb Institute, SUNY Maritime, and US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point—but according to COSC program founder and CCA member, Rich Wilson, “We’re in discussion with many other schools and have a plan for fall racing in the Northeast that could see 10 boats doing sea miles and competing in a three-race offshore overnight series.”
In the meantime, Wilson says, COSC has taken a hitch to promote more youth sailing in the summer. “We have developed an expanded program to put boats into action on western Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay,” he says.
Wilson says Stamford Yacht Club and Noroton Yacht Club, in Connecticut, will use Figaro 2s for their junior big-boat programs. The goal is to shift from learning around-the-buoys big-boat skills to focusing on the seamanship required for a series of overnight events. Other clubs on Long Island Sound may follow suit.
Sail Maine has confirmed a program for youth sailors in July and August, leading to participation in the 141-mile Monhegan Island Race, and a similar program is in the works in Marblehead leading to the Ted Hood Regatta.
On Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, COSC aims to have two boats at the Herreshoff Marine Museum working in conjunction with Richard Feeny at Bristol Yacht Club. These would lead up to participation in the Ida Lewis Yacht Club Distance Race, sailed out of Newport.
After the summer, boats would stay for use by colleges on the Bay—Brown University, University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University.
In the fall, a three-race offshore overnight series is planned, culminating in Storm Trysail Club’s Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR). That’s a day-race event for most college sailors, but the Figaro 2 class would sail an overnight race.
The series would start with a race from Newport to western Long Island Sound followed by an overnight race the following weekend, potentially merged with an event run by Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, N.Y. Finally, on Columbus Day Weekend, the IOR will be held, an overnighter on Friday and Saturday.
Potential competitors for the whole series are the two boats in Bristol at the Herreshoff Marine Museum, two at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Buzzards Bay, and four on Long Island Sound. The latter group—two at Webb Institute and one each at SUNY Maritime and the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point — would do a long delivery up to Newport to meet the rest of the fleet.
COSC plans to put two boats at Courageous Sailing Center in the fall for Boston area colleges. Rather than having full boats representing each school, colleges might reserve spaces on each boat on a per-berth basis.
We asked how might CCA members help, and Wilson said: “They could volunteer to be extra safety officers and delivery crew. They could also provide funds for COSC to help implement the program or bring in new boats from France.” COSC’s goal is to eventually have 20 boats sailing a collegiate circuit.
Rich Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org