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Pleon sets sail on succesful Junior Race Week

Boats from Junior Race Week enter Marblehead Harbor. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

It’s Race Week in Marblehead, and it couldn’t have gotten off to a better start after the successful running of Youth Race Week by the Pleon Yacht Club.

Pleon ran the 2018 Marblehead Junior Race Week from Monday through Wednesday, with a host of awards handed out Wednesday afternoon at the conclusion. Pleon even had a run of significant success in the races themselves, as club members took the top three spots in the 420 Champions fleet, first and third place in the Laser Radial fleet, the top four spots in the Opti Champions fleet, the top three spots in the Opti Green Evens fleet and first place in the Opti Green Odds fleet.

“It’s really been a great week overall, but it was certainly a little extra special for our club to do so well in the races,” said Pleon Commodore Chloe Brown. “We had competitors and winners from up and down the East Coast, so to finish so well is a big accomplishment.”

The Marblehead Junior Race Week is held each year as a lead-up event to the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series event. This year the Marblehead race, which will run from Friday through Sunday, is the final event in the Series’ 30th anniversary season.

For Junior Race Week, the field was split up into fleets depending on what kind of craft is being used, then those fleets were divided up into divisions based on age and skill level. Each of the fleets, 420, Opti and Laser Radial, had two divisions — the Champions division for more experienced sailors and the Green division for the less experienced.

The scene couldn’t have been any better over the three days of Junior Race Week. Not only were the crowds out in abundance, a common occurrence during the entirety of Race Week, but the weather was perfectly cooperative. Warm temperatures and steady winds led to a great three days of racing.

“While the less experienced sailors may have had a bit of trouble with some of the choppy waters, we really did have the perfect weather out there for sailing,” said Brown. “Every year we usually have one calm day, one really windy day and one stormy day and we felt like we were cursed. But this year, it was absolutely perfect out there.”

And it helps when the atmosphere onshore is just as good as the atmosphere out on the water.

“We had such great turnouts each day, which is no different than any other year, and it was just awesome,” Brown said. “We have a lot of volunteers who care so much about Race Week, and a bunch more who are getting even more excited to race themselves when the adult races start Friday.”

Brown will compete in the Laser Radial fleet this weekend.

The Marblehead Junior Race Week capped off three days of racing Wednesday afternoon with an awards ceremony for the top finishers in each fleet and division. Racers earned points based on where they finished in each of the races they competed in, with the lowest score taking the title. For example, if a racer finished in first place, that racer would earn one point and if a racer finished in third place, that racer would earn three points. At the end of the 12 to 15 races run in each fleet division, the points are totaled to decide the winners.

In the 420 Champions fleet, Pleon Yacht Club took the top three spots. Ryan Hamilton and Sam Bradley finished in first place with 13 points, finishing first in all but two of their races. Haley Andreasen and Gavin Dowley placed second with 29 points, while Philip Jeffries and Megan Yorsz finished third with 36 points.

Members of Hingham Yacht Club took the top two spots in the 420 Green fleet, starting with Sam Dunn and Trevor Buckenridge in first place with 29 points. Sawyer Reed and Andrew Engel finished second with 37 points, while Sandy Yale and Catherine Carpenter of Portland Yacht Club placed third with 39 points.

The Laser Radial Fleet, which only had one division, was won by Pleon’s Mason Cheney (30 points. Eric Heilshorn of Sail Maine finished second with 41 points, while Charlie Anderson of Pleon finished third with 58 points.

The Opti Champions fleet was dominated by Pleon, with the top four finishers all hailing from the Marblehead club. Leopold Seuss, who won every one of the races he sailed in, finished first with a total of 11 points. Dylan Balunas finished second with 27 points, Juan Carlos LaCerda Jones placed third with 35 points and Eloise Goedkoop finished fourth with 68 points.

In the Opti Green Even fleet, Pleon once again took control with the top three finishers. Justin Kaminsky placed first with 34 points, while Alexander Ianchulev finished second with 39 points. Courtney Hoguet placed third with 44 points.

And in the Opti Green Odds fleet, Pleon’s Eric Van Otterloo finished first with 45 points. Thomas Svencer of Corinthian Yacht Club finished second with 72 points, while Henry Fenollosa of Annisquam Yacht Club finished third with 75 points.

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