Frostbite Regatta

Maggie, Robbie, Silas, Taya, Faith, and Theresa, accompanied by Mr Catlin, ably represented Dublin on Saturday December 5th at the Mason’s Island Yacht Club’s annual Frostbite Regatta held at Mystic Seaport, CT.

Total fleet was 20, which meant Dublin’s seven boats were a sizable fraction. Frostbiting, dating from the 1930s, is winter-time small-boat sailing in ice-free harbors between Cape Cod and the Chesapeake Bay. Because their short courses usually mean lots of races-per-day, and the double-digit-sized fleets mean lots of boat interaction, frostbite regattas attract competitive sailors whose “regular” (and usually much larger) boats are put away for winter yet who want to keep themselves ‘sharp.’  Saturday’s fleet was populated by some very skilled sailors. Dubliners were out “running with the big dogs!”

Unusually warm (50+ degrees) and delightfully blue-sky weather conditions made being on the water easy, although the winds added challenge by almost continually changing strength and direction over the regatta’s 2 ½ hours. 

 Dublin Lake’s typical autumn winds turned out to be excellent preparation for the Dubliners.

The boats were 9-ft Dyer Dhows, which are sailed single-handed.  In its regular season, Dublin sails two-handed boats where teamwork is essential to success. So, the change to the Dyers was an opportunity, among other things, to race one-on-one against all your teammates, and your coach.

According to the team, the food at the post-racing reception was “excellent.” The numerous conversations with the other racers—some of whom were college or just post-college age but most of whom were considerably older- were a great chance to share the mutual joy of sailing and explore opportunities for more racing next year.

A very-end-of-the-day bonus was witnessing the arrival at Mystic Seaport shipyard of the Mayflower II for winter renovation work. Several students observed how “small” the Mayflower was—with a waterline length of just 90 feet she is smaller than a 737 airplane! Mayflower II is a 1957 “close-as-possible” replica of the ship which brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth, MA in 1620. Dubliners literally saw a floating American historical icon arrive at the dock in front of them, perhaps a unique but certainly tangible connection between a school sport (sailing) and academics (American history).