Champagne Regatta / Classic “Woody” Lightning Get Together, Hammondsport NY

-Bob Astrove

Put this event on your list for next year!

Our annual trip to the annual Classic Lightning Get Together (aka Woody Regatta) continues to be one of the highlights of my sailing season.   The last weekend in June New York’s Finger Lakes are always spectacular.   I encourage everyone to try this regatta at least once.   We share a course but have separate starts for a fleet of modern lightnings (this year 14), and a fleet of old classic lightnings (also 14 boats this year).   This event has grown  into one the larger Lightning events on the circuit (28 boats), but with a split fleet still has a smaller regatta feel.  The combination of the two fleets works great on land and at the party.

The weekend always begins Friday evening with a reception at the Finger Lakes Boating Museum.  We get a hands on (yes, they let us touch) the collection of restored boats.  Their rule is that they only display boats built in the Finger Lakes region.  That includes Pen Yan’s, Moorhouse, Skaneateles, and many more.  They also are home to the original Lightning mold from Skaneateles and they have # 167 parked right next to it so you can really see how the mold really worked, and how Skaneateles Boat Company could build a hull in just one day. We also get to visit their workshops, the antique motor room, etc..  And by the way, the museum is located in the old Taylor Winery buildings which were donated to the museum.

Saturday we enjoyed a near perfect 8 to 10 mph breeze and sailed 3 races.  At the end of the day we were tied with Gerry Paoli (lifelong lightning sailor from St. Louis, sailing what was his father’s wooden Carl Eichenlaub built boat).

This year we also welcomed the freshly restored boat of Tom Tomlinson, who some of you may know Tom from the Southern Circuit, often crewing for Jack Jones.  Also this year we had the maiden launch of a brand new woody from Mike Seibert of Vermont.  Mike spent 8 years building this drop dead beautiful boat.

A newer tradition (3 years now), on Saturday evening we are entertained by a band including Criag Thayer (many of your own one of Craig’s Fabricraft Covers).

Sunday was a little rough for us on Pandora.  My plan was a crew change to take my crew from Saturday, a friend from New Jersey, and our two wives for our Long Distance Race.  We were greated by a stiff breeze (about 15 to 18).  We sailed around for a while, but I opted to come in.   They did get a great race in without us.

So I encourage all of my fellow fleet 50 friends to make the drive to Hammondsport NY for this event.  And you should plan to spend an extra day or two.  This is in the heart of the NY wine country, Watkins Glen is nearby, the Corning Glass Museum is first class, and so much more.


2019-0630 Champagne Regatta at Keuka Yacht Club 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *