It started with two sailors at Riverton Yacht Club’s Wednesday night racing. One brought up the subject of RC Laser sailing and the other said “Hey, I have one of those”. For two years, Nick and Mickey tried to start a fleet racing at Riverton. Sometimes just the two would show up, then the next week there might be four boats. The Delaware River tides and late summer grass seemed to slow down the fleet growth.
2009 brought the North American RC Laser Championship to Oxford, MD. This regatta was geographically desirable enough for a group from Riverton to go south and give it a try. Terry and Dan Curran made the gold fleet, while Ryan, Nick, Dan Walsh and Skip sailed in the Silver fleet. Ryan won the silver fleet buy a point. That regatta was the turning point for RC Laser sailing in the Mid-Atlantic area.
After word made it back to Jersey about how great the regatta was, the fleet was well on its’ way to becming one of the largest and most active fleets in the area. Terry and Nick talked Rob Seidelmann from Cooper River Yacht Club into holding an RC Laser regatta, appropriately called The Leftover Bowl, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Leftover Bowl had it’s first Champion, Jamey Betz. A new fleet was born consisting of sailors from both Riverton and Cooper River Yacht clubs, which held its’ first series; a frostbite series that ran till March. Dave Brawner, AMYA Regional Secretary showed up one day with an automatic starter and came back every week to help us start races and help our fleet grow.
March sailing included the Mid-Winter Championship at Marco Island, FL, which proved to be a needed respite from the northeast winter! West Jersey was represented by Gold fleet sailors Dan Curran and Nick. Dan Walsh and Victor held up the silver fleet. Everyone had a fun time with great southern hospitality. March was also the first Shamrock Cup Regatta, which was held at Laurel Acres Park in Mt. Laurel, NJ and put on by the Mid-Atlantic Model Boat Club who race EC12 meter RC boats.
It’s Summer now and the fleet is growing with 23 very active members sailing every other Tuesday night on the Cooper River, with a change to Riverton once in a while just to keep everyone in practice on tidal sailing. If you take a look at the fleet members you’ll see boat builders, sail makers, national champions in both “real” boats and RC boats. But when the gun goes off we’re just a bunch of friends having a good time.
*The Cooper River is a tributary of the Delaware River in southwestern New Jersey.
West Jersey RC Laser Fleet Members
Terry Rapp, Fleet Captain, Nick Mortgu, Regional Secretary, Skip Lippincott, Ryan Lippincott, Matt Lippincott, Dan Walsh, Jamie Betz, Dan Curran, Dave Cherubini, Rob Seidelmann, Mike Hecky, Rich Hendrickson, Rich Hendrickson Jr., Art Littleton, Tammy Brunker, Rosemary McMullen, Jim Irwin, Victor Oberg, Dave Mays, Lance Oberg, Mickey Walsh, Joe Pelosi, Dave Brawner, AMYA Regional Secretary
FLEET CAPTAIN, TERRY RAPP